Breaking Down the "L" in PLM

I have seen and heard all kinds of different descriptions of what PLM (Process Lifecycle Management) is. They usually end up way too complex with lifecycle being the primary hangup. Lets make it simple:

Process - A series of steps that need to occur

Lifecycle - A time based measure of the process (What steps can occur when)

Management - A way to control something

So by my way of thinking, Lifecycles are nothing more than a way to define what should happen at a specific point in time in a process.

Autodesk's Vault Workgroup and Collaboration fit into this category of engineering tools, and the Lifecycle part is a key to the latest Autodesk data management offerings. The Vault solutions allow you to configure as many lifecycle schemes as necessary for your different processes. Each lifecycle scheme can then have as many lifecycle states as you need to define a process. The great thing about a lifecycle state is that it controls exactly who can access a document and what they can do with it.

I have also heard it described as "allowing the right people to access the right documents at the right time" in reference to the latest Vault products.

Contributed by Ben of the CAD Geeks