Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TCO of PLM – Impressions from the ProSTEP-iViP Symposium 2014

TCO of PLM – Impressions from the ProSTEP-iViP Symposium 2014

On May 13-14, 2014, my favorite PLM conference in Germany took place in the Berlin Congress Center at the Alexanderplatz. 

I’ve been attending this conference for the last 20 years and represent NTT DATA in the ProSTEP-iViP association. This year was another success, with more than 500 participants. Dassault and Brose were the main sponsors, NTT DATA actively contributed with a booth and a presentation.

Total cost of ownership of PLM
In a joint presentation with Airbus, we reported on a project to create a TCO model for PLM. Following the motto “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”, the Airbus PLM TCO model was created in order to steer changes of the PLM architecture by understanding the TCO impact of alternatives. In order to create detailed cost models for PROJECT mode, but more importantly for RUN mode, we reviewed algorithmic estimation models based on COCOMO, e.g. COSYSMO (systems engineering) and COCOTS (COTS commercial-off-the-shelf). These models provide insight into the significant differences between custom-developed PLM solutions vs. COTS. The concept of “technical debt” was presented as a major factor in TCO and obsolescence control. Early investments into PLM software quality as well as preventive and perfective maintenance activities are the main levers to manage technical debt.

ProSTEP-iViP goes global
Although the ProSTEP-iViP asscociation was founded as a German entity, the mission of enabling global collaboration and standardization requires global reach. In 2014, the ramp-up of relationships with Japan is the first priority. A meeting with Toyota on topics such as the JT neutral, lightweight geometry format and the code of PLM openness (CPO) confirmed this priority. As NTT DATA, we are looking into opportunities to support this mission with our Japanese colleagues.

PS: this is a cross-posting from the original post in the NTT DATA blog 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Strategie für PLM-Standardsoftware

Product Lifecycle Management-Plattformen sind – neben ERP und CRM – ein Eckpfeiler moderner Unternehmens-IT. Gleichzeitig hat aktuelle PLM-Standardsoftware einen hohen Reifegrad erreicht, so dass in vielen Unternehmen die Ablösung der ersten Generation von PLM (-Individualentwicklungen) geplant wird. Eine tragfähige Lösung kann nur geschaffen werden, wenn die Spezifika von PLM-Standardsoftware in der PLM-Strategie berücksichtigt werden. So kann mit einer dedizierten PLM COTS Policy (commercial-off-the-shelf) zum Beispiel der große Block der Wartungs- und Betriebskosten nachhaltig gesenkt werden. Oder es können Risiken bzgl. Herstellerabhängigkeit gezielt adressiert werden.

Herausforderungen beim Einsatz von PLM-Standardsoftware

Die Entscheidung für PLM-Standardsoftware ist oft ein Paradigmenwechsel, der als solcher erkannt und gemanagt werden muss. Wenn vorher mit Individualentwicklungen jede Anforderung der kreativen Benutzer erfüllt werden konnte,  ist nun ein ständiger Abgleich zwischen Anforderungen und den Möglichkeiten der Software nötig. Damit diese Kluft nicht zu groß wird, müssen die Ziele und Prioritäten des PLM-Anbieters mit der eigenen PLM-Stategie zusammen passen bzw. passend gemacht werden. Dies ist bei großen Anbietern nicht einfach und erfordert abgestimmtes Vorgehen zwischen IT, Fachbereichen und Einkauf.

Optimierter Einsatz von PLM-Standardsoftware durch eine PLM COTS Policy

Ein Architekturprinzip wie „buy over make“ ist ein guter Anfang. Allerdings muss das Prinzip operationalisiert werden, z.B. durch Trainings für Projektleiter und Architekten oder durch Checklisten für die Betriebsfähigkeit einer Lösung.
Eine gute PLM COTS Policy zeichnet sich unter anderem durch folgende Punkte aus:
-         Strategisches Alignment: durch Deduktion aus der PLM-Strategie entsteht eine PLM COTS Policy, die nachweisbaren Nutzen für das Unternehmen bringt
-         Differenzierung: innovative, wettbewerbs-differenzierende Lösungen können nicht immer mit Standardsoftware geschaffen werden. Eine gute COTS Policy liefert Entscheidungskriterien für Abweichungen von „buy over make“.
-         Integration in EAM: die COTS Policy schafft Wege zur Zielbebauung gemäß Enterprise Architecture Management
-         Integration in Sourcing und VRM: Einkauf und Vendor Risk Management sind erfolgskritische Prozesse beim Einsatz von PLM-Standardsoftware

Entwicklung einer PLM COTS Policy

Die PLM COTS Policy lässt sich in drei Ebenen strukturieren.

