The old adage “to fail to plan is to plan to fail” is certainly true when it comes to something as important as installing engineering document management (EDM) software. Research by Jim Brown of Tech-Clarity shows it is possible to achieve EDM implementation benefits rapidly by following a few key rules:
- Use preconfigured best practices for security, part numbering, and other common information standards;
- When possible, use standard workflows such as “release to manufacture” and “engineering change control;”
- Limit initial customization; evaluate customization needs after full initial implementation and training.
As important as it is to minimize initial customization, no EDM system out of the box will offer an exact fit for every company. Many companies have workflows which evolved over years or decades; these processes do not need to be eliminated just because of automation. Other companies need customization to help unify far-flung engineering offices and long supply chains.
Synergis has installed Adept at more than 1,000 sites, including many Fortune 500 manufacturers with thousands of seats as well as at leading engineering services companies in many industries. The Synergis implementation team has developed methodology that maximizes client ROI by combining fast-start initial use with long-term productivity gains.
The EDM implementation services process at Synergis is a three-step set of best practices: Implementation, Training, and Support. All three bring perfect balance to the organization; remove one and the result is a constant balancing act to stay upright.
Implementation sets the stage
The average installation of Synergis Adept takes between four and ten days to reach initial full productivity. If that sounds fast, it is. Equivalent competitive systems can take weeks. Software installation and Administrator training come first, followed by one, two, or a few days for Planning and Design. The final steps are legacy document import and user training.
Cloud systems brag about one-day implementation, but that is only for the rudimentary OOTB (Out Of The Box) experience. Nobody on the market can deliver a fine-tuned implementation OOTB, and they never will, because existing in-house best practices are never going away. The Adept approach is an efficient and low-risk entry into the benefits of EDM.
Training removes the barriers to excellence
It is a waste of time to install detailed software like Adept but then not adequately train the people who will use it every day. It is like buying an expensive piece of equipment and failing to maintain it. If people truly are your organization’s most important asset, training is essential to ensure success. (If you need background on doing an ROI analysis on training, check out a great article by researcher Clive Shepherd.)
Training does more than improve time on process and adherence to process. It reduces the total cost of ownership by reducing time to market and increasing quality in every step of the manufacturing or construction process.
Synergis offers three separate training modules. There is the initial Administrator training, mentioned above. It is usually done in advance of software installation. There is ongoing User training, available on-site, at Synergis headquarters, or by attending the regular series of Adept Webinars. There is also API (Application Programming Interface) training, so that staff members can do customizations on-site.
Services for ongoing benefit
Synergis uses a developer-direct model for ongoing services. The specialists you reach out to are not just customization professionals, they are also members of the team creating Adept. This is unusual for a product like Adept. Most competitors are phasing out ongoing services, farming it out to companies that only do installation and customization. Synergis prefers to keep it in-house, because many of the best ideas for new features come from tight relationships between Adept developers and Adept users. A developer-direct relationship also means Adept users have direct access to Synergis senior management.
The trifecta of well-planned initial engagement, comprehensive training, and developer-direct relationships for ongoing services makes Adept unique in the EDM/PDM/PLM industry.
Randall S. Newton is the principal analyst and managing director at Consilia Vektor, a consulting firm serving the engineering software industry. He has been directly involved in engineering software in a number of roles since 1985. More information is available at https://www.linkedin.com/in/randallnewton.