Stuck PLM Project and Leo Tolstoy

Stuck PLM Project and Leo Tolstoy

I read a very short post from Aras by Jennifer McCullough of ArasFrustrated by a Stuck PLM Project?. The whole purpose of this blog is to point on the link to Stuck PLM page on Aras’ website. The Aras website is talking about license cost frustration, uncovered functionality and a problem to grow with limited budget. At the same time, it promises results.

Does it mean Aras engineers invented “Perpetuum Mobile”? No, I don’t think so. Aras engineers are making software. Aras business wizards decided to delay a painful moment of license’s fees to a later time and wrap it differently. It seems to be smart. They probably made homework in Chris Anderson’s Sunday school about the power of “FREE“. The Aras’ Stuck PLM Project story reminded my Anna Karenina roman by Leo Tolstoy. “All happy families are happy alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way“. PLM marketing wizards are telling stories about “happy PLM implementations”. These stories are all the same. I think, the real implementation stories become more popular. The most interesting PLM implementation stories are about how to use a diverse set of tools to handle product development processes. When / If we will come to these stories, we have a chance to get back and talk about what tools we need to turn these stories into PLM happy stories.

What is my conclusion? Aras’ case in PLM is interesting. The important point is a sequence of events. Aras business managers are trying to put a carriage before horses. Will it work? A good question to ask. When you keep something in your hands, you can decide to give it away for free. Can it re-build a trust of potential customers frustrated from previous PLM experience? I think, it depends on what is next. If a quality of tools is good, and you have a right “set of expectations”, you can have a decent PLM free ride. You need to make it sustainable. If I need “a commute car”, I will never take an advantage of the entertainment system in the back of my limousine. If my “commute car” stack, I don’t need entertainment neither. How to have right tools to get a job done- this is a right question to ask these days. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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  • Graham Mccall

    I think the arguments are slightly more nuanced than your post suggests. For me the enterprise open source/subscription model (as exemplied by Aras) model has a couple of really key financial benefits for the purchaser that really are worth exploring.. I agree this has to be predicated on an assumption that any new PLM technology is also top notch (I am persuaded of that fact in the case of Aras but people should make their own minds up..
    These benefits are..
    1. Financial risk is reduced because the investment profile more closely aligns to productivity gain. This has another beneficial effect articulated in the next point.
    2. Time to Value (the point at which one can start to expect the financial value of productivity gains to have paid down the investment and gone positive) is moved to the left. In other words, earlier payback.
    As usual a picture paints a thousand words and these points are better illustrated in the following graphic..

  • Dgeorge83616

    I agree with Graham. There are two advantages to the Aras model:
    1. Choice
    2. Access

    The choice is that the user has the choice to modify the tool. This one might not work out if Aras engineers manage to corner the market on development. It may simply be too expensive for anyone else to change the tool in a significant way. No development is cost free but if only a few have the skills to perform development the cost will be very high. Aras can avoid this by helping freelancers succeed (I’m avoiding the term “developer community” because it connotes altruistic voluntarism).

    Access is really key. There are really no re-only users of a PLM. The system will work best when every participant has the ability to add information. This is where the per-seat licensing kills itself because it isn’t cost effective for everyone to have a license.

  • MarcL

    Couldn’t agree more with your post and Dgeorge3616 and Graham summarize really well, especially like Graham’s post on PLM Time to Value.

    Seems like your post focuses primarily on the financial road blocks that can create a Stuck PLM situation. I think there are a lot of other factors that can be to blame as well, don’t you think?

    I went ahead and blogged my TOP 10 List, can see it at


  • beyondplm

    Graham, thanks for commenting! You are right, when you pay less in the beginning, you can reduce your risk. However, finance is only one risk. Another important point is how to achieve “granularity” in solution development, since one size doesn’t fit all in manufacturing organizations. Just my thoughts… Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Dgeorge, Thank you for comments! I think both choice and access are important. However, this is not the exclusive characteristic of Aras. What is unique is the combination of these characteristics with “reverse pricing” strategy. “Freelancers”, as a community, can make Aras model sustainable. This is very typical for open-source-like model. If you got your community, you can win customers and market. First, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Marc, thanks for your insight! I will follow up your top 10 :)… Best, Oleg

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