Easy to Use PLM

When people talk about PLM software being easy to use, are they talking about the user interface and the everyday user? Or, are they talking about it being easy to configure?

Easy to Use

Over the years, all of the PLM vendors have taken great strides to improve their user interface. Today, much of the user interaction with the software is point and click. As an example, there are pull-down lists that reduce the need for typing.

Still, once configured the software requires user training. At a minimum, users need to know how to search for information; they need to know how to check-in/check-out a document; and they need to know how to generate a change request or respond to one.

Easy to Configure

Even the configuring has gotten easier, but…

In the past, if you wanted to customize PLM software it required programming. Today PLM software can do so much more and companies can configure almost anything. This makes it difficult for PLM vendors to significantly reduce the time it takes to implement their software.

Each PLM software package can have as many as 500 features. Companies may use less than half of those, but how will they know what they can and can’t do with the software? Typically, they will pay someone that is intimate with the software to configure it for them.

This ‘expert’ needs to know what questions to ask to uncover the 250 or so features that will need to be configured. Then, they need to know how to use that information to configure the software and they will have to know how to configure the software. Still, not easy and time consuming.

The Future

Maybe, one day in the future, the software will walk you through a questionnaire [a wizard] and then automatically configure the software for you. Until then a consultant can be useful…


One thought on “Easy to Use PLM

  1. One interesting conclusion we reached is that you can get away with ONE split screen that works for simple workflow management as well as for a complex ACM/BPM process.

    Each day, every one of us goes to their work area and a) takes note of their fixed-time appointments, then b) looks at their task list (floating-time appointments) and micro-schedules their tasks around the fixed time appointments.

    It’s important with knowledge workers to let them do the micro-scheduling – some people prefer to clear out several small tasks during a “quiet” hour, others prefer to make progress on a large initiative. Most do a mix and the approach for one knowledgeworker easily varies from one day to the next.

    Bottom line, a complex UI with extensive hierarchical menus and rows and rows of icons, is not always necessary.

    The amount of training needed is greatly reduced when users transitioning from some other environment to a new environment see THEIR workflows and THEIR forms posting to what is nothing more than an InTray/Calendar.

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