Traditionally, engineering and manufacturing of a product follow two distinct streams for the development of hardware and software respectively. Subsequently, these development streams progress in full or partial isolation. The reason being, rise in complex hardware and software manufacturing processes and implementation. Hence the old method of sequential development for the individual streams is not practicable. Therefore, integration of these hardware and software streams of life cycle management becomes essential.
Why do we need PLM–ALM integration
PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) manages the product portfolios, its configuration, catalogs, manufacturing, diversities, and simulation through the entire life cycle of the product. With time products have sophisticated, so the scope of PLM has also extended. The new-age product has evolved from being mere mechanical objects to becoming mechatronics (technology combining electronics and mechanical engineering) including the software aspect as well. This is where ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) comes in. It makes a product more adaptable, well connected and smarter; adding more to its value. The software has become an essential aspect of many industries. Hence, complicated product development requires PLM-ALM integration.
Challenges of PLM–ALM integration
- The challenge for the manufacturers is to overcome the basic disconnection between PLM & ALM which in turn increases the problems of delays, rework, safety defects, and cross-domain communication. However, it is not so easy to bring these two streams together. As they need to figure what should be the exact role ALM with reference to PLM; how the technologies should be integrated into each other to carry out those roles.
Opportunities of PLM–ALM integration
- PLM-ALM integration can help the development teams to overcome the challenges of changing market requirements to feedback with proper management of the end to end life cycle. They can also monitor customer feedback efficiently. This system can be integrated with the agile development system. There; the process requirements are quite dynamic, still must be managed at the product level.
- The efficient management of R&D is essential for any large company; there is up to 20%-30% investment done towards R&D annually. When R&D is managed efficiently and effectively it has an impact on the overall revenue generation of the company. Hence this integration can improve the time to market for newly launched products, cross-team collaboration, and overall effectiveness. This, in turn, helps to improve the overall development of the product increasing return on investment.
- Clear, concise and timely communication can be a game-changer in product development. Integration of PLM-ALM can help the development team to communicate clearly to other teams (engaged with designing to deployment) about any specific change effectively.
- For example, this integration can help to increase ROI as it does the defect management and enhancements efficiently. Defect management is usually done in the software by conducting test cases that get fixed by the development. However, the hardware aspect has not been improved enough. PLM-ALM integration helps to bridge the gap ensuring compatibility between the two releases of software and hardware. It helps in better traceability which reduces the cost and improves ROI.
Future of PLM–ALM integration
Many of the large manufacturing companies are the biggest users of PLM-ALM integration. For example, aerospace and defense, automotive companies are reaping benefits in terms of managing faster time to market, efficient operation management with low production cost and product innovation going to quicker adaption of PLM-ALM integration.
Although few large companies in the automotive, aerospace and defense sectors have started implementing PLM-ALM integration successfully, however, there is a lot of scope for many companies in other verticals to catch up on this trend. But the key challenges for them is to structure the use case scenarios and channelize them to achieve business benefits by formulating appropriate strategy towards PLM-ALM integration. Many companies still struggle to decide where to start with.
Kovair PLM-ALM Center of Excellence (CoE) is aimed at assisting global companies coming up with concrete business cases and implement them successfully to achieve business goals. Kovair’s PLM-ALM CoE is the combination of tools and expertise aimed to help seamless coordination between the two product life cycles. For further information please visit – PLM-ALM Center of Excellence (CoE).