Today, we’re living in a world highly enabled by digital technologies. They have become an integral part of our world, both professional and personal. That doesn’t mean, however, that we’ve completely let go of more antiquated methods of running product development. Understanding the extent of which more advanced technologies are used to enable development projects and processes was one of the objectives of The PLM Study. With all that said, this finding provides some insight into the answer to that question.

Note: For this finding, executing development projects and processes refers to design reviews and approvals, design release, change management and project and program management.


Given the results, there are a few takeaways that stand out.

  • One quarter of all respondents are using paper forms, either exclusively or alongside other technologies, to execute product development. This represents a considerable risk when you think about the inherent flaws of using a paper based process, including the possibility of losing forms. Even a move to exclusively using basic digital technologies, such as email and desktop applications, would be an improvement in this regard.
  • Only one-fifth of small businesses (less than $10M in revenue) are using enterprise systems, even alongside other technologies. This is a strong clue that the right sized solution has not been exposed to those smaller businesses as of yet. Could this change with more and more PLM systems moving to the cloud?
  • Most large organizations (over $1.25B in revenue) are using some kind of enterprise system, which could include PLM, ERP or others, to execute their projects and processes. However, many of these companies are using these technologies alongside basic digital technologies like email and desktop applications.
  • A good portion of all companies are still running their processes on email and desktop applications. This represents a risk to executing processes with lower rates of problems and issues.