PLM+ targets user experience to bring PLM to the cloud

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Just had an entertaining phone call* with Benny Shaviv of PLM+ who are trying to bring a fresh approach to the PLM world. PLMplus (or PLM+ if you can find the extra bit on your keyboard) has the goal of solving one of the longest standing barriers to PLM adoption – ease of use.

By Ease of use, I’m not talking about implementation, cost of adoption, but rather the plain simple fact that many PLM projects fail purely because the systems in place are to complex, to hard and often too bewildering for users to accept as part of their day to day working practices. It’s a common thing to find myself talking to PLM adoptees that have not got up and running with their system purely because buy-in of users has stalled the process.

The need is there, from both a process and organizational requirement, the software is all encompassing and highly functional, but you’ll often find one of the following reasons are prevalent:

“It’s too complex and I don’t have time to use it properly – so we don’t”

“It presents me with such an overwhelming amount of data, I don’t know where to start”

“I’m a designer/engineer – I’m not a database administrator – why should I bother?”

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PLM+ are looking to solve this by creating a rich application that engages the user, provides ease of implementation and on going maintenance (by allowing the user/admin, rather than costly consultant) and can be delivered over the web, in an on-demand manner (which saves hardware and infrastructure cost). The on-demand aspects are interesting. Many have tried the on-demand the approach before. PTC have PLM OnDemand with Windchill, Arena Solutions have it’s own set of tools.

Can PLM+ achieve the level of success it’s expecting? Who knows, but the time is right for web-based applications to thrive and in the wider IT world, they already are. Can that level of success be transitioned to the professional, more data-heavy world of product development? Who knows, but there’s a change in the air. Or should that be, there’s a change in the cloud. With a well respected team that have been involved in both support and sales of PLM for years, with an interesting blend of investors, timing is right. But perhaps the most interesting thing is how the team is approaching this from the user experience point of view, rather than functionality. That’s something even I can get excited about.

PLM+ is currently in closed beta and we’ll eagerly await further product news sometime next year.

*One of the things I enjoy about something like about twitter is that you find people that you need to interact with on a professional basis, but get to know them through other means, through shared tidbits of information, of personal thoughts and personal views – so you have a much better understanding and personal relationship with them when the time comes for business talk. It’s nice. Give it a try. You’ll find me at twitter.com/alistardean.