PLM Foundations

Take a shovel and dig a hole right next to your house. You will find a concrete or masonry wall and once you are below the frost line (depending on where you live 12” to 36”) you will find, in most cases, a footing about 12” deep and anywhere from 16” to 24’ wide. This is the foundation for your house. The footing sits on undisturbed soil, or sand, or whatever and distributes and carries the load from the house itself. In most cases, this is perfectly adequate and has kept your structure safe for many years. 

However, there is this substance called Montmorillonite, an expansive clay, that exists in some soils. This clay expands, and contracts depending on the amount of water present and can exert enormous pressure on structures. 5,500 pounds per square foot to be more exact. This can wreak havoc on your home—cracks in floors, windows not working or sticking, plumbing and other services can get out of alignment and cease to function.

To remedy this situation and mitigate risk, one solution entails drilling caissons into the ground to resist the uplifting pressures, concentrating loads to counteract the upward pressures and prevent movement. Other measures involve minimizing landscaping around the perimeter of the home and maintaining positive drainage.

Similarly, your business rests on your people, processes, and increasingly, data. Data has been defined as the life blood of a company and by some measures, the number two company expense to create, develop, secure, and utilize; after employee overhead.

What is the foundation of your PLM system? Is it resting on your enterprise soil—your data and institutional knowledge? Is it a traditional foundation comprised of an MCAD footing and various dissimilar applications sitting on top? This may be fine historically, and perhaps in some simple cases, but you need to think about today’s specific pressures that may be affecting your business. Governance is increasing constantly with fines and loss of brand integrity becoming commonplace. Customer expectations are at a high pitch—from wanting the “latest thing” to expecting a personal, customized thing. New materials and processes are putting pressure on your manufacturing systems. New business models require looking past the factory door and into the product’s distribution and servicing. You need to “Own the Lifecycle” of your products, from conception, through discipline specific design, through manufacturing, service, maintenance and sustainability—not simply creating better widgets.

You need an innovation platform that was designed from the beginning to counteract pressure. A system that is anchored deeply into your data, not just floating over the data with an overabundance of randomly acquired applications, interfaces, and processes; but a single platform that can provide intelligent actionable knowledge throughout a product’s lifecycle. You need a platform, supporting many applications—an end-to-end foundation for innovation and business success.

At a minimum your platform should follow these principles:

Data Transparency
An open platform allows organizations to own their data instead of leaving it captive to an aging technology stack or a software vendor.

Technological Evolvability
A platform should never be locked into a technology. For a platform to be continually relevant over time, there must be flexibility in the design by keeping to open standards

Business Process Adaptability
Business processes will not only change, but will do so often, quickly, and without concern for the ability of the systems to change with them. A resilient platform needs to be so adaptable that it not only supports change, but it also encourages it.

System Customizations
Since every company is unique and every business process evolves, a platform must be able to implement customizations without impacting future upgrades or creating crippling technical debt.

The Aras Innovator platform provides a resilient foundation not seen anywhere else in the industry. With low-code modeling functionality and a commitment to openness, the Aras platform is built to adapt and evolve. Aras applications not only provide the basis for critical functionalities, but also the ability to customize the applications for specific business needs without accumulating technical debt or affecting future platform upgrades. The platform ensures a consistent and high-quality data model across applications, allowing subscribers to create a digital thread.