Still Defending Your Existing PLM? Don’t Fall into the Psychological Trap.

Today’s PLM systems need to be product innovation platforms that give an organization the ability to achieve their business and digital transformations. Unfortunately, this won’t be achieved if your system is old and can’t easily be upgraded. The root of the problem is not the system itself as much as the decision-making that has you still using legacy PLM along with its associated processes, organization of people, and treatment of data.

Sometimes legacy decision-making can be traced back to the decision-making process—costs, benefits, alternatives, and risks not clearly being defined, but most often people defend legacy for emotional reasons—“the psychological trap.“ Invariably, what happens in this case, is that the decision maker becomes fixated on their former decisions—the status quo.

There are many nuances to this where they’ll seek out people and facts to support their pre-determined bias or give undue weight to recent events to create a false narrative in their mind. Regardless of the form, the brain perceives a threat to one’s own bias, and will go to great lengths to protect itself from cognitive dissonance—from having to process a dissenting reality.  You can throw up a host of reasons why not to change in the face of disruption, but if you can’t remove your ego from the decision-making process, you will end up defending legacy and contributing toward your own organization’s disruption. We have all done it, but a good leader learns how to learn from their mistakes and surround themselves with a great team who can think for themselves and then learns how to make great decisions.

Warren Buffet said, “Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” This is so true. Many people in the IT world are chained to what they know. Many find it easier to quietly cling to the status quo in the short term and lose incrementally, then to break the chains of habit and engage in real transformation.

To use a simple football analogy. Ask yourself, if you were a coach, would you go in to each football game, using the same exact game plan, regardless of the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses and other circumstances?  “No, of course not.”

Despite a system in the National Football League designed to ensure parity, the New England Patriots have been a dynasty for close to two decades. There are many reasons for their continuous success, but chief among them is their coach, Bill Belichick, who continually re-invents everything—every year, every game, every quarter, every series, and so on.  He is relentless, and he does not cling to the past. In case you’re thinking I’m biased toward New England, I’m not—I’m from Philadelphia. The point is there is no place in sports, or business, and especially not in PLM, for defending legacy—not legacy processes, legacy technology, nor legacy thinking.

Every company that is going to thrive over the next few years, is going to do so through a digital transformation. No company can sustainably grow their business on the back of legacy thinking, and monolithic, proprietary legacy PLM. IDC, Gartner and CIMdata all agree that future products will be designed on PLM platforms. You cannot just gloss over the keys to a successful digital enterprise.

One of those keys, according to CIMdata, is the platform:

The Aras PLM Platform’s architecture is not just highly customizable, it is also highly sustainable. The days of missing or significantly delaying upgrades have potentially ended. The Aras PLM Platform is a robust solution with a high degree of resilience to business and technology changes, thereby protecting a company’s short- as well as long-term PLM investment, ensuring future adaptability, and contributing to a reduced total cost of ownership. To answer our earlier question as to whether or not the Aras PLM Platform could be a true innovation, significantly customizable to satisfy business requirements without causing negative side effects, the answer is a resounding Yes.

I would encourage you to re-think, how you got where you are now, learn from it and chart a course that allows your company to make better and more agile decisions to support your ongoing digital transformation.

“To live in the past is to die in the present.” – Bill Belichick, Coach of the New England Patriots

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