Managing the ‘Lifecycle of Things’ Across the Enterprise

Lionel Grealou Circular Economy Digital 3 minutes

The rapid pace of technological change brings both opportunities and threats for businesses, across domains and industries. As a matter of fact, every organizations increasingly rely on technology to differentiate their products, services, user experiences and operations, seeking for effectiveness and efficiency across their “X“​ lifecycle, where X = product, application, asset performance, talent, technology, data, process, material intelligence, etc.

Product-service-experience creation is the de facto set of disciplines which covers concept-to-cradle activities, across multiple domains and stakeholders, in which products are created according to principles of a circular economy (focusing on positive holistic society-wide benefits rather than the traditional make-use-dispose cycle).

Lifecycle management extends to all things, from engineering, manufacturing, quality, sales and marketing, enterprise collaboration and management, maintenance and service, as well as all operations supporting the full enterprise digital chain. It goes beyond the single level domains, such as BOM, CAD, CAE, requirements, FMEA, resource management, etc.

  • PRODUCT Lifecycle: products are developed from concept to start of production, following defined carry-over and platform strategies; their lifecycle continues to mature as product issues are addressed throughout production and assembly, in collaboration with multiple design partners, engineering-to-order and manufacturing-to-order suppliers.
  • APPLICATION Lifecycle: all applications are software, but not all software are applications; their lifecycle depends greatly in their purpose and usage. They are subject to more iterative changes and continue to mature during in-field operations.
  • ASSET PERFORMANCE Lifecycle: an asset is an item, thing or entity that has potential or actual value to an organization; such as a product fleet, a research facility, a manufacturing or assembly plant, an industrial machine or robot. Their lifecycles are very different and link to how they are maintained and potentially transformed throughout their operational periods.
  • TALENT Lifecycle: attracting, assessing, and hiring top talent, but also developing and retaining excellent employees is critical to any industry and organization. Managing skill must be viewed as part of a larger, inter-connected talent management strategy, including performance management and succession planning. Closely managing skill development lifecycle is an integrated part of successful technology-enabled business change deployment.
  • TECHNOLOGY Lifecycle: technology brings competitive advantage through new capabilities, robust integration, automation and data traceability; the rapid pace of technological change requires a strong understanding of its lifecycle: how technology is developed, purchased, integrated and later decommissioned.
  • DATA Lifecycle: data lifecycle is defined by the key maturity stages involved in successful management and preservation of data for use and reuse; this includes data capture, maintenance, synthesis, release, usage, publication, archive and disposal.
  • PROCESS Lifecycle: business process lifecycle refers to continuous improvement cycles which includes the following stages: model, implement, execute, monitor, optimize; nowadays, process-technology-talent lifecycle are closely interrelated.
  • MATERIAL INTELLIGENCE Lifecycle: centrally managing materials information in a holistic manner across the enterprise is critical for manufacturing organizations ultimately seeking to enhance products, processes and profitability. Selecting and applying the right materials concerns every engineering and business activities, especially relevant to describe all aspects of the materials lifecycle and simulation standards.

Designing and integrating lifecycles across multiple ‘things‘ and across enterprise operations requires a holistic business transformation and organizational change approach. This implies an alignment of talent, process, data and technology for a specific scope of work: product, application, asset performance, material intelligence, etc. and their respective lifecycle following the digital thread across the enterprise.

This also includes technologies, processes and data embedded into physical products, applications (software), asset performance (execution machines, in-filed products). Concurrently, talents (people, skills, experience), technologies, data and processes (internal and external services) follows their respective lifecycle.

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About the Author

Lionel Grealou


Lionel Grealou, a.k.a. Lio, helps original equipment manufacturers transform, develop, and implement their digital transformation strategies—driving organizational change, data continuity and process improvement, managing the lifecycle of things across enterprise platforms, from PDM to PLM, ERP, MES, PIM, CRM, or BIM. Beyond consulting roles, Lio held leadership positions across industries, with both established OEMs and start-ups, covering the extended innovation lifecycle scope, from research and development, to engineering, discrete and process manufacturing, procurement, finance, supply chain, operations, program management, quality, compliance, marketing, etc.

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