When it comes to investing in product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions, terms such as “defining requirements” and “setting budgetary constraints” can be so painful to consider that it makes many engineers and operations managers choose not to invest in PLM. They would rather hide under their desk, rocking back and forth in the fetal position while cradling their pile of Excel spreadsheets than deal with the tedious tasks that these buzz phrases represent.
The truth is when it comes to buying PLM systems, many customers, including big enterprises, do not want to write a 20-page PLM solution requirements document. They want a PLM expert to help them know what they don’t know, and what they should be considering. But how do you assuage a company’s anxiety regarding what they need from a PLM solution?
“What helps many companies feel comfortable is when you tell them ‘we have a company that looks a lot like you and here’s what they do’,” says Customer Success Manager Kraig Clark. That resonates because they know they’re not alone, and that it’s OK if they don’t have all the answers because somebody else does.”
One of Arena’s biggest benefits is that it’s evolved into a single all-in-one PLM solution. In part three of our interview with Clark, he discusses the benefits of an all-in-one PLM solution in which quality process, projects, analytics and more are all embedded within the core solution to create visibility across all aspects of an organization.
Arena: Arena is an all-in-one PLM system. What is the advantage of it over disparate, disconnected third party systems bandaged together?
Clark: All aspects of Arena PLM: items, changes, requests, quality, projects, demand, etc., are linked together out of the box, and the benefits are many. Namely it’s faster and easier to get up and running, and more intuitive UX for your users. And it’s consistently tied to the product record.
Arena: Toggling between solutions is incredibly frustrating. Was having an all-in-one solution a business consideration at the companies where you worked?
Clark: Absolutely. When we looked at our on-premise solution, we saw a bill of material (BOM) management tool, a change control tool, a project management tool, etc., but they weren’t connected and it was like logging into completely different applications. That was problematic because our information needed to be linked together to be useful.
Arena: Was the ease of provisioning users at the companies you worked an important business considerations when choosing a PLM system. Did an on-premise solution enable or impede your business in this regard?
Clark: We had users all over the world that needed access to our PLM system. Our on-premise solution was behind a firewall, and we had constant issues provisioning new users. They would get locked out because of other IT changes that were going on simultaneously of which we were unaware. We spent as much time helping people get logged into the application, as we did developing it.
Arena: Arena PLM is built and architected off best practices. Last week you said you could get 90% of the value at 10% of the effort. Can you elaborate?
Clark: We were willing to make small compromises for the bigger picture. Very mature companies may not be willing to make compromises — they may want total control and flexibility. However there’s an enormous price to be paid for that position. But for smaller and mid-size companies, they realize quickly what’s really important and what’s not.
Arena’s sales team and solution architects are very good at providing best practices for what customers need; they also listen to what a customer wants and will propose a slight alternative that might have better scalability or less implication of mistakes.
To learn more about the incredible business and product development benefits of an all-in-one suite of PLM solutions download any one of the following three whitepapers: