Friday Jan 31, 2014

Agile PLM Resources - Know Agile

This post provides a summary of resources available for Agile PLM.  This is a reference that can be used over time to learn about Agile PLM and to stay connected.[Read More]

Wednesday Jan 29, 2014

Accelerating New Product Introduction through Automation

Xavor is one of the PLM Track Sponsors of the 2014 Oracle Value Chain Summit. Attending the Summit? Be sure to visit Xavor at Booth #109 and learn more about what Xavor will be discussing during their session at the Summit in the guest blog below authored by Colleen Tunstill of Xavor.



These days, people expect everything in the blink of an eye. Latte? Coming right up. Spilled on that suit right before the big meeting? No problem, the cleaners will have it cleaned and pressed within 2 hours of drop off time. Boss emails you at 11:30 PM? A response is expected within 20 minutes or you’re fired! (Not really but you get the bigger picture). In a world bursting with smart phones, iPads and the latest tech gadgets, we’re accustomed to produce faster, to expedite proficiently, and to generate at higher volumes.

Agile PLM teams receive more and more projects monthly but are limited on time to perform their functions. Time constraints cause problems in creating projects utilizing appropriate tasks, gates, resources, time lines, etc. In addition, Configuration & Change Management take time and require consistency. Users fall behind when continuously backwards referral is necessary. Productivity is affected when data entry requirements are not easily accessed.

This is the time to introduce automation, first as a way to help relieve the time required for standard or repetitive activities and second, as a way to verify the tasks the team is spending time on are error-free. Many customers are realizing significant improvements to their business processes through automation. 

Learn more about the variety and complexity of automation solutions for Agile PLM at the Oracle Value Chain Summit. Presented by Tom Nelson, Principal-Product & Program Management at Xavor, this session will explore Accelerating New Product Introduction through Automation on Tuesday, February 4th at 4:05 PM. In this session, introduced by Oracle, Tom will focus on answering these questions:

  • How can various customizations make project and document management faster and simpler for users?
  • What are the types of customizations and how to choose the most appropriate one for the problem to be solved?
  • Where can companies look to find the best experience in helping them develop these customizations at a reasonable cost with measurable ROI?

The session will also highlight a customer case study that used automation to better leverage Product Portfolio Management and Product Collaboration functionality to accelerate New Product Introductions.  Sample automations that will be discussed include Project Setup, Activity Reporting, Deliverable Submissions and Gate Reviews.

Agile PLM Users: if time, efficiency and your user experience top the list of your priorities, visit us in San Jose! Visit Xavor at Booth #109 and don’t miss Tom Nelson’s presentation: Accelerating New Product Introduction through Automation, scheduled on Tuesday, February 4, from 4:05-5 PM.


Tuesday Jan 28, 2014

Is Product Lifecycle Management the Answer to Driving Innovation in Biopharma?

Kalypso is one of our PLM Premier Sponsors of the 2014 Oracle Value Chain Summit. Attending the Summit? Be sure to visit Kalypso at Booth #113 and learn more about what Kalypso has to offer in the guest blog below authored by Horst Groesser, Partner, Kalypso.


With 2014 underway, biopharma companies continue to face a variety of industry factors: patent expirations, generic competition and pricing pressure from payers that are demanding clearer demonstration of product value. The complexity that results from the drug development process, mergers and acquisitions, and ever-changing and increasing regulatory compliance requirements only adds to the list of challenges.

But the biggest challenge for the biopharma industry continues to be driving sustainable innovation and successfully commercializing new products. To address this, companies have tried various strategies including mergers and acquisitions, scientific partnering and collaborations, and expansion into emerging markets, but have yet to realize their growth targets.

Innovation in the biopharma industry is not going to get any easier, or any less complex. Despite the challenges, is there hope for biopharma companies to drive sustainable growth through innovation?

The answer is yes, but not without a caveat, of course. Innovation in biopharma is often understood as scientific breakthroughs in basic research and discovery. Biopharma companies must change this mindset. While the discovery of new molecular entities is the lifeline for companies, true innovation is not just about the science – it also requires transforming those breakthrough discoveries into marketable products and successfully launching them in highly regulated markets.

Product lifecycle management (PLM) has transformed how products are developed and commercialized in many industries over the last two decades. Can it do the same for biopharma?

Based on our experience working with other regulated, complex industries, we believe that product lifecycle management (PLM) can be instrumental in driving innovation in biopharma.

Why PLM?

PLM can help biopharma companies (1) effectively manage product data from discovery through commercialization, and (2) efficiently register and launch new products in multiple markets while assuring regulatory compliance at every stage of the process. PLM can also enable three core capabilities that enhance innovation performance:

  1. Visibility – Scientists with better visibility into one another’s work improve the chances of “connecting the dots.” Better visibility helps management set priorities and ensure resources are allocated in line with those priorities. It can also smooth the transition from research to manufacturing and commercialization.
  2. Traceability – Better traceability improves the organization’s ability to maintain compliance and address regulatory inquiries. Traceability is at the center of addressing the complexity challenge. Consider how much faster a new drug product could be launched in multiple countries in various strengths or forms if product data was globally accessible in an integrated repository for core product and product packaging data. Such a central repository would allow accelerated changes to the core product and its packaging while maintaining compliance in different regional markets. It also enables improved reuse of knowledge assets by allowing product development teams to retrace development decisions made in the past.
  3. Collaboration – Drug development is a complex, cross-functional endeavor. Increasingly, it involves partnering with researchers from many different organizations. Better collaboration enables a richer understanding of scientific challenges and more innovative product solutions.

Visibility, traceability and collaboration can have a significant impact on business processes such as regulatory submission and product launches, regulatory compliance, product packaging and labeling, and portfolio prioritization – all keys for driving product innovation success in biopharma.

What does the PLM platform look like for biopharma?

To fully describe how PLM can help enable these capabilities, we first defined the PLM platform for the biopharma industry here. Then, we explored how PLM can support a compliant product dataset; facilitate change control, packaging, labeling and artwork changes; and manage new product submissions and international registrations in a series of white papers and publications.

To help biopharma companies get started on their PLM journeys, we also offer and implement Oracle Value Chain capabilities and accelerator solutions that enable them to successfully respond to the industry challenges and sharpen their competitive edge, including:

  • Compliant product data record
  • Product change control
  • International product registrations
  • Packaging and artwork management
  • Quality management 
If you are interested in learning more about driving innovation with PLM, visit Kalypso at booth #113 at Oracle Value Chain Summit (VCS) 2014.

Monday Jan 27, 2014

Missed Opportunities: Changing the Way You Think About BI Can Open up a World of “Easy Wins”

Verdant is one of our PLM Preferred Sponsors of the 2014 Oracle Value Chain Summit. Attending the Summit? Be sure to visit Verdant at Booth #104 and learn more about Verdant's expertise in the blog below, authored by Wes Frierson, Partner and Chief Strategy Officer, Verdant.


As least as far as Enterprise software goes, dashboards can be pretty sexy stuff.  What else gets your colleagues and management as excited as some gorgeous dashboards? Taking a complex tangle of information, transforming it, then exposing it in bite-size chunks that you can actually get your arms around—who could argue with that value? That’s why those dashboards are the “poster children” for Business Intelligence value.

But for all the obvious “in-your-face” value these analytics demonstrate, there is a less obvious–but equally valuable—application of Business Intelligence that people have a much more difficult time seeing. When starting work with new clients, we see time and again situations where big opportunities to use BI-based solutions to problems are being missed. What are these companies doing wrong? The issue can be boiled down to the narrow way in which these technologies inside these companies. Broadening the way you apply BI tools (and broadening the types of problems you attack with them) can add immense value to your business and your PLM investment.  Here are a few things we talk about with our customers to help teach them how find these easy wins.

Don’t look for reports. Look for business problems

Ok, it’s a cliché, but I’ll start with it because it’s a bad habit that plays out every single day. Many opportunities are missed because people just don’t see certain things as “reporting issues.” I would be surprised if I said the words, “Could that be an integrated report?” anything less than 200 times last year as we talked through pain points and solutions with customers. And, in all but a handful of cases, that was indeed the best answer or at least the most practical answer to the issue. But, in each case, leveraging a BI-based solution had not been considered because the projected solution had already been cast as “an integration,” “a product gap,” or “a custom app.”

So many business issues and adoption pains are really about visibility when you get down to it—and that is what BI does best. The trick is throwing away the traditional bias about where and how you apply these tools. Sometime it’s an issue of not knowing what these tools can really do (past the standard stuff); more often it’s just not considering the more “creative” ways of applying these powerful technologies. Once people get the hang of solving problems this way, they quickly re-orient themselves and see opportunity everywhere!

Don’t wait

We’re fortunate to get the opportunity to advise a lot of customers on their PLM roadmaps to help them get value as quickly as possible. Often—as a start—they will show us their current plans. About 80% of the time, the plan has pushed much of the reporting or analytics needs later in the plan (and often as its own independent “follow-on” phase). The conventional wisdom seems to be, “Once we get done deploying a bunch of this stuff, then we can figure out what we want to pull out.” This is big mistake.

