ALM-PLM: Breaking Barriers in Software, Hardware Development

By MichaelH1

The adoption of software is a new complexity that is forcing many organizations straight into a sink or swim scenario, as it’s an emerging experience for manufacturers. Industries don’t have a choice, as they must navigate these new challenges, or risk being left behind by competitors.

In the past, it wasn’t uncommon that management of product development and software development processes were siloed away from one another.

Where we Came From

As software becomes significantly more important, Polarion has worked to make the siloes around ALM and PLM erode at a faster pace. Simply put, PLM software has proven to be ineffective to address the different needs of software development. PLM is focused on physical production, while ALM addresses software code, requirement documents, and other software-related artifacts

Companies that traditionally relied on PLM systems, such as organizations in the automotive industry, tried to turn to PLM to help meet changing needs – but PLM isn’t efficient for software development, due to hastening changes made to software. To put it in perspective, a “car is 60 percent metal and 40 percent of its value is in its software/electronics” – and product recalls prove to be a time consuming and expensive event.

This dictated the adoption of two siloed and separated development environments, further increasing the cultural gap between hardware and software engineers.

It’s now possible to allow team members to collaborate, with increased focus on product compliance and regulatory mandates (as more resources are freed from systems development problems).

Appeal of Unified ALM-PLM

However, unified ALM-PLM [visit Polarion ALM-PLM] is emerging at the perfect time, as software and products are becoming more complex, sometimes interrupting integration for software and mechanical engineers.

That is why the implementation of an ALM solution, such as Polarion ALM, have close integration with PLM products. There is no need to overwhelm engineers with data they find irrelevant, but they will still have access to proper product content in their domain.

Polarion Leading the Change

Software is easier to change than manufactured hardware, and many more changes take place during development and after product launch. As such, ALM is an essential solution for manufacturing software-rich products – and real-time end-to-end lifecycle traceability, visibility, and team collaboration must not be ignored.

The adoption of an holistic ALM-PLM platform provides a single, cohesive product development ecosystem, with multi-directional linking of all ALM and PLM data and processes. Expect to see software and hardware teams work in a more homogenous manner, as industries work to integrate software with hardware during product development.

Some benefits provided by ALM-PLM integration:

  • Visibility across all assets

  • Accurately link firmware with hardware

  • Traceability of assets for engineers across all lifecycle phases

  • Support maintenance, repair and operations

ALM-PLM gives users a cohesive solution so they’re able to collaborate and exchange ideas throughout engineering departments: electrical, software, mechanical, systems, and other divisions.

For example, the Polarion ALM-Siemens Teamcenter extension integrates software engineering directly into the PLM lifecycle – providing traceability from requirements all the way to software deliveries. This successful integration between ALM and PLM allows for a cohesive system development solution available to our customers.

Final Thoughts

The need of convergence of ALM and PLM isn’t necessarily new, but many engineers struggled to find a successful integration between ALM and PLM. This fragmentation prevented a cohesive systems development that didn’t give workers access to a real collaboration platform.

As products become more complex, more products mix a blend of different technologies that require stronger cohesion – think of the electronic, electrical, and mechanical challenges of even the simplest connected devices. There are challenges and hurdles, but Polarion is available to assist in bridging the gap – and combining ALM and PLM – so your organization is able to succeed.

The proper unification of ALM-PLM offers benefits of existing hardware and software management, bringing them together to tools and processes.

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