PLM, and the “Golden Triangle” of Change

Lionel Grealou Data PLM 2 minutes

The implementation of an enterprise-wide Product Life-cycle Management (PLM) system involves organizational as well as cultural changes in a company. By definition, tools and technologies (and IT from a broader point of view) are enabling solutions supporting Product Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering processes and data management.

Successful PLM implementations are about change (in small continuous improvement increments, or in more transformational ways). The practice of Project Management typically refers to scope, schedule and cost as “golden triangle” of quality delivery. Similarly, the “golden triangle” of change includes (by order of importance): people, processes and systems (tools & technologies). Data is also an overlapping dimension as people create / update / search / view data, they store / access / share data following processes, using tools and technologies, applications, interfaces, databases, IT infrastructure, etc.

Here are below a (non-exhaustive) list of considerations for each perspectives (in no particular order):


  • People include key business stakeholders / process owners, end-users, suppliers, etc.
  • Skill management, job / role descriptions, various roles (Product Engineers, Configuration Managers, Reviewer, Approvers, etc.)
  • People education and training
  • Organizational & cultural changes / new behaviours / new skills
  • Most benefits are realised from resource efficiency (enabling Engineers to focus on value-added activities)
  • Engineering practice and tacit knowledge (in people’s head)
  • Creativity and innovation comes from people
  • Capacity to create – access to global talents, ability to scale


  • Business pain points and improvement priorities are process driven
  • Capability ‘enablement’, process to create, New Product Development & Introduction (NPDI) and Engineering framework)
  • BoM, product configuration, MCAD, data visualization, portfolio and project management, change management, supply chain collaboration, requirements management, systems engineering, CAE and simulation, material, cost management, manufacturing, etc.
  • Most process improvement benefits can be derived in resource efficiency, productivity gains and improved quality


  • Enabling, useful, usable, desirable, technologies – leveraging vendor-led process ‘best practices’
  • Levels of integration within the PLM landscape and between PLM and ERP
  • Cost of ownership
  • Minimum / controlled customization
  • Importance of maintainability, performance, future scalability
  • From an IT perspective, most benefits are realised from cost avoidance
  • PLM on the cloud
  • Management of big data


  • ‘Fit-for-purpose’ data model
  • Legacy data migration
  • Interfaces to support deployment and transition
  • Data searchability, consistency and security
  • Intellectual Property
  • Data cleansing..

What are your thoughts?

This post was originally published on LinkedIn on 4 March 2015.

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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