In the early days of Product Data Management (PDM) systems through today's Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems, I have had the opportunity to participate in the evolution of improvement, realized business value and subsequent widespread PLM adoption among product development organizations. Much like the Diffusion of Innovation explains how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures ( Fig. 1), the first PDM system in 1976 was an outcry of a need to track government contractors design work within NASA's IPAD (Integrated Programs for Aerospace-vehicle Design) project with Boeing as the prime sub-contractor.
Obviously it is critical to having a well-managed process for bringing new products to market and PLM is very useful in this regard. What is surprising however is how few companies actually understand and employ the same rigor and discipline with their new product development with complete visibility into their overarching portfolio value and financial optimization throughout their lifecycle ( Fig. 3).
Working with Stage-Gate International, Sopheon developed the first software implementation to automate the gated process methodology, rapidly becoming the de facto standard for new product business development and new product portfolio management.
Read my follow-up post about The Business Layer of PLM: The New Frontier in Business Value Optimization.