There are many different layers within an organization to run like a well-oiled machine. The people, processes and tools must work consistently together in order to produce a strong outcome. When any element is added or taken away within a business, the appropriate precautions must take place in order to keep existing processes afloat. For new Agile users, the decision to implement Agile PLM system into existing tools can lead to many business challenges if the appropriate measures aren’t taken. The nature and impact of these risks vary depending on the structure of an organization. Here are our recommendations for a smooth implementation process:
Business Value Identification Phase:
Risk: Conflicting Goals
The business need phase starts with identification of goals that are needed to justify the project investment. It is very common that employees at different management hierarchy may have conflicting goals because of different business functions and responsibilities. At this stage if the goals are not aligned and prioritized throughout the organization then there will be no consensus on the common objectives and it will lead to low commitment for the organizational change.
In this phase my recommendation is to invite key stakeholders from each management level to business alignment workshops and let them present their problems and objectives. The purpose of this activity is to develop consensus on the objectives that a company expects to achieve from a particular investment. This will be the first step towards managing expectations and creating a company-wide commitment.
Risk: Lack of Executive Sponsorship
The lack of executive sponsorship means there is no business case for quantifying the potential investment benefits. It becomes very difficult to convince stakeholders that funding is necessary for a successful outcome. In these situations, the project may have protracted discussion but in the end does not take off.
Advice: Identify the business champion who has the most influential power over stakeholders to help develop a justifiable cost benefit analysis.
Definition and Design Phase
Risk: Incomplete Data and Business Process Definition
Advice: Conduct a series of workshops to capture the key requirements for the infrastructure needed, the product data to be mapped in the system (and what to leave out), the business processes to include, any integrations with other systems, and the rules for the data migration of the legacy data.
Solution Build and Deployment
Risk: Disconnected Applications
Once Agile PLM is deployed, integration with ERP and CRM should be considered. In most companies, the ERP integration may help the manufacturing team to implement and ship the product once the design is released from the PLM system. Integration with CRM may help to track and resolve all the issues reported by Customers and Suppliers. Disconnected applications may lead to interrupted business resulting in missed schedules and high resolution cost.
Prioritize these two integrations:
• Integration between Agile PLM and ERP for Design to Release flow
• Integration between Agile PLM and CRM for capturing Customer/Supplier adverse events
Risk: Lack of trained users or Limited user adoption
Internal marketing of the new system helps engage the users prior to rollout and eases the transition to training sessions that are scheduled. It is always challenging to work through change and without notice and preparation, the best system will not “take.” Lack of adoption limits the anticipated results, and seriously undermines ROI.
Provide selected users with training material early in the PLM implementation process to gain support and act as “super users” during the project and after. A sufficiently trained business unit or division that has better control of processes and data will support a system where their participation was included.