Neben der strategischen und der operativen Ebene ist insbesondere die mittlere Ebene „pro PLM Bebauungscluster“ wichtig. Hier werden zum Beispiel Lead-Applikationen für MCAD und ECAD definiert oder die TDM-Strategie für das Simulationsdatenmanagement detailliert.
Als Beispiel für die operative Ebene seien Software-Entwicklungsrichtlinien genannt, die auf die Besonderheiten einer PLM-Plattform wie Teamcenter, ENOVIA oder Windchill eingehen. Durch explizite Richtlinien zu Namenskonventionen, Struktur, Pattern etc. sowie durch entsprechende Check-Tools kann die Software-Qualität sichergestellt werden. Dies ist gerade dann wichtig, wenn das PLM-Entwicklungsteam heterogen zusammengesetzt ist oder die Teammitglieder häufig wechseln.

Haben Sie Interesse an diesem Thema? Sprechen Sie uns an! Oder besuchen Sie uns am Stand auf dem ProSTEP-iViP Symposium am 16. und 17. April 2013 in Hannover. Im Vortrag „Product data is our main asset“ werden wir gemeinsam mit Airbus über Erfahrungen bei der Nutzung von PLM-Standardsoftware in großen Unternehmen berichten.

(Cross posting from NTT DATA EMEA Blog)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Terminal Tango: Aerospace and Automotive PLM

Same procedure as every year: on May 9-10, 2012, more than 450 PLM experts met at the
ProSTEP-iViP Symposium in „Terminal Tango”, in order to exchange experiences regarding Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

As a former terminal of the Hamburg airport, this location was fitting the main sponsor Airbus. This year’s motto was „Managing Globalization - Processes and Systems“. The event provided plenty of information for this: more than 40 presentations in three parallel tracks.

Besides managing out NTT DATA booth, I was able to contribute a presentation together with Airbus’ „Head of PLM Architecture“. We presented our experiences in Enterprise Architecture Management for Airbus PLM.

Airbus PLM architecture in short
PLM architecture at Airbus is complex. After 12 years development time, an aircraft model is produced over 30 years and operated for another 40 years. The product data must be managed over this lifecycle of 70 years – including supplier data in the extended enterprise. The digital 3D model of an A380 (DMU: Digital MockUp) consists of more than one million parts. Different PLM suites for A380 + SA/LR, A400M and A350 are grown historically.

The challenge was to optimize this PLM landscape: current versions of standard software should be used; processes and systems should be harmonized; product data as the main asset should be protected over the lifecycle. On the PLM architecture level, these objectives are supported by using EAM methods and tools. We modeled for example processes, functions and business objects – next to the application architecture – in order to specify Airbus’ requirements for a target PLM landscape. Architecture principles were used to translate the Airbus PLM vision into concrete guidelines and decision criteria.

Aerospace and Automotive
This year was coined by a strong aerospace presence in the traditionally automotive-heavy ProSTEP-iViP association. Besides a dedicated Airbus booth there were 11 aerospace presentations, among them a keynote by the Airbus CIO Guus Dekkers.
There were more commonalities than differences between the two industries. Still, large DMU for an aircraft with more than one million parts has other performance challenges than a digital car mockup with 10.000 parts. On the other hand, aircraft cabin development can profit from customer-centric development methods in automotive.
Question: could you give an example of female-specific requirements in cabin design?
Answer (quote): “how do I know – I’m not female, either” J

The next ProSTEP-iViP-Symposium will be held on April 16-17, 2013 in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen and Siemens PLM will be the main sponsors.

Monday, February 13, 2012

PLM architecture at Airbus

The global business of Airbus with long product lifecycles poses specific challenges in the PLM domain. In a joint presentation with Airbus at the ProSTEP-iViP Symposium (May 9-10, 2012 in Hamburg, Germany), I will focus on solutions from the PLM architecture perspective, e.g.
-         using Enterprise Architecture Management to harmonize requirements and applications between different national companies and aircraft programs (“backbone approach”)
-         using commercial off-the-shelf software with an out-of-the-box approach to address obsolete components of the current PLM landscape in a sustainable way (“right use of COTS”)
-         modeling of the functional architecture in terms of generic functions and object model to decrease vendor dependence and to protect product data over 30+years (“product data as the main asset”)

The presentation continues to describe how these architecture principles are implemented at Airbus in terms of governance and roadmap planning. Using the example of DMU (digital mockup), the practical application of some architecture principles is discussed. The presentation concludes with lessons learned in shaping the Airbus PLM architecture.

I would love to meet with you at our booth - by then probably under the NTT DATA brand.

Monday, August 8, 2011

PLM Openness and Vendor Risk Management

Have you been following the discussion around PLM Openness? If not, please refer to the article Open words – ProSTEP-iViP Symposium in the BMW Welt, Munich as a starter.

The work on this topic focuses on two action fields:
-         Technical (API granularity and lifecycle, standard support, documentation…)
-         Business & Legal (partnership model, roadmap commitments, cost for toolkits etc.)

I found this second field to be especially interesting, probably because two vendors such as Dassault and Siemens PLM are perceived very differently in terms on PLM openness, although there are a lot of similarities on the technical level.

