Why not PLM?

Some people are surprised when they see that a company has many different document management software packages installed.  Marketing may be using Sharepoint while Manufacturing uses their ERP [enterprise resource planning] software.  Sales will be using CRM [customer relationship management] software while customer support has their own software.  Legal will be using some legal document management software while engineering will use anything from PDM [product document management] software to PLM [product lifecycle management] software.

Today, most PLM software packages have the capability to manage all of the documents within a company, why don’t companies take this path?

PLM software is enterprise software

Enterprise software is usually implemented company wide.  Since it is for the enterprise:

  • You must buy enough seats for the whole company which means it can be very expensive.
  • The more people involved in a project like this, the more difficult it is to implement. It is like herding cats.

When implementing enterprise software, companies will need to configure the software to work as they would like it to.  Typically, they will bulk load all of their existing files into the new software.  Often, they would like the software to pass information to and from other enterprise software which involves integration.  And, they have to get a lot of people on board.  All of this leads to complexity and it can get expensive.

Departmental Software

When implementing departmental software, companies may or may not feel the need to customize the software.  They probably don’t need to bulk load existing files but if they do, it is a much smaller task.  At least initially, they aren’t likely to deal with any integration.  Since the solution is departmental, there is a much smaller group of users to get on board.  And, departmental solutions are far less expensive making it much easier to sell to upper management.

Looking to the future

While a PLM solution looks too expensive and too complex today, a single solution like PLM would be far less complex than having 6 document management software packages down the road.  Mitigate price and complexity by implementing one department at a time.

Contact me to discuss alternatives…


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