BI should not be some separate set of activities and requirements and definitely should not be deferred until the end. Not only does it postpone value unnecessarily, lack of investment in reporting and analytics early on creates a “value gap” for users that slows adoption. Your users want to see a “give and take” when they are asked to adopt new software solutions. Putting off investment in BI often leaves people feeling like they are being asked to do a lot of new things without a lot of visible payoff.

Make it seamless

Ideally, reporting should embedded, contextual (“1-click”), and invisible wherever possible. The idea that you go somewhere and “run a report” is antiquated and part of what limits the potential and appeal of these solutions. Sometimes the most valuable solutions we deliver are not seen as “reporting” by users. They often mistake them as customizations to the core application. It’s just an answer to a problem, and if designed properly it should be a totally natural extension to what they are doing.

“Thinking small” should be part of your BI strategy

These BI-based solutions don’t have to be large, or complex, or solve 50 different problems. They simply need to link an idea, fill a gap, provide context, show an insight, etc. I’ve seen very powerful BI output that simply pop up in HTML and contain about 6 pieces of information. While simple, the solution brought a critical piece of context from another system in a single click. When deployed, everyone immediately saw that this solution made perfect sense, but they had suffered with nothing for years because the business issue was initially categorized as “an integration need” and deferred. By thinking about the problem differently, it was solved in a day or so and at very low cost (with tools they already had in house).

Final Thought

So many issues are put off, lived with, or worked around when the answer is often pretty straightforward (if you change your point of view just a few degrees). We work with customers on a range of needs throughout the lifecycle of their software investments, and I can tell you that the effort and money spent on BI are often the most valuable. Seldom can you draw a line between the investment and the value as clearly as you can with a single BI asset. We’ve seen BI-driven solutions—some that take as little as a day to develop—turn whole business processes upside-down (in a good way!).

Come by the Verdant booth at OVCS (#104 in the PLM User Experience Area) and talk to us about PLM, Business Intelligence, Super Bowl commercials, or whatever else is on your mind. The Verdant Team and I would love to talk to you about your business.

Friday Jan 24, 2014

P4P Mobile Puts Key Product Information in the Palm of Your Hand

Kalypso is one of our PLM Premier Sponsors of the 2014 Oracle Value Chain Summit. Attending the Summit? Be sure to visit Kalypso at Booth #113 and learn more about what Kalypso has to offer in the guest blog below, authored by Daniela Ilieva, Oracle Practice Manager.


In today’s fast-paced life, tablets and smart phones have become an integral part of our daily existence and how we get work done. Agile PLM for Process (P4P) users are frequently traveling and on-the-go, but still need the ability to stay on top of their product specifications, suppliers and projects in order to maintain high levels of productivity and meet the demands of their businesses. While working on PLM implementation projects with clients in the process industries, Kalypso found these four common needs among PLM users:

  1. Product quality managers often need to view quality testing protocols and expected test results while testing materials at the receiving dock
  2. Development managers need to approve rush workflows while visiting potential suppliers
  3. Supplier quality analysts benefit from viewing current sourcing approval records, supplier documentation and quality performance while auditing a supplier facility
  4. Sales representatives foster more effective customer meetings and discussions if they can show specifications to customers when presenting new ingredients and products

Kalypso developed P4P Mobile to meet these business needs. P4P Mobile, now available for Apple iPad, provides:

  • Instantaneous and continuous access to product and supplier data
  • Intuitive, easy-to-learn interface for users trained on the full browser version of the P4P application
  • Ability to manage action items, review and workflow specification and sourcing approvals
  • Ability to add mobile browser compatible apps that can be configured into the application, such as PLM analytics

Check out a preview of P4P Mobile here. Want to learn more or be part of the P4P pilot pack using the app? Come see us in booth #113 at the Oracle Value Chain Summit and test it for yourself!

Thursday Jan 23, 2014

The Biggest Agile Installation Mistake Has Nothing to Do With Agile

Domain Systems is one of our PLM Preferred Sponsors of the 2014 Oracle Value Chain Summit. Attending the Summit? Be sure to visit Domain at Pod 117 and learn more about their expertise in the guest blog below.


Oracle Agile PLM is designed to be an out of the box solution insofar as setting up the infrastructure is concerned, which is why Agile is so popular with the world’s most successful brands. Installing or upgrading Agile PLM can be a very stressful project though--a lot is on the line. One of the biggest downfalls companies make when installing Agile PLM is mistaking the installation recommendations as not being part of out of the box functionality and flexibility Agile offers. In order to find the functional agility you are looking for, it is critical that you establish the best foundation possible for Agile PLM, and that is achieved by following the installation instructions. Where most companies deviate from the installation instructions:

1. Shared Server. Agile PLM prefers to have a stand-alone instance, or be on its own server. Most companies, who install Agile onto a shared server, won’t install the example software that drives the search functionality. This is just one technical reason why you need your own server. There are many other reasons.

