COTSSince several years ago, we are seeing a lot of initiatives regarding being as COTS as possible from industrials.

What does it means and what is the real goal behind that?
For a long time, PLM or PDM solutions were mainly focused on check in/out functionalities for parts, documents and CAD files and managed changes in a traceability way of working. Since then, Editors delivers verticals solutions based on feedbacks from industrials in order to have added values from their products and reduce customization to offer a lower deployment/maintenance cost.
Today, every products family seems to have the right module for each business/industry. So why are we doing so expensive customizations and products migrations? This is a simple and relevant question mainly coming from procurement side…

Being COTS: is it a target? Is it an efficiency process?
For me it could not be a target, for a simple reason… how to calculate a COTS compliance? I have a lot of way in order to calculate a percentage of COTS compliance, and I’m sure I can find a way to say your solution is compliant or not to the fixed target. But defining KPIs compliant with IT requirements and Business requirements is possible in order to define targets for the PLM solution road-map. Those KPI drives efficiency process and cost saving without impacting business process requirements.
Why do we engage customizations?
Customizations are mainly coming from business requirements (business objects, business processes..) and IT landscape regarding a chosen PLM solution not compliant with requirements.
I would like to have all needed functionalities in the chosen COTS solution… why don’t they deliver solutions with all of them?
Just let me check a second… what is the editors process regarding products road-map integration?

  • Checking (if on-boarded) the gap between business needs and COTS solutions
  • Defining if this gap is compliant and helpful for other customers
  • validate this needs in the product road-map
  • Defining road-map delivery
  • Delivery

This process can be very long for the customer, I would say all the time it is not compliant with the project planning. This is the first point, and the second one is that the target COST functionality will be generalized in order to be compliant with other customers.. so I will need to do some parameterizations or even customizations in order to satisfy my customer.
What is a most important for industries today? being innovated and having an efficient business process to deliver the best product in time and under cost target. How can I be more efficient than my competitors? Staying innovator and having the best delivery model.. does it mean that I have to follow editors solutions? I don’t thing… I thing customization is also a good KPI for innovated industries!

Conclusion:

Being COST is the best way in order to reduce costs, and a really strong process is necessary in order to evaluate the compliance regarding business processes and COTS solutions but being 100% COTS means that you are too late! Some real KPI must be defined in order to manage critical/innovated processes and the other processes managed with COTS functionalities in order to reduce cots.

I’m just sharing my PLM point of view… what is yours?

Eve Cots - Luc Boucher - PLM Expert

Luc.