4 Reasons Why You Need Out-of-the-Box PLM

Written By: Kevin Wrenn
  • 11/15/2018

When choosing between an out-of-the-box (OOTB) solution and a solution that you must fully customize, you need to ask yourself: Are you in the business of building great products for your customers or are you in the business of customizing your PLM system? It is very easy to fall for the fantasy of having a complete, customizable PLM solution, but many organizations are blinded by the promises of custom solution providers and fail to understand the pitfalls. 

The temptation to use Microsoft Excel or “open source” template-based PLM solutions is understandable. As engineers, we tend to think that the best way to accomplish our goals is to do it ourselves. It becomes almost irresistible to try and solve your companies most pressing problems this way given that there are literally no guardrails and the never-ending promise of free upgrades. That all sounds great, even a little bit too good to be true.  Organizations quickly learn that custom PLM solutions become brittle disasters of poor performance, incompatibility, security breaches, and more, bringing top engineering teams to their knees. 

Here are four reasons why you should choose an OOTB PLM solution over of a fully-customized one.

1. Embedded Wisdom 

If you build something customized – you must build capabilities that otherwise would be part of an OOTB solution. OOTB has “embedded wisdom” in it – capabilities that have been evolved with thousands of customers and best practices. OOTB solution providers consistently update their products to incorporate years of customer and industry collaboration.

2. Adaptation and Anticipation

A custom solution is great if your business never changes. However, an all-too common problem with custom solutions is that what works for you right now won’t necessarily work for you tomorrow. For example, configuration-specific augmented reality (AR) might be nice-to-have now, but in five years, your customers could be demanding your products have it… and your five-year old custom solution might not have the architecture to support it. An OOTB solution would already consider new trends before they become requirements and can invest more developing for a broad base than you otherwise could for just your company. In five years from now, when your custom solution is out of date, will you still have the same experts around that built it? Custom solutions require you to maintain a critical mass of expertise on how you built your solution vs. OOTB, where the responsibility belongs to the vendor. With OOTB, you can remain cutting edge. 

3. Save Money and Increase Time to Value

Almost by definition, a custom solution drains more time, resources, and money than an out-of-the-box solution. Custom solution vendors claim to have faster deployment but that doesn’t include creating custom applications which can take away from what really should be your company’s focus, which is making great products. By not using company resources to build custom applications, you are able to drive value to your organization right away. A faster deployment means you get started faster, which can help you beat out your competitors. After all, enterprise class solutions aren’t built out of toolkits. It’s the same reason why people prefer to buy prebuilt furniture instead of nails, saws, and lumber (again, we’re saving ourselves from unnecessary sweat and tears).

4. Configure as Needed

You can get the best of both worlds with an out-of-the-box PLM solution that can still be configurable to meet your needs.  OOTB solution providers can anticipate what features and capabilities that customers will want to vary – and have corresponding configurations available.  Likewise, working with such a wide range of industry players gives solution vendors the insight into customers’ unique needs and enables them to build-in forward-compatible customization options such as REST APIs.  

Don’t paint yourself into a corner with a custom PLM solution.  Custom PLM may serve you well for a few years, but then you’re stuck while your OOTB-based competition quickly and efficiently adapts. Don’t let your competition get ahead of you while you are busy customizing your PLM solution. Click here to learn more about PTC’s out-of-the-box PLM solutions.


  • Windchill
  • Digital Transformation
  • Electronics and High-Tech
  • PLM

About the Author

Kevin Wrenn

Kevin Wrenn is the divisional general manager of PTC's PLM segment. He is responsible for driving the business strategy, executing go-to-market and product lifecycle activities, and delivering customer success. Kevin redefined PTC's PLM strategy, implemented a new operational framework with the worldwide sales force tor targeting and managing pipeline-building activities, delivered key new capabilities such as PLM in the PTC Cloud and ThingWorx Navigate, and has managed relationships with key customers including John Deere, and VW. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Boston University.