PLM Platform Selection – part 2: decision criteria and critical success factors

Selecting a new PLM platform is not easy task. It involves business, technical and often political decisions. Running the RFQ process can take time to ensure that all requirements are understood and accountable in the vendor and platform selection. In part 1, we discuss what the RFQ process is about, its context and strategy, key pre-requisites, stakeholders, and the importance to deal upfront with PLM complexity. Complexity management 

In part 2 of this two-part series, we elaborate on the decision criteria, how to build positive relationship with the vendor, while staying realist about expected outcomes? What delivery governance must be established to deliver successful PLM platform implementation?

Typical RFQ selection criteria

When assessing tenders from a number of competitive vendors, it is important to compare like-for-life their solution and ability to deliver a robust business partnership.

Typically, the selection criteria can be grouped in 10 essential axes:

  • Is the solution fit-for-purpose? Has the vendor answered the exam question and demonstrated that they are a good fit? Is the solution addressing all requirements? Will it be scalable? Etc.
  • How will the solution integrate into the wider landscape? How will legacy data be migrated? How will the platform be integrated to the rest of the enterprise and its other digital platforms?
  • Is the vendor a good cultural fit? Is there evidence of strategic alignment across the solution scope and future augmentation? (not only alignment in the boardroom, but with all key stakeholders)
  • Is the solution good value for money? Will it contribute to the expected return on investment?
  • Will the solution remain good value for money over time? What is the payback period? How will the solution be maintained and scaled up or down based on business needs? (license models and cloud solutions will obviously contribute to addressing this criterion)
  • Can it be implemented within the expected time frame? Will it be delivered the required speed-to-benefit for the expected cost?
  • Is the vendor able to deliver a successful implementation? How experienced is the vendor or its partners to manage an effective and efficient delivery? If a partner is to implement the solution, do they have the proactive support from the vendor? Are all risks correctly mitigated and leadership responsibilities agreed?
  • Does the proposal cover effective business change management? Are people and other non-technical parameters understood and how will they be managed?
  • How will the organization transition from the existing working practice to the new solution? What will be the new operating model and organizational structure? How will the vendor and its partner network contribute to a seamless deployment? (often in context of a wider change roadmap)
  • How will the implementation be packaged commercially, e.g. as a turnkey solution? How are the technical and commercial risks shared and mitigated across all parties? Do they have the relevant “skin in the game” to demonstrate their respective accountability?

Building long-term relationships

Digital platforms like PLM and others enterprise tools are typically sticky solutions; initial implementations might be swift, major upgrades or transition often become difficult over time. Having a long-term relationship with vendors is essential to maintain an open perspective on what’s new, ongoing learning from all parties, find solutions to problems, while operating within a robust governance model, covering:

  • Business reviews on strategic alignment and commercial terms.
  • Technical reviews on capabilities, issues, mitigations and workarounds.

Effective governance assumes hygiene processes to address, new code releases, issue and bug resolution, escalation process, with clear roles and responsibilities between internal support teams, third parties, vendors, with middleware and other vendor’s potential involvement for infrastructure and interface elements.

The above, and more, are critical elements to assess as part of RFQ processes as they will form the foundation for a common understanding of a mutual delivery model and its associated commercial model.

What are your thoughts?

This is an original publication by:

Momentum PLM and written by Lionel Grealou

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Lionel Grealou

24th September


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