Enter VRM
IT Vendor Risk Management is an element of enterprise and IT risk management. The purpose is to assess and manage risks related to IT suppliers. Such risk monitoring is mandatory in some industries, e.g. when dealing with personal data (BDSG in Germany), payment card or healthcare information.

A comprehensive VRM approach is based on a rating framework with criteria such as financial performance, staff turnover, customer turnover, product failures, strategy changes or market entry of new competitors. A good question to ask: Would my bank extend credit or invest in the vendor?

Such an approach can be supported with a VRM solution. These applications come as part of a larger enterprise risk management suite or as stand-alone solutions, typically SaaS.

Bringing it together
As technology risk management consultant Joel Lanz points out: „a good contract is the foundation to successfully managing IT vendor risk“. This contract should document all expectations. An extract in plain English should be provided to the team so that everyone knows the rules. A clause defining the “right to audit” supports the monitoring of important contract elements.

What is your experience with VRM for PLM vendors?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The power of open PLM platforms

While researching on PLM openness, I came across the ebook The Power of Open. It is basically a marketing brochure for the creative commons licensing models, and it contains a lot of case studies where these models were successfully applied, e.g. Wikipedia and TED talks. The term open in this case refers to sharing content through CC-licenses. At first glance, this didn't seem to be useful for my work on PLM openness. After all, we want to protect IP, right?

The case of creative commons was nicely stated on the homepage:
Creative Commons began providing licenses for the open sharing of content only a decade ago. Now more than 400 million CC-licensed works are available on the Internet, from music and photos, to research findings and entire college courses. Creative Commons created the legal and technical infrastructure that allows effective sharing of knowledge, art and data by individuals, organizations and governments. More importantly, millions of creators took advantage of that infrastructure to share work that enriches the global commons for all humanity.

PLM platforms as infrastructure
Open PLM platforms should also provide an infrastructure for effective data sharing. In the best case, this PLM infrastructure can be enriched by 3rd parties, e.g. by adding functionality. This suggests that PLM openness can be applied on data and on functionality - each with an company-internal view and with an external view:

- Complete access to company data
- Open data model
- Support of data format standards, esp. STEP
- API's and documentation for sustainable customization, i.e. supported over multiple versions
- Ability to integrate with other applications
- API's and documentation for 3rd party add-on development including a business model to support this
- Support of service standards, esp. PLM services

Especially the aspect of 3rd party add-ons points back to the Power of Open: the current practices of most PLM vendors seem to focus on developing all functionality themselves. Partners are only used if needed, e.g. when specific know-how for the integration of other applications is needed. The success of App Stores with ten thousands of developers offering add-ons for a basic platform such as the iPad indicates the unused potential of PLM vendors. More openness could help using this potential - what an incentive.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The tipping point: corporate PLM vs. local autonomy

 With all the globalization and mergers & acquisitions going on, PLM architects are increasingly facing one critical question: where to enforce a single corporate PLM standard - and where to allow for local autonomy. When researching this topic, I came across a thesis from Nils Johansson On the Lifecycle Management of Standards.

 (Calculation of interface-connections for local and global standards (BSharah, 2003))

He makes the case for global standards based on financial justification: the more participants use the global standard, the more positive the business case becomes. But everyone who has ever been involved in this kind of decision knows that the political dimension can quickly overshadow the rational, financial dimension. Here is my quick analysis of the

Pro's and Con's of a corporate standard PLM 

Business scale effects, e.g. reuse of parts and processesHuge standardization effort in terms of cost and time
ICT scale effects, e.g. cost for operations, maintenance, software licensesHigh dependency on one system and potentially one vendor
Enables global cooperation, because all users are trained on the same processes and systemsChange management challenge: a political minefield and a lot of resistance to overcome
A common platform allows for immediate global deployment of best practicesTechnical challenge of global multi-site deployments (complexity, performance, stability, security...)
Single source of truth for product data for all downstream processesPotential loss of flexibility and ability to react on local requirements / serve local customers

Well, you could argue that today´s extended enterprise business models require loose coupling between PLM, anyway. But I think that the advantages of a corporate PLM solution - especially when operating distributed development centres - can outweigh the disadvantages. In this case, it is about finding the parts in PLM that still need local autonomy and those that should be harmonized globally. Here are some

Ideas how a PLM implementation could balance these factors
    • Hierarchical data model with inheritance, so that common standards are enforced on a higher level and local details can be varied on a lower level
    • Global standard workflows branch into local specific workflows
    • Abstract interfaces to components that are typically different in each site such as ERP integration and customer-driven reports
    • Find a “killer application” that creates demand for the corporate PLM. The Volkswagen Group reported on the 2011 ProSTEP-iViP Symposium in Munich that they provide access to their strategic MQB platform through the corporate Teamcenter PLM. This access is business-critical for the VW brands such as Audi and Skoda, i.e. acceptance of the PLM solution is greatly increased.
    • Process harmonization is a prerequisite before deploying harmonized IT solutions

So, what are your experiences on corporate PLM vs. local autonomy?