SaaS, On Demand, Cloud Services… Who is not speaking about these cool future capabilities these days. So, I was thinking what will be future of PLM On Demand. If you feel yourself not familiar with SaaS concepts, I’d recommend you to check this excellent video:
History of PLM related on demand services included few companies and products such as Arena Solutions (former bom.com), Windchill hosted by IBM and Agile Advantage. Regardless to what was success of these PLM on demand initiatives, I see them as a significant try to build hosted services available to a wide user audience. They presented first PLM trial on the SaaS/On Demand roadmap. Outside of PLM, amount of SaaS products is significantly bigger. From famous Salesforce.com and to many half-known and unknown products and companies building solution on top of available web platforms.
Looking back on what was done before in PLM products on demand, I see one common characteristic. All these products have tried to build solid product offering hosted for use on a web platform, (or how we call it today on the cloud). In my view, it was straightforward replication of software concepts developed as part of PLM portfolio for the last 10-15 year. However, how these concepts fit our today understanding of web as a platform. Or, saying differently, should we take a proven concept of packaged application development for PLM and apply it to the field of SaaS or OnDemand Application?
When I’m looking on the SaaS definitions and SOA, I can see trend toward more granular service development. These services are not necessarily providing an end-to-end business process or functionality, but provide a piece of functionality you can do plug-in and use in your product, another service or just implementation in the field. This is something that looks like an a little bit different concept. Instead of development fully featured packages, we will provide a set of services that can be plumbed together by solution providers, service companies or even end users. Such approach can be very beneficial, especially when you think how to provide mixed set of products, application and services in organization. Part of them will be introduced as traditional packaged applications and part of them will be a new set of PLM cloud services.
Following such conceptual idea, what type of services I can imagine? In my view first set of services need to focus on particular functionality and not on something that store/manage product IP. Since organizations are very sensitive in the way they perceive “cloud” together with ability to infringe their IP, to provide services that allow to work on IP located inside of companies will lower entrance barrier to these applications. My suggestion to the first set of services will be around viewing and different types of collaborations such as co-editing, review. Another interesting approach can be set of process applications (i.e. for change management) especially in case of multiple application environment.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find any example of such services in company portfolios today. Nevertheless, I wanted to present you an idea of composition between on premise application and cloud services. Please, take a look on the following, very impressive, in my view, example of combination of CRM-type of application and Google Map services.
I’d be interested to discuss your ideas about how you see possible to introduce cloud services for different PLM domains and how possible to introduce it in your organization.
Thank you, Oleg