_________, Process and Technology

By Christian Kelley

The people side of PLM seems to be the theme today.  Alfred Katzebach from Daimler commented in his keynote that one of the projects was not so much an IT project as it was a project focused on people, specifically getting them to work differently.  Picking up on that theme in the Teamcenter track was Michaal Berkowitz from Elbit Systems Electro-Optics Elop Ltd.  Elbit is a system house responsible for all of Israel’s electro-optic defense systems: everything from lasers and thermal imaging to heads up displays.  As you can imagine, there are a wide range of disciplines at work amongst Elbit’s 1400 employees, more than 50% of which are scientists, engineers or software developers.

Elbit started a project to move from a very expansive PDM system to a PLM system.  Some of you may have to read that last sentence twice.  Go ahead…I’ll wait.  I know it may come as a shock, but its not just the industry who makes it a point to differentiate between PDM and PLM – users see the difference too!

There were over 1,000 users of the legacy PDM system and all of them were moved over a long holiday to the new PLM system.  Michal didn’t spend her time talking about code migration or server provisioning.  Rather she focused on the needs of those >1,000 users.

She developed a three stage plan:

  • First, 30 champions were selected from organizations throughout the company.  They got special badges and training to understand the changes and what the benefits to the company and the individual user would be.  This put people close to the users who were already supportive of the change.
  • Next, a training plan was developed that divided the user base into two groups.  The first group was composed of those that were involved in critical workflow functions in the legacy system.  Those users received training on how to get their job done in the new system 2 weeks  before the new system went live!  Why so close?  Because Elbit didn’t want users to forget what they had learned by lack of use.  The second group of user training was given to the rest of the company after the switch over was complete.  This training was divided into 3 sets of modules: one for content creators, one for workflow users and one for viewers.  In all over 180 hours of training class material was developed for the 3 modules.  In the end, 92% of the targeted users successfully completed the program – an astounding number to anyone who has had to conduct an IT training program before.
  • Lastly,  Michal coordinated the deployment of a 5 tier support model, starting with the Champions, then a phone helpdesk, a set of students employed to be system experts, then ELOP PLM Experts and lastly ELBIT PLM Experts.  Once this structure was in place, the calls were closely monitored to determine what sorts of issues were coming up – this in turn helped guide several preventative maintenance updates and additional training.

Michal and Elbit provide a great example of where to focus your energies as well as the specifics you should cover in your project plan for any migration – whether it’s 10 users or 10,000.

Technorati Tags: plmeurope08,siemensplm

Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at