Point of No Return…

It has been my experience that many PLM buyers come to a conclusion that investing in PLM is point of no return. ROI on PLM investment is a favourite topic of a debate and everyone agreed that it is hard to measure PLM project success.
In my opinion PLM Project investment decisions are taken by IT department and they head these Projects. But we should make a note that PLM covers whole organization. Hence owenership of such project should belong to a group of business users and owners rather than making. IT department a victim for a feeling of coming to a point of no return and somehow complete the project. IT should be a support team to deploy the solution. Business user groups should be main point of contact while defining and validating solution. IT should be involved for infrastructure needs and scalability.
Most important role I see in success of PLM Projects is a Project Manager who understands PLM as a tool and client business environment. He/she can definitely take the project to success rather than making this investment. Only as apoint of no return.

Posted from WordPress for Windows Phone

PLM User Accounts

PLM is enterprise tool and eventually a major part of employees will have a task to do in PLM Tool. Normally PLM Tools provide User account management modules where organizations broadly call it as People and Organization.

User Roles and Responsibilities are well defined in most of the organization and PLM implementation starts with configuring Access for users. But my experience with PLM Implementation project is something confusing.

PLM Tools are deployed as a independent tool. Then administrators start creating user accounts and then roles and then assigning them to on demand basis in some cases organization go for single sign-on or LDAP integration which is another project in itself.

Though this feature has complexities involved, should PLM Vendors not provide a handy way to integrate organization users with ease of operation? Following are thoughts on the way it should be.

  1. After installing PLM Tool in production environment, PLM Tools should have a wizard to integrate available network users directly into PLM Tool.
  2. It should just have a list of users available in Organization which can be seen from PLM Tool.
  3. PLM Tools should provide creation account button/command against each user, which should take administrator to user creation and configuration wizard.
  4. This wizard should be configuration so that it can fetch data related regarding his reporting and department structure so that account approval processes can be integrated within PLM itself.
  5. Like we get task for approvals in PLM, it should be another task to approve user account and assign role by his manager.

If PLM Tools have this type of feature they will provide following benefits.

  1. Adding a user friendly feature to PLM for user accounts.
  2. Complete tracking of user accounts.
  3. Automation of workflows with available information within other tools in organization.
  4. Quality time to invest on other PLM admin activities.
  5. Managers being informed and aware of subordinate’s access and roles.
  6. Reduction in gap of understanding of a functional user of tool and administrator of a tool.

I hope that I see such future in coming days.

thanks and regards
Ashish Kulkarni

SharePoint 2013

Started exploring SharePoint 2013 today. They say that social is the main feature they have added to SharePoint. I am looking for following points.

    1. Blog and community integration.
    2. Project Management features without MSP integration.
    3. Team communication without email.
    4. Profile management integrated with legacy applications.
    5. Easy to create filtered lists.
    6. Search and Task integrated with PLM tasks and search.

I will keep on posting updates on SharePoint 2013.

– Ashish

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Company Intranet Sites and PLM

Now a days, Intranet Sites are available in all companies which think of implementing PLM. They already invested in intranet to share company announcement, events and so on. To reduce time to market for their product they think of implementing PLM. In many organizations which have both I have observed some gaps.

Let us talk about what is Intranet? In layman’s language, it is nothing but a website which can be accessed which organization network only or if possible outside organization network with some secured access control. Normally intranet sites are used for announcement, some sort of publishing method, sub-sites for departments, individual sites and so on. Intranet sites go more close to public websites and give similar features like searching content, publishing photos etc. If it is SharePoint site, then it may offer much more but less than a PLM tool. More or less, it is a communication or collaboration medium or content management system like Drupal or SharePoint.

Now if we think of a PLM tool, ideally we do not have similarities. But it you think deep, there are 2 common points. Those are

  1. PLM Web Client can be used to collaborate and view information instantaneously over the browser.
  2. Web Client as name suggest are web based and security is same as intranet, internal or secured.

Now most of the organization which have both the application. They may use single sign-on facility. But they are rarely integrated. PLM talks about collaboration. Intranet provides a platform for information sharing which is nothing but collaboration.

Now if we integrate both what can be achieved? Or what is that I expect as output of integration?

  1. Part/Object Search: Intranet sites provide search facility, PLM Tools provide search facility. Then why not to make PLM Object Search available on intranet site?
  2. Task Integration: All PLM Tools provide task notification through emails or their UIs. If companies are using intranet site, they normally provide outlook like facilities, so why not to provide a widget in intranet site which can show me my task related to my project in PLM. Those tasks might be of just notification or approval or any thing which is listed against my name.
  3. Discussions: SharePoint sites or CMSs offer discussion facility. Now if give a facility to link a PLM Object and start a discussion on intranet, it can increase collaboration level to next level and decisions can be taken much faster.
  4. Document Management in SharePoint: PLM performance can be improved by using SharePoint for document management and using URLs to document in PLM as reference or specification documents. This can reduce load on PLM file server. SharePoint provides workflows hence document approval can be done in SharePoint and even office integration works much better with SharePoint.

These are some of my thought on PLM and Intranet/CMS integration. Till date I tried to find some readily available tools but I could not find a satisfactory results. If you know anything just leave a comment to this post. if anyone is interested to develop something let me know.

Alternate and Substitute Parts

When somebody asks, what is the difference between Alternate Part and Substitute Part? We always get confused. Hence I am putting definitions for each.

Alternate Part:

An Alternate Part is a component that is a suitable replacement for another part in every assembly in which the original part occurs. Companies use alternate parts when multiple vendors can supply parts that serve the identical function and fit.


Substitute Part:

A substitute part is a component that is a suitable replacement for another part in only one assembly in which the original part occurs.

Issue with MySite in SharePoint

Recently I created many custom lists and posted many posts on my blog in my organization. But somehow MySite on our SharePoint Server was deleted. This was very strange. If this happens with many users then its very serious. No one will trust capabilities of SharePoint. I am looking forward for answer from Microsoft which our SPAdmin is following up.