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How do you bring your products to market? If your take-offs resemble a hodgepodge of misaligned processes, escalating costs, and room for error, your products are already in jeopardy. And things may go from bad to worse post-launch. In fact, 95 out of 100 new product launches go south. But there’s one tip to ensure yours is among the lucky 5%: product lifecycle management software.
You’ll be surprised to discover how dramatically this software can improve the processes as you develop, launch, and maintain your products. Right on cue: it simplifies the management of product lifecycle stages while saving you money.
Relevant is a professional product development company with years of experience in building and maintaining software solutions. We couldn’t leave you without a guide on PLM software development and an explanation of how to create these practical systems. So here you go.
Table of Contents
Product lifecycle management is a comprehensive process of managing a product as it advances from one stage to another. It helps you control and steer its direction as you plant the seeds of an idea, watch them grow during product development, and harvest the fruits until your product is discontinued.
As products become more intricate, an abundance of processes is involved in creating them and overseeing their lifecycles. That’s why everyone is looking to software to better organize things.
Product lifecycle management systems are here to do just that. They help you handle the intricacies of the PLM process, taking your product to the next level during development, release, and service stages—all the way to the end of its life. And you can use this software for virtually any product, whether an air pollution monitor or electric vehicle.
The state of the PLM software market typifies the lay of the land in today’s digitally inclined business world. No surprise that digitalization triggers its growth, with the latest milestone set at $32.42 billion in 2026.
What does this mean for you? The booming market is a welcome sign. Because it’s not oversaturated and has many top-rated players, now may be the best time to adopt a PLM system as part of your digital transformation journey.
Businesses steadfastly embrace PLM systems in manufacturing, automotive, engineering, and other industries. Quite often, they opt for the PLM software-as-a-service (SaaS) model in an attempt to snatch a souped-up solution straight out of the oven.
Here are five big shot product lifecycle management software companies today:
These vendors offer cloud-based PLM software, mostly for manufacturers. That means you can get your foot in the PLM door merely by selecting a plan and implementing an existing solution on your devices. If you’re in two minds, you can even give each of the SaaS PLM providers a test run. Although they don’t offer free PLM software, time-limited free trials are on the menu.
A word of caution: cloud-based solutions come with the features PLM vendors have crammed into them. You can’t change them or add any new functionality to an existing system. If you want to call the shots with your PLM, you may need a custom solution instead of SaaS software.
Do you remember the days before spreadsheets? The ineffective days of fax machines and phones that seemed to never stop ringing? Well, PLM software now takes the place of spreadsheets, just like they replaced outdated product management methods in the name of productivity.
Here’s why you want to have software behind your PLM:
If you’re still mulling over getting started on PLM software, here are a few signs you maybe should have done it already:
All this can be avoided with PLM software. It pays dividends as long as your teams collaborate on a product and makes sure you’re aware of what’s going on throughout its lifecycle.
Embracing PLM isn’t an overnight process, nor is it a walk in the park. You should have a firm grasp of the matter before looking for a dedicated development team or signing up for ready-made software.
In a nutshell, PLM systems organize everything you do throughout your product’s lifecycle. But what is PLM software used for in context?
Imagine you’re on the verge of introducing a new product to your audience. Your desks are littered with documents, your teams are freaking out over the dearth of materials, and you haven’t even gotten around to commercialization tasks yet.
PLM shelters you from a nervous breakdown. It combines your documents, timelines, cost estimates, data, and processes under one roof and connects all your teams and supply chain partners. Things look up when topsy-turvy workflow becomes manageable again.
The features you want to have in your PLM software should mesh with the industry you’re involved in, your product subtleties, and workflow requirements. Most likely, these are your bread and butter:
The key capabilities of PLM software are those that enable you to manage:
Specialized product lifecycle management applications can also provide additional features and capabilities. But they are often industry-specific or tailored to companies with unique workflows.
Software development isn’t low-hanging fruit on the face of it. But when you know what to do and how to do it consistently, you can get more easily from A to Z—even when it comes to PLM software development.
This brief guide will get you to Z with less hassle:
It’s also a good idea to set up a training program for your teams before creating PLM software. Help your product managers, procurement specialists, and other employees acquire the required skills of operation to prevent them from getting stuck in a new system after its rollout.
Bringing PLM software and other enterprise systems together is a big—and highly necessary—step in adopting PLM. If you think a PLM solution can deliver never-before-seen efficiency of its own accord, you’re wrong.
If left non-integrated, PLM software may cause more harm than good for your product management. It may hinder collaboration within your company by leaving your teams with inconsistent and repetitive tasks. When product-related data is walled in by PLM tools so that other systems can’t access it, your employees spend unnecessary time entering the same data.
To cap it off, non-integrated PLM software is often associated with missing things. For example, if product design changes aren’t passed on to the systems your procurement specialists and engineers use, your product improvements are delayed at best. This also goes for updates from your partners that may get lost in transit if your systems are disparate.
That’s why you should integrate your PLM software with your systems enterprise-wide. This includes document exchange tools, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, computer-aided design (CAD) solutions, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and others.
Bad news: it is rarely possible to build, integrate, and jumpstart PLM software without having to navigate a bevy of challenges. They arise for every enterprise, small or large, and manifest themselves as:
Good news: these challenges aren’t insurmountable. It all comes down to how good your development team is and how high the Internet of Things (IoT) is on your PLM software list.
With zettabytes of data coming from IoT devices, you need to set up a resilient environment where it can be stored, monitored, and managed. PLM software can become the foundation of this environment. By capturing real-time IoT data and linking it to your systems, it can work wonders for your analysis and product value. Here are a few examples of how PLM software can help businesses that use IoT products:
Whichever side you’re on, PLM and IoT are an excellent match. And Relevant can help you with both PLM and IoT software development.
A product lifecycle management app or web-based system allows your teams to manage your product’s journey using the tools they want without data discrepancies. Such an interconnected workspace provides integrated accuracy and helps you make every product launch a success.
A custom PLM solution unlocks the most tangible product management benefits since its features and capabilities aren’t pre-defined by a SaaS vendor. If you don’t want to overpay, you can always hire remote developers with hourly rates lower than in your country. Given Ukraine’s outsourcing climate and access to talent, building a development team abroad should be on the ticket.
Relevant has expensive expertise in PLM software development. As your remote team, we can create custom yet cost-effective solutions, whether you’re a startup or a multi-facility manufacturer looking to connect your global devices to a single system. Our portfolio means Relevant is up for whatever you need to develop.
We’ve already run some large-scale software projects with an eye to IoT, including:
So, stop flying blind as you develop products or handle IoT data. Contact Relevant to discuss your PLM software project.
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