PLM, Google and Cloud Babysitting…

PLM, Google and Cloud Babysitting…

I’m continuing to think about Amazon cloud failure. As you may have noticed, the “cloud” is a frequent topic on my blog. I’ve been talking about the cloud with many people and organizations during the last couple of years and learning what are best practices in delivery of stable cloud solutions with a high level of availability. To avoid failure, the tick is redundancy. When one of your cloud servers fail, you need to make a switch. You would prefer this switch happens automatically. However, in most cases, it is somebody who babysit this service and responding on the alerts of server’s health monitoring.

Photo Courtesy: MichaelMarlatt at Flickr (License)

Google Apps and Enterprises

I read the following article in InformationWeek – Google Urges Enterprises To Go Web 100%. Read the article and make your opinion. If you are in manufacturing business and your company is not Ford, Toyota, Airbus and similar, you can find lots of parallels between the conversation Google’s Enterprise Mid Market Sales Chief has with the audience. You probably tired with running all your business processes using Excel and Email. At the same time, you cannot consider a significant investment into PDM/PLM programs just because your resources are not on the same level as most of PLM vendors demand it should be. Here is my favorite passage from InfoWeek article:

The IT groups at midsize enterprises are often so wrapped up with dealing with the basics of PC and server support and upgrades that they have little attention left over to focus on issues like improved collaboration, Remley said. But business managers at those same organizations see the inefficiency in trying to run too many projects by email, where a dozen people will make edits to the same document and a project manager is forced to reconcile all those versions. With Google Docs, they could instead have all been working with the same document online, he said.

PLM in the cloud?

PLM companies are having mixed experience with the cloud. In my view, all of them (vendors) are having love&hate relationships with the cloud. In my view, all of them are watching what is going, but not committed 100% to the cloud. The exception is maybe only Arena Solution (former bom.com), which was pioneering “on-demand PLM” since early 2000s.

Almost more than a year ago, SolidWorks, during SWW 2010 made some very preliminary announcements with regards to the availability of SolidWorks product on cloud. You can read – Jeff Ray on V6, the Cloud and Killing SolidWorks by SolidSmack. This year SolidWorks presented the promised “Connect” product (new name n!Fuze) – SolidWorks n!Fuze – The Cloud Remake of PLM Collaboration?. For a long period of time, I thought Siemens PLM is very neutral to the “cloud appearance”. Reading Dezignstuff blog during the weekend, I noted Matt’s post – Tony Affuso’s Keynote from Siemens PLM conference that happened last week in Las Vegas. Here is a very interesting passage related to what probably Siemens PLM is thinking with regards to the cloud:

…Affuso said “we like the cloud”.  Here’s the thing. After seeing some presentations on what the NX customer does, they are mostly from international organizations with distributed engineering and other product development efforts sharing work from large geographical separation. Cloud makes sense for huge conglomerates sharing data from many sources. In fact, a whole lot of things make sense when seen from a full-on PLM point of view that people like me who develop products in a closet tend to not understand. So if nothing else, I’m getting some perspective from this conference.

What is my conclusion? Cloud is coming. I’d say differently. It is coming with the internet. Web constantly opens new levels of capabilities, cost reduction and optimization. On the other side, it is not a “silver bullet” that will solve all your problems in a single shot. Remember, few very successful companies were born in the end of 1990s / beginning of 2000s when everything related to the .com/internet was considered as absolutely ruined. I think, smart companies will babysit cloud services to provide the functions, delivery model and cost combination that will be winning for manufacturing companies for a long run.

Just my thoughts… I’d be interested to know where are you staying with regards to the cloud planning? Please comment and speak your mind.

Best, Oleg

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  • agammelgard

    Thanks for the mention Oleg! As you said, we have been pushing “cloud” since the early 2000’s because we thought it was the future, but in the last few years we have seen a big shift in terms of adoption, which has only increased since “cloud” became the buzz word it currently is. I would 100% agree with you that the increasing speed and accessibility and universality of the internet and the optimization that is possible with SaaS is making “cloud” a more desirable way to do business, but I also think that companies like SalesForce.com, Box.net, and Microsoft’s “To the Cloud” campaign made cloud mainstream for consumers, so it’s a little less “scary” for businesses to adopt.

  • SMBpower

    I don’t understand why Affusso thinks that CLoud PLM is a need faced only by large/international+distributed organizations. SMBs/Tier3 with small IT budgets face this need too. Right? I face it day-in and day-out.

    Do we have original transcript of Affusso’s keynote?

  • beyondplm

    Alexandra, thanks for your comment! Cloud is less scary compared to early 2000s. At the same time, people in manufacturing are still skeptical. The biggest thing companies in PLM-like domain need to figure out is how to handle a potential IP theft. Something similar to the solution accepted by banks and credit card. The only difference is that nobody knows how to compensate manufacturing company in case the next phone/car/… design will be stolen ;). Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    SMBpower, no, I don’t have Affusso’s keynote transcript. I’m not sure #plmconx is going to provide it, but we can ask people attended… Best, Oleg