We have seen that PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) solutions have grown apart from each other during recent years.
Today’s products are more complex than ever. They often contain microchips, embedded systems and diverse mechanical components. Manufacturing products today often requires software and systems specifically built to manage software and as a result the integration of PLM and ALM is key for companies to improve the product development life cycle and manufacture products that meet customers’ expectations.
Are PLM and ALM that similar?
Both PLM and ALM systems are built upon an integrated process and set of core disciplines but these are the only similarities.
PLM can manage product-related workflows, specifications and versions but it is not designed to deal with requirements management, test and change management as well as release management or build management.
With other words, PLM solutions are designed to create physical products, while ALM solutions are there to manage software. ALM is essential to software development teams to manage the development process from defining requirements to deliver releases. ALM is no longer optional but is rather a “necessary addition” to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) for manufacturers.
Benefits of Integration of PLM – ALM: Improved design, product management and traceability
According to the Software and System Development Survey of VDC one of the biggest advantages of the integration is improved design and product management. Enterprises can also benefit from improved product quality and less product failure, better collaboration and minimizing the silos of different engineering disciplines. Last but not least, the integration of PLM – ALM could massively improve the traceability throughout the product lifecycle.
Many benefits of the integration of PLM-ALM are worthy to consider. Due to the cultural differences (engineers from both sides do not want to be forced to migrate to a different solution) and the complexity of embedded software development, it is unlikely that ALM and PLM systems will merge into an effective mainstream system that is suitable for all, however, there have been some attempts for integration such as OSCL (Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration).
Without ALM You Might Face Millions of Product Recalls
However, there might not be a perfect solution for the integration of PLM-ALM yet, you need to consider that one reason for recent product failures is the failure of the management of the application development. In 2013, almost 22 million cars were recalled due to embedded software failures and according to FDA, 24% of all medical device recalls were related to software errors.
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