Data Management & PLM

5 Reasons Why IT Departments Shouldn’t Manage PLM Systems

10 September 2017 | Team EACPDS


Product lifecycle management (PLM) is a more complex ideology than what meets the eye. Many companies assume that IT departments should be responsible for PLM although this should be reconsidered. For example, you wouldn’t have your engine rebuilt at a place that specializes in oil changes. This same logic applies to PLM systems for numerous reasons. Here are five reasons why IT departments shouldn’t internally manage your PLM systems. 

1. PLM is not an IT specialty 

“This is not something I learned in school.”

Just because your IT department is educated and certified does not guarantee they will follow the best system practices and the most cost-effective maintenance. After all, PLM systems are engineering-centric. They are complicated and unrelated to any marketable IT certification.

In order to support these systems, a great level of expertise, specialized knowledge and know-how is required. Ultimately, these systems are complicated because they require information outside of your technology department’s core focus.

2. IT Departments are unfamiliar with PLM 

 “I don’t know anything about it.”

Once again, let’s look at this in a completely different perspective. Imagine you are in critical condition and a specialized piece of equipment is needed for your survival. Would you let a nurse perform this task without proper training and experience?

Similarly, your IT department does not want to be held responsible for a system they know virtually nothing about. These enterprise systems are different in comparison to the products they are trained to maintain. In order to uphold a stable environment, many PLM systems require extensive knowledge and management. If your IT department is unfamiliar with your PLM, you could be jeopardizing the top and bottom line of your business.

 3. IT departments are understaffed

“We are a small team with an entire company to support.”

According to a recent study, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported companies having an average of 4.2 individuals in every IT department. In larger companies, there is on average 11.9 IT staff supporting more than 500 employees. In smaller companies, less than 3 IT professionals are left to support around 250 employees.

Despite the increasing complexity of the IT business function, IT departments have remained small. Many of these departments are even lacking the resources needed to employ help desk technicians and system administrators. If this is the case, who is watching over your specialized PLM system?

4.  IT departments don’t have enough time 

“There is not enough time in the day.”

Fixing end-user issues and general day-to-day activities take up a considerable amount of time for any IT department. Their labor resources are only able to stretch so far.

Aside from keeping up with their extensive workload, many find it next to impossible to avoid larger projects from being delayed. Performing proper maintenance and implementing any new software is out of the question. This leaves the enterprise environment to suffer, and in most cases, fail.

5. IT departments are unable to give recommendations 

“I’m not sure how to do proper system maintenance.”

Accurately running and managing PLM systems involves a high level of patchwork. When problems arise and improvements are needed, many IT professionals are unable to make recommendations due to their limited experience and expertise. Unlike trained professionals, your IT department has limited knowledge and understanding of the diverse environmental factors that should be utilized during implementation. When a system goes down an IT department is forced to relearn everything. This results in longer maintenance. Instead of knowing the ins and outs of PLM systems, an IT department struggles to properly fix the issue.

As you can see, managing a PLM system is no walk in the park. In order to have a high rate of success with these systems, one must have an active approach in place. Despite the persistent idea of reducing costs by internally managing systems, companies often find themselves wasting time and decreasing the chance of success. The reality is, it is just not that simple.