SaaS PLM – New, Complex, Expensive?

Last week I had healthy debates with one of my blog readers about different options to deploy PLM for the small manufacturing companies. Here is the part of this conversation

[…yet SaaS PLM presents a difficult decision for most engineering managers. “Do I want to have my company data hosted off-site or on-site?” The primary reason for answering “yes” is the perceived complexity of managing a PLM on-site. So we directly address that complexity, and give them a simple product – available as a subscription, if that’s also an important benefit – which lets them keep their mission-critical data under their direct control. I’m sure it won’t shock you that we also have a web page devoted to the on-site versus off-site debate: http://www.buyplm.com/best-plm-software-license-decision.aspx …]

I recommend you to have a look of PDXExpert PLM website and make your opinion. The following passage is actually very interesting:

SaaS is new & complex… and complexity is expensive. On-demand PLM moves your product data into an off-site facility with out-sourced IT resources. The PLM application service provider (ASP) lets you to rent, rather than buy, your software as a service (“SaaS”). Your data is hosted off-site (in the “cloud”) where details like physical location, update schedules and network infrastructure are hoped to be irrelevant.

My experience with cloud applications in consumer space is slightly different. Almost all my moves to “cloud-base” option was driven by reducing of complexity. I can bring some, pretty obvious, examples. Migration from Microsoft Office to Google App allowed me to reduce a complexity of dealing with Microsoft Outlook, to forget about the complexity of handling Outlook pst and other local files. My files and emails are available now for every device in a seamless manner. Another case is Evernote. Previously, I used Microsoft Office tools. Evernote allowed me to capture notes simultaneously on multiple devices, synchronize them between devices and making them available for me at anytime. My last example is dropbox. I’m using dropbox for short time file sharing and exchange information between different devices. USB stick was a previous solution. Now, I can drop a stick in favor ofDropbox. No hassle, I shouldn’t care about USB sticks, viruses coming from Windows and can access it from multiple devices.

What is my conclusion today? The idea of SaaS is not new. We used to call it ASP, Hosted, OnDemand… Today it comes as SaaS. Some PLM vendors tried this option before with more and less success. Can we make a conclusion about SaaS PLM cases today? I think, it is still too early to drive a simple decision. Massive influence of consumer internet software, in my view, will influence individual and company decision makers towards SaaS solution. I’m interested to know what is your opinio and experience.

Best, Oleg

*Picture credit of The Hindu.

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