In his CM: the Next Generation series, Joe Farah gives us a glimpse into the trends that CM experts will need to tackle and master based upon industry trends and future technology challenges.
(2) Easy to incrementally add customizations. This is not a lot different from the previous one, but the fact is, your needs are going to change. Not only that, but you might want to start using your new solution before it's fully customized to meet all of your current requirements. In both cases, you'll need to customize your solution incrementally. Ideally, you can create a customization, apply it, and roll it back if it creates unwanted side-effects. If you have to take your user base off line when you do a customization, you'll either be working a lot of late hours, or reduce your customization flexibility. On top of that, consider the case where you have your process and tools replicated over multiple sites. Ideally you can make a change to all sites at the same time. Better yet, you can use your CM tool as the repository for your customizations so that when a change is made, it is replicated at all of the sites.
(3) Integration of data and user Interface. The customization of process is going to be very difficult if your CM data is scattered among several repositories and/or if your user interface is different for each part of the process. Yes the buttons and actions are going to be different, but if you need different tool-level expertise to customize each of the different management areas, you'll have a greater learning curve and a higher potential for error. Look for a single user interface across your ALM functions. And look for a single repository that can handle data revisions as well as file revisions across all functions.
This seems like a bit of work or maybe even a lot of work. OK, it could be a huge effort. The good news is that most of this has already been done. You don't have to start from scratch. There are consultants and vendors out there that can help you. They've been there before and their experience is really priceless. Trial and error, learning from your mistakes, is a great way to learn, as long as it's not at the expense of your product team. It does not have to be an expensive proposition. In fact, because you're making everyone's job easier and increasing product quality, it's well worth the investment. If you can't convince management to invest, keep marching. Take smaller steps and make the improvements to your current solution that will provide the biggest benefits to the greatest number of people.
But if you're the one making the improvements, you might want to make improvements that give you more time first!