Organizations spend a lot of money on product lifecycle management (PLM) but according to Gartner more than two-thirds don’t realize the expected value from their IT investments. Optimizing and sustaining return on investment (ROI) from PLM is an ongoing journey that requires multiple components, some of which we explore here.
A critical but often underestimated component to sustaining PLM ROI is the support and maintenance of the system itself. A successful PLM program is highly dependent upon a stable environment, consistent maintenance and responsive user support. But with an estimated 8 out of every 10 dollars spent on a PLM system going toward support and maintenance, companies are spending a significant amount to just “keep the lights on.”
Companies looking to get more value out of their PLM investment can outsource support and maintenance as managed services, but must view this relationship as an important partnership.
There are three key ways managed services can boost PLM ROI.
1. Reduce the investment and burden on internal IT resources
As PLM solutions evolve and mature, more specialized PLM technology support is needed to ensure optimal system performance. This means organizations must find, hire, train and retain the right resources – a challenging and costly process.
Outsourcing PLM support and maintenance to experts that specialize in this type of service is often more cost effective and operationally beneficial than developing the capacity internally. As a result, organizations can cut costs related to internal IT resources, training and support, while gaining better support from PLM technical specialists and business experts. This also frees up internal resources and funds to be allocated to more strategic initiatives.
2. Keep the system operational and relative to the business
Yes, PLM managed services increase system stability and availability, reducing the risk of down time. But the real boost in ROI occurs when the system capabilities evolve with the needs of the business.
PLM is a cross-functional system, with product data accessed and used by different business units and functions across the organization. This means that processes and data need to be standardized across the enterprise so that they work for everybody, and this requires solution governance.
Business requirements continuously evolve across the different functions, and required PLM solution enhancements and functionalities evolve, too. Managed services play an important part in enabling governance by tracking, prioritizing and managing system requirements across functions.
Beyond contributing to governance, data collected from managed services can identify more strategic improvement opportunities for the business, using insight into usage and system configuration as a foundation. The value lies in continuously adapting the PLM solution to fit changing business conditions and priorities.
3. Provide timely and effective user support
There is real value in responding to issues, incidents and requests in a timely fashion. Backlogged support tickets and requests are a common complaint when PLM is supported internally, driving up costs and leading to user fatigue and frustration.
Managed services firms have the explicit objective of assessing, prioritizing and managing tickets, typically with guaranteed support times. This ticketing system enables faster and more accurate responses to technical issues.
The Bottom Line
A PLM journey requires expert guidance, a solid link to business requirements, and full support and adoption from executives and end users alike. Properly implemented and executed, managed services can help organizations avoid the pitfalls of isolated and ineffective solution support that can occur when the PLM system is thrown over the wall to the IT organization after go-live.
By focusing on these three areas in addition to traditional ticket response and monitoring capabilities, your managed support provider will become a true partner, helping you realize the business value you expect from your PLM solution.