The role of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems in a business landscape is multifaceted, complex, and crucial to success. They serve as vital components in information architecture, with ERP traditionally being the dominant system. However, the rise of PLM systems, which focus more on lifecycle management of master data, is starting to challenge the supremacy of ERP and PLM is gaining attention at the CXO level these days. This shift in power is attributed to an increased awareness of the need for a technological perspective in managing and representing information, as opposed to the commercial and transactional view in ERP systems. PLM systems, with their ability to model technology-oriented information, are gradually moving to the top of the automation pyramid. The move towards collaborative, data-driven, model-based life cycle engineering will make PLM more important at the enterprise level.
When it comes to the integration and interoperability of ERP and PLM systems, international standards like ISO 10303-239 (Product Life Cycle Support, or PLCS) and ISO 10303-242 (Managed Model-Based 3D Engineering, or AP242) can play a significant role. Despite their potential benefits, these standards have been largely underutilized. This is partly because the standards are rich and sometimes difficult to grasp. As an industrial end user, it should be enough to ask your ERP and PLM vendors to support them. Long term, however, it is wise to build some understanding around the fundamentals of these standards to push your SW vendors and system integrators in this direction for your organization to resume ownership if the data you create and manage.
The same logic applies to the use of yet another ISO standard called MoSSEC. The MoSSEC standard is designed to provide a capability to share Modeling and Simulation information in a collaborative Systems Engineering Context. This is less relevant in the context of ERP but the management and governance of modeling and simulation information will increase in importance and should be aligned with the overall PLM strategy.
Given their inherent capabilities, PLCS and AP242 should be instrumental in bridging the gap between ERP and PLM systems. They provide the groundwork for a common language and framework, enabling better interoperability and integration between the systems and thus enhancing the return on investment on IT spending. For these standards to be fully utilized, they need to be better understood and adopted more widely. Energy should be focused on leveraging these existing and global ISO standards rather than starting from scratch or putting too much trust in vendors actually making the business of locking your data in.
In the long run, the adoption of these standards can bring about a more collaborative and seamless enterprise ecosystem, creating greater value for businesses.