Products are people, too. Wait, no they’re not

aberdeen-group.jpgWhenever someone uses the term “product lifecycle management” I immediately imagine a new A&E version of Biography (or maybe an IT variant of the E! True Hollywood story) featuring a Dell Dimension desktop or an Intel Xeon. If only it were that glamorous.

Instead, PLM is becoming onerous enough that research firms like Aberdeen Group are recommending a “program” approach to doing it. I’m not exactly sure what that means, except that in addition to expensive software to monitor PLM you’re also going to have to attend meetings about it, and IT managers have enough meetings to deal with.

Aberdeen is coming out with this research at a time when companies like SAP are plotting their long-term PLM strategy, and Oracle is making acquisitions to beef up its ability to offer PLM. I can’t help but feel that eventually this is just another branch of analytics that goes along with sales figures and other key performance indicators, and that it really needs to be culled from ERP, CRM and other existing systems rather than as a standalone product or project. If enterprises are really trying to create service-oriented architectures, effective PLM seems like it should be just one of the services SOA would make possible.

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