2. Violating or Modifying Out of the Box Oracle Security Policies. We've seen some instances where customers modify out of the box security policies, and it prevents some accounts from having certain privileges. This can prevent Agile from starting or operating at an optimal level because Agile is designed to have a specific security level, but when installed, the accounts did not have the security levels that were required.

3. Poor Database Structure. Everyone wants to do things better. In this case, trust the recommendations when installing Oracle Database. This is critical to maintaining a solid data structure.

4. Overriding the Schema Installer. Let the schema installer do its job. Don't change what the schema installer wants to do. Our experience is that the companies that try to change this part of the process never end up having a good installation experience.

Follow these four in-the-box guidelines for installing Agile PLM, and you'll be much more likely to enjoy the out-of-the-box experience you are expecting.

Heading to the 2014 Oracle Value Chain Summit? Join Domain Systems for an after-hours party on Tuesday, February 4. Enjoy networking with other PLM professionals over craft beer, gourmet sausages and grilled cheese sandwiches and much more! Send an email to James Keddington to request an invitation.

Friday Jan 17, 2014

Agile PLM with Java 7u51

This week Oracle released Java 7 update 51.  Many Java users worldwide have automatically been updated to this version.  For Agile PLM 9.3.2 and 9.3.3, the security improvements in this Java release block running Java Client, GANTT, Advanced Productivity Components, and AutoVue.  We have released patches to address this issue.  Please review My Oracle Support KB articles Agile PLM 1615015.1 and AutoVue 1615032.1 to resolve issues with Java 7u51.

For a more positive note, I look forward to seeing many of you in a few weeks at Value Chain Summit!  This year registration will be open up until the conference, and we will also have onsite registration available!

Wednesday Jan 15, 2014

Four Vital Activities That Will Give Agile PLM a Healthy Life

Special guest blog by Domain Systems

We are all trying to get the best performance out of everything--out of our people, machinery, vendors...any investment, really. But some of us make the fatal mistake of exhausting our resources until they can no longer produce anything of value. We've all done "burners"--working through the night with no sleep in order to get a project done. At a time when most people are waking up, we are hoping for a third or fourth wind to get us through the next few hours. When we are young, we can do this many times a year with no real side effects. As we get older, these burners start to take a larger toll on our bodies, health and mental capabilities. The body needs sleep, as well as other important items such as food, water, emotional and mental stability. We can put these things off for a while and survive, but if we put them off too long, really bad things can happen.

Your Agile PLM software is no different. Your software and hardware are just like our bodies. They require certain (and quite simple) things for healthy operation, and if those are ignored for long periods of time, your Agile PLM system will shut down. What is really painful to see is that a lot of companies purposely put aside regular maintenance activities in the name of productivity, until it is too late. The cost can sometimes result in millions of dollars of downtime, scrap and high-priced emergency fixes. In order to maintain your Agile PLM implementation, here are four vital activities that will give your Agile PLM implementation a healthy life:

1. Back up every day. This really should go without saying. If you like your data, and your data is important to your business--make a copy and keep that copy secure.

2. Schedule routine maintenance windows. At a minimum, these should be monthly. If you run a lot of transactions, you might want to schedule these twice a month. We know that down time can sometimes mean lost money, and in this day and age of 24/7 availability, it can be difficult to find a convenient time for this. However, this is one of those things that you just need to schedule. If you don't, your system will decide on its own to take down time when it can no longer survive without it, and most likely at the most inconvenient time for you, when it will cost you the most money to get it back up and running. A company who refuses to schedule routine maintenance windows is like having a policy against putting gas in your car until you are on empty. It is just not smart.

3. Run Averify. Averify is a tool that checks for conflicts in data integrity caused by upgrades, user errors and software defects. Typically, this takes less than an hour. Of course, each company and set up is different, so yours could be longer. But less than an hour is what most companies should expect.

4. Check your table spaces for room. When you run out of room is typically when potentially irreversible bad things can happen, like overwritten or corrupted data. When this happens, Agile PLM will crash.

If you follow these four steps, Agile PLM will run better, smoother, with less errors and you are less likely to have a crash that you can't recover from. Don't treat your Agile PLM system like you treated your 19-year old self--treat it like your grandma. Give it the care and attention it deserves, and if you do, you'll get all the PLM cookies you want and more!


Domain Systems is a Certified Oracle Gold Partner, and the only partner to work solely with Agile PLM. Domain Systems provides all services related to Agile PLM including installations, upgrades, data migration, business process consulting and the development of process extensions and adapters. Check out Domain Systems at www.domainsi.com.

 

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