Can You Still benefit from Agile PLM in 2023?

The Agile PLM platform is a powerful, proven, flexible solution to PLM needs. It’s been around in one form or another since the early 2000’s and provides extensive product development solutions for many industries. It is deployed via modules of use which can be implemented separately to execute various business functional requirements tailored to a client’s specific needs.

In 2017, Oracle introduced a Release Update Pack “RUP” approach to improving Agile PLM – essentially as a bug-fix solution set with “as-necessary” feature additions for only the then latest two active versions of Agile. It was announced that Agile 9.3.5 and 9.3.6 would be scheduled to end premier support in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Since then, Premier Support was extended to August 2025. The timing for extended support is undetermined. Also on the horizon is the somewhat mythical 9.3.7. This once, and maybe currently, promised release is estimated to arrive sometime in 2024 and is promised to be in full premier support until 2029.

One could properly assume that on-premise Agile PLM could remain a viable solution for those already using it and resisting the change to the cloud well into 2030. The cost such a choice imposes depends on the client and what each thinks is the cost of not moving to next-generation critical applications in their company. The graphic below illustrates varying pain levels related to the need to update to new PLM software.

PLM Pain Scale


If your choice is to continue using Agile, then let’s make the most of it!

Before discussing those things, which can be done to improve Agile usage, know that prudence dictates the urgency for a plan to migrate to next-gen software so that the move is smooth and most productive when that time comes. Time and money will be saved, sometimes a lot of it!

Using Agile PLM Better

Too often, clients purchase and implement only a primary or initial function or module of PLM. Initial implementations may not fully address the needs of an organization. This creates a wish list or “should haves” that reflect the lack of having a better solution in place.

Do any of these sound familiar:What Problem?

“We just need to get off these spreadsheets and automate the product development process…” or “Information is not being moved between design and manufacturing, the process is broken…” or “Our current system is sluggish, people are working around it, defeating its purpose and creating breakdowns…” or “If only we could manage the new product introduction as a project with the ability to draw in products on work we’ve already done, we could save a bunch of time” or “I know we’re at risk if we were audited by our OEM; we’re just not complying with the security and document capture requirements” and on and on.

When the initial need is met, pressure is off and life proceeds as usual. Forethought for improvement is always in the background, but day-to-day bonfires take precedence, and the initiative gets put off indefinitely. Soon, all thoughts disappear until enough pain is felt once again to make the change. It’s a self-defeating cycle. What are the hard and soft costs of not self-improving? An honest assessment will usually indicate they are significant!

Additionally, many face the “I don’t know what I don’t know (but I should)” syndrome. Improvement and savings come from reaching out to those who do know, and constantly evaluating and changing to take advantage of the available tools.

Common Areas to Realize Greater Return on a Client’s Enterprise Investment

Workflow Efficiency

Workflow, along with lifecycle management, is fundamental to PLM. These changes can improve with organizational change. When paired with industry best practices, and efficiently tied to connecting applications such as ERP, SCM, and MES, control is ensured, as well as accuracy in information across the supply chain from design through manufacturing.

The proper configuration ensures best practice, decreases the time to market of a product, and minimizes errors all while capturing information for continued improvement of a client’s processes. When compliance and quality are critical to a workflow, understanding the industry vertical is key to the configuration and design of workflows and lifecycles.

Examination of the data within a system allows information to be accessed and pared to the right need at the right time with proper reporting all along the way. Configuration includes capturing existing and new data into the data objects.

Auditing and creating new workflows means keeping it simple. Unnecessary steps, or steps once needed but that are now antiquated by the introduction of a new process, application, or industry direction change can create clutter that bogs systems down.

The following client workflows are examples of areas to examine for audit and improvement. Examining workflow steps, properties, information, trigger points, integration steps, and more may bring any issues to light.

General Activity









Doc Handling




Problem Reports

Stop Ships


Security Models

The need to protect the product development and lifecycle processes from internal and external threats, and even cybercrime, is critical and should be ongoing. Security in PLM means only allowing defined access to the right role at the right time, at the right step in the workflow.

