IBM Opens PLM Centers of Excellence

18 Nov, 2007

Nine global facilities are designed to link clients to IBM experts who help to integrate all aspects of product lifecycle management into existing enterprise systems.

IBM announced the launch of a global network of nine Product Lifecycle Management Centers designed to help customers launch new products in shorter time periods.

The Centers of Excellence are located in Nice-La Gaude, France; Boeblingen, Germany; Beijing, China; Bangalore and New Dehli, India; Yamato, Japan; Montreal, Canada; and in the United States in Hawthorne, New York, and Dallas, Texas.

IBM states that the centers' lab-like environment offers clients access to IBM experts, which include more than 3,000 researchers, 9,000 software developers, and 1,000 consulting and technology practitioners, who help clients integrate all aspects of a product's lifecycle into other enterprise systems. This involves leveraging a client's current service-oriented architecture to reuse existing technology. Early client engagements include companies such as Harley Davidson Motor Company and Bombardier Aerospace.

"As organizational alignment, open innovation, and visibility across the value chain become prerequisites for new product development and launch success, vendors in the product innovation space have a great opportunity to evolve their PLM footprints," said Jeffrey Hojlo, PLM analyst, AMR Research. "Each group in the PLM value chain sees product information through the lens of its own role, so it's critical to enable role-based views inside and outside the company for faster decision support. A service-oriented architecture would reduce these complexities."

The centers offer PLM value-creation seminars, enterprise integration workshops, software technologies from IBM and its business partners, business process-management modules, and proof-of-concept solutions for specific industries. Supplier and partner collaboration is facilitated by the development of composite applications using Web 2.0 technologies. For example, a manufacturer trying to identify a compliance issue can tap into IBM's unified communications platform, Lotus Sametime, which integrates presence, instant messaging, voice, video, and telephony to bring suppliers and partners together.

Manufacturers also can leverage new technology prototypes, such as mobile 3D viewers that can render and manipulate 3D models on Linux-based Personal Digital Assistants and Pocket PC devices.

"Given the fast pace of new product introductions and the need to tap into a product's lifecycle at any time, companies are looking to partner with an organization who can offer a global network of experts around the world," said Michael Wheeler, vice-president, IBM Manufacturing and Supply Chain Solutions. "PLM is a critical growth area for IBM and one that is driven by our clients' desire to significantly improve their ability to deliver innovative products to an expanding set of customers."