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Author's profile photo David Parrish

IDC Manufacturing Insights: “PLM Selection in SAP Environments”

In August 2015, IDC Manufacturing Insights published a white paper entitled “PLM Selection in SAP Environments,” which was sponsored by SAP and written by Jeffrey Hojlo and Robert Parker of IDC.

“This IDC Manufacturing Insights white paper looks at product life-cycle management (PLM) application strategies at companies that run SAP as their core ERP system. This white paper offers a decision framework for determining the best approach to support an organization’s product management needs and offers guidance on steps to take to put the strategy into action.”


Some of the highlights include:

  • A look at SAP’s history in the discrete manufacturing space as well as current trends
  • An analysis of the PLM market evolution from 1980 to 2020
  • IDC’s view on the product innovation platform
  • A maturity and complexity PLM decision model
  • Automotive, high tech, aerospace & defense, chemicals, industrial machinery, consumer products, and pharmaceutical sectors.
  • IDC’s guidance to “assess the complexity of your product management process and the maturity of your SAP implementation to determine one of four possible scenarios: Once you have plotted your company against the curve, there are four possible scenarios:”

    • “Neither your maturity nor your complexity justifies an SAP PLM investment. In this case, keep your primary PLM vendor as your system of reference for product information and processes. Look to SAP to be a robust supporting system as a control layer on top of the development process, and consider some of the integration tools, including master data management, that SAP has to offer.”

    • “You are very mature, but your complexity is too high. In this case, go deeper into the gaps between your needs and the SAP product. Consider the future road map from SAP, evaluate whether it makes sense to make a long-term commitment to SAP, and create a transition plan.”

    • “SAP can handle your complexity, but your maturity prevents adoption. This scenario may be a situation where the ability to take advantage of PLM capability may be a reason (or one of several reasons) for upgrading sooner rather than later.”

    • “Both your maturity and your complexity indicate that SAP PLM is viable. Put it into your investment plans.”


“To meet the demands of today’s marketplace, manufacturers must have more than just PLM — they need a product innovation platform. This imperative will make your choice of a vendor partner one of the most critically important choices for the portfolio that you will make.”


About IDC:  International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,100 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For 50 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company.”

Dave Parrish is the Global Director of Industrial Machinery & Components Solutions Marketing for SAP. Before joining SAP, David held various product and industry marketing positions with J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft, and QAD going back to 1999. Prior to J.D. Edwards, Dave held transportation, warehouse, manufacturing, purchasing, and materials management roles in the industrial, automotive, and medical device sectors. Dave has a B.S. in Advertising from the University of Illinois-Urbana, an MBA in Transportation Management from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and a Certification in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) from the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS).

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      Author's profile photo Patrick Culliton
      Patrick Culliton


      Thanks for sharing this excellent tool that helps end users find their position in terms of maturity and complexity.  We have had a number of senior architects complete this and the results have caused great debates among the team; which is a really good result.

      We do, as a company, have a vision of where we want to get to however it became apparent that to use this report successfully I highly recommend that users complete the graph on Page 7 based on your company's position today, and, repeat again based on where you see yourself in 2 then 5 years.

      You may begin to see a trend appear.  This trend line is more important to us that just an understanding of our position today

      I do hope this trend line helps other teams find the answers to their PLM dilemna.



      Author's profile photo David Parrish
      David Parrish
      Blog Post Author

      Excellent advice Patrick.  I very much like the idea of a trend based on today, 2 years down the road, and 5 years out.  Makes great sense.  Thanks again.