Successful change management in PLM

Successful change management in PLM

A PLM Open Hour from Intelliact AG

Mastering the connections between roles, processes, data and tools

Whether internal or external, the reasons for the need for change in PLM are as varied as they are complex. Flexible, transparent and comprehensible change management is essential to ensure that companies can quickly realise optimisation potential and react efficiently to constantly changing requirements and circumstances.

The requirements for change management are becoming increasingly complex, especially in PLM. Changes cannot be avoided; in fact, they will often continue to increase due to the expanded PLM sphere of influence and the associated product complexity.

The most important reasons for changes

In addition to the typical technical changes in design, feedback from production also needs to be implemented in order to optimise processes or structures for assembly and production. However, external developments such as changing customer requirements, market changes, changes in suppliers or new technologies and changes in legislation also require a functioning change management system within the company.

The stages in the change process - The path from a released configuration to a new configuration Image ©Intelliact AG
The stages in the change process - The path from a released configuration to a new configuration Image ©Intelliact AG

Three central challenges

Because the PLM's sphere of influence on roles, processes, data and tools is increasingly expanding, linear processes often result in complex interrelationships and dependencies. In contrast to the past, successful change management in PLM is no longer possible without tool support. The three typical challenges that arise when making changes in PLM are

1. increasing object interdependencies

The PLM sphere of influence is constantly growing, which also increases the amount of data or data object types and the complexity of the entire product data network.

2 Comprehensive processes

As the PLM sphere of influence grows, more and more roles and tasks are involved in the change management process. This network also needs to be managed efficiently.

3 Cross-tool data flows

The expansion of the PLM area often means that more and more role-specific tools are involved, which further increases the number of interfaces and thus the complexity of change management.

Three typical change process scenarios

Depending on the initial situation and requirements, end-to-end change management can be implemented using various process scenarios:

1. distributed processes

The processes run in the various systems involved and are synchronised where necessary. Der Vorteil: Der Prozess läuft in den jeweiligen bekannten (rollenspezifischen) Tools. The disadvantage: Process synchronisation is time-consuming and data and process interrelationships are difficult to present transparently.

2. dominant process

Der Prozess wird aus einem System gesteuert und Sub-Prozesse in anderen Tools angestossen. Der Vorteil: Bestehende Tools werden in einem gemeinsamen Prozess genutzt. The disadvantage: Users also have to work with "external" tools, which increases internal complexity.

3. overarching processes

The local change processes are left in the respective tools and an overarching process is created that is controlled from an app. The advantage: Transparency and knowledge of the joint change process are high. The disadvantage: An additional tool is introduced that needs to be synchronised with the existing tools.


Conclusion: The ongoing expansion of the PLM sphere of influence leads to an increasing complexity of roles, processes, data and tools - and therefore also to greater challenges for change management. This makes it all the more important to have a clear, jointly defined process that takes into account the relevant data dependencies from the tools involved without restricting their function. A good solution is, for example, a comprehensive app that aggregates all information on one platform and makes it available to all roles.

PLM Open Hour

Change management in PLM

In this Open Hour, we addressed the following questions:

  • What does change management in PLM mean?
  • How has change management in PLM changed over the years?
  • What new challenges does change management bring with it?

Click through the presentation here (in German):


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