How do manufacturers of software-heavy products strike a balance between PLM and ALM? This is the question examined by a PROSTEP study for which companies from a number of different industries were surveyed. A key finding of the study is that the level of integration between product and application lifecycle management is currently insufficient to ensure end-to-end digitalization and traceability.
The aim of the joint study conducted by PROSTEP and PROSTEP’s subsidiary BHC was to determine the current allocation of roles between PLM and ALM when developing mechatronic and software-heavy products and the companies’ future strategy for systems lifecycle management (SLM). For this purpose, the study’s authors interviewed managers and technical experts from leading companies in the automotive, mechanical engineering, electrical, and medical engineering industries. The largest of them had approximately 400,000 employees, the smallest 100.
The study confirmed that the world of development is changing and that the significance of ALM has increased as the importance of embedded product software has grown. Increasingly, ALM is taking the leading over PLM. However, the study also indicated that ALM has previously only functioned well on its own as the software is less integrated in the engineering processes than the mechanics or electrics/electronics. The result is that scarcely any company can ensure the traceability of deliverables across different disciplines, even though most of them consider this a key future requirement.
Despite the difficulties of ensuring traceability, there is no clear trend towards the use of PLM and ALM solutions from a single vendor. This is probably related to the fact that these systems are not yet integrated to such an extent that their use promises an advantage over a best-of-breed strategy. In addition, other criteria such as the cloud capability of the solutions play a role when selecting an ALM solution. A mix of all known IT solutions can therefore be found in PLM-ALM integration initiatives, without these integrations always supporting the objective of end-to-end traceability.
To find out more about the results of the PROSTEP study, click here. It is available to you free of charge.
By Peter Wittkop