This is the third time in four years that I’ve attended PTC’s User Conference in Orlando, Florida, and it’s somewhat remarkable how in each of these years, the company has used this event to introduce a new, extended PLM process offering to its stable of Windchill products: in 2007, PTC introduced MPMLink for manufacturing process management (per the company’s earlier acquisition of PolyPlan); in 2009, it was RequirementsLink for requirements management; and this year, PTC announced another two new Windchill products built on Microsoft SharePoint: PPMLink for program portfolio management and SocialLink for Social Product Development.
The Windchill PPMLink announcement is of particular interest given the recent stream of client inquiries and interest I’ve been receiving from product development teams on PPM tools. In fact, respondents to Forrester's Global State Of Product Life-Cycle Management Online Survey ranked PPM as one of the top PLM investment priorities:
Regardless of whether you label the PPM process as project portfolio management, product portfolio management, or program portfolio management, few product life-cycle management processes have as much impact on a company's product innovation efforts and financial performance as managing the R&D project pipeline and resulting new products. Beyond just being a hot area of extended PLM investment, PTC’s move to build out the SharePoint-based Windchill PPMLink offering is significant for a couple of other reasons as well:
In this podcast, Roy discusses the use of Social Computing in product development, opportunities that product development teams can capitalize on using Social computing, and next steps for those interested in getting started.
Recently, one of Forrester's packaged food clients contacted me on the topic of no-touch orders, e.g., receiving, processing, and shipping customer sales orders electronically without human involvement. After talking with this client and doing some further digging on what others have done to improve their processes to enable this kind of automation, it struck me that a simple and visible metric like the % no-touch orders is a close-cousin to the perfect order concept (a long-standing research area at Forrester). Why do I say that? Both improvement goals drive amazing clarity on some fundamental opportunities to improve your Order Management Cycle, such as:
Over the last few years, I think most would agree that leading product development organizations have gotten much savvier about designers collaborating with internal stakeholders – such as manufacturing, sales, and marketing – to harness contributions and feedback from more business perspectives, get the product right the first time, and ultimately better transform technical inventions into market-relevant innovations. What’s really interesting is that, over this same period, the social Web – which Forrester calls Social Computing and includes peer-to-peer activities like social networking sites, blogging, user review sites, wikis, podcasts, and other user-generated content – has steadily grown in popularity among consumers as well as expanded its presence among manufacturing enterprises. The question is, will these new technologies and corresponding social trends make their way into product development organizations and – once again – transform the way leading product development teams collaborate to bring great products into the marketplace?
In short, I think so. The fact is, the increased prevalence of Social Computing presents product development with some compelling new capabilities:
Late last year, Forrester published a “big idea” research report identifying Product-centric Development as a distinctive, value-based approach to software development characterized by highly-successful commercial software companies. As part of this research, we made the call that product (or service) centricity can occur regardless of whether internal or outsourced resources do the bulk of the work – rather, it is a team’s orientation to the company’s value chain, their partnership with customers and business stakeholders, and the ownership for the business results that their software ultimately delivers that are all really the more important, defining characteristics of a ‘product-centric’ development shop.
Recently, I came across a great example of this kind of high-value development work spanning internal and external resources in Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s (DPS) partnership with HCL. Why does this mixed-development model work? Two key success factors include:
- HCL’s service delivery team is continually in step with DPS’s business environment. By staffing dedicated service delivery managers (SDMs) on site, DPS can call on HCL to help tackle both strategic management issues, such as reducing shrinkage and achieving on-time delivery, and day-today problems, such as app latency and downtime, with a "one-stop-shop" liaison who can own the problem and seek resolution across technology silos.
Our latest featured podcast is Roy Wildeman's "The State of PLM: A Tale of Two Markets ".
In this podcast, BP&A Senior Analyst Roy Wildeman discusses the current state of the PLM application market in wake of the recession. He also reveals options that long-term PLM customers have to maximize the value of their apps.
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After I conduct a user research interview or field a vendor briefing, I usually like to offer the chance to answer any questions that folks may have for me as an industry analyst (time permitting, of course). Recently, it seems like 9 out of every 10 questions has been a close-variant on the theme, “given our tough economy, what do you see happening in the PLM space right now?” And while it’s easy to provide anecdotes or relay what I hear others saying about the state of PLM spending, I’ve candidly found it a bit hard to provide a really sound, fact-based answer.
One of the really fascinating aspects of covering the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) applications market is seeing PLM’s value and relevancy for new industries and companies outside of PLM’s manufacturing-centric heritage. The fact is, effective management of product data is vital to the product development process regardless of whether you are designing physical widgets stamped out from a plant or coding software-based product offerings as part of your services business.
I attended SAP Insider’s five-part conference -- covering Logistics & Supply Chain Management, PLM, Manufacturing, CRM, and Procurement & Materials Management -- and got a chance to catch up with both SAP PLM customers and the SAP executive team on the latest SAP PLM strategy and roadmap. Since 2008, the SAP PLM team has been positioning their myriad stable of PLM software offerings (e.g. DMS, BOM management, cProjects, RPM, the largely defunct iPPE and PD tools, etc.) under new “end-to-end” process themes (e.g.