PLM properly configured and/or customized provides security solutions that are reliable, while easily being deployed and maintained across the lifecycle management processes. Depending on the industry vertical requirements, you can also implement advanced procedures like export control (ITAR), non-disclosure agreements, and supplier security. Also important to an audit is the alignment of information protection and user access requirements with advanced security protocols for application and IT infrastructure to safeguard your most valuable product information and protect contractual relationships.

Performance improvements

System performance tends to drag down over time. This can be anything from missing the latest software patches/fixes to accumulated errors in the database. Agile PLM, for example, has an internal tool called Averify meant to verify the integrity of the underlying database schema. Averify will report back accumulated errors that must be fixed, usually via supplied scripts and sometimes manually. Ignoring these errors risks the overall health and performance of the application and its data.

A complete review for improvement examines all related installed software, license use, developed customizations, SSL needs/configuration, replicated file locations and usage, technical integration points, and more.

Full PLM Module Usage

There are five primary modules a company can implement to fully take advantage of what Agile PLM has to offer. They are:

Agile Product Collaboration (PC) - Management and collaboration of product record information throughout the product lifecycle, across internal organizations, and the extended supply chain. Accessed through Web Client and Java Client.

Agile Product Governance & Compliance (PG&C) - Management and tracking of all substances and materials contained by any item or manufacturer part, allowing companies to meet substance restrictions and reporting requirements, design recyclable products, minimize compliance costs, and eliminate noncompliance on future products. Accessed through Web Client.

Agile Product Portfolio Management (PPM) - Integration of program and product information, streamlining business processes across the product lifecycle and across a portfolio of programs. Accessed through Web Client.

Agile Product Quality Management (PQM) - Integration of customer, product, quality, and regulatory information with a closed-loop corrective action system. Accessed through Web Client and Java Client.

Agile Product Cost Management (PCM) - Management of product costs across the product lifecycle and synchronization of product cost data and processes. Accessed through Web Client.

Agile Recipe & Material Workspace (RMW) - Management of biotechnological and pharmaceutical products, and improvement of business productivity, visibility, scientific outcomes, and proactive compliance during the product development lifecycle. Accessed through Web Client. For more information, see Agile PLM Getting Started with Recipe & Material Workspace.

Most implementations of Agile PLM include Product Collaboration. All too often, these modules are owned but they’re sitting on a shelf, un-implemented. Utilization of the others can be intermittent which can result in lost productivity and improved quality. Which do you own? Which do you think you need to own and what are you losing by not employing them?

Reduce IT Costs

As organizations continue to scale back their IT budgets and face the challenge of doing more with less, a hosting model becomes increasingly inviting.

PLM hosting helps reduce initial costs as well as ongoing costs of management, reduced impact on resources, and quicker and easier access to new product features and updates.

Designed to effectively leverage the latest technology to fully support your PLM-related business, hosting Agile services allows reliability twenty-four hours a day and satisfies users who always require immediate access to their Oracle/Agile PLM solution.

Product Quality Improvement

Rapid and reliable corrective action and preventive action (CAPA) processes are essential to maintaining regulatory compliance and improving the quality of a product. Too many organizations struggle to establish an effective product quality management process. Information about product quality can be decentralized and inconsistent. There may be different locations, business units, and departments that use completely separate processes to communicate and resolve product deficiencies. The risk is a cost in increased warranty and service costs each year.

There is a huge benefit when companies can analyze product quality issues which can drive improved design early in the development process. Agile PLM, properly configured can provide a collaborative environment across the extended enterprise where teams dynamically update, access, and analyze information about product quality internally, and with customers as well as suppliers.


By reviewing and creating a plan, Agile PLM owners can extend their investment in the software. If Oracle continues to offer premier support in this software, it remains an indication that there are many uses still benefiting and utilizing this mature and proven product. Additional returns can be had by fine-tuning and the increased utilization of each module. Current processes can still be modeled and improved. What is often misunderstood is that these improvements, while some may require dollar outlays – save money over a short timeframe – sometimes many times the cost effort of initially putting something in place. Additional time can be bought to create a more seamless plan for future PLM application offerings in the cloud which will eventually compel companies to make the change to next-generation PLM applications.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Domain Systems. The author takes full responsibility for the views expressed here.
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