One of the really fascinating aspects of covering the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) applications market is seeing PLM’s value and relevancy for new industries and companies outside of PLM’s manufacturing-centric heritage. The fact is, effective management of product data is vital to the product development process regardless of whether you are designing physical widgets stamped out from a plant or coding software-based product offerings as part of your services business. Moreover, PLM in the services industries is clearly growing despite the unprecedented economic woes in the last year; check out this recent year-over-year survey data I pulled from Forrester’s Business Data Services enterprise & SMB software survey Q4 ’09 vs. Q4 ’08:

Based on 127+ respondents from the financial services sector, the data clearly shows significantly greater investment plans for PLM in late 2009 than existed in late 2008 — even though most IT budgets are still frozen and the global economic recovery remains fiercely under debate. So why this jump? My take, is that some of the new regulatory and market requirements in banking — such as changes in overdraft fee policies and new credit card legislation — are forcing banks to take a hard look at how they create new product offerings today and in particular all the costs and complexity associated with just trying to monitor and maintain regulatory requirements — not to mention re-bundling or other product innovations as a way to increase revenues. So although managing product lifecycles in financial services organizations is wildly different in terms of the product structure, PLM apps are getting more attention to help manage & rationalize the overwhelming product data complexity, reduce time & costs required to build and test new products, and reduce errors during product launch & improve regulatory compliance.

Interesting in talking more about this topic with your industry peers? I’ll be speaking at an upcoming Executive Roundtable on “Product Agility — The Right Product at the Right Price for the Right Customer: Rethinking Product Development and Bundling” on March 09, 2010 in New York, NY — I’d love to see you there.