Cloud is not a foreign word in a lexicon of CAD and PLM developers. Although, there is probably no agreement about how cloud technologies are going to change engineering and manufacturing software, companies are investing significant resources into turning existing PLM platforms into cloud as well as developing new tools and technologies.
Do you remember PLM cloud services comparison blog from few month ago? Forget about differences how PLM vendors are development cloud PLM products. You should look at cloud as a unseparated part of product itself. Feel confused? Let me explain.
PTC blog Embed IoT functionality in the product or cloud speaks about the fact many products today are using cloud as a way to implement some of functions. Here is an interesting passage, which explains that:
How much functionality should be embedded in the product and how much in the cloud? Connectivity serves a dual purpose. It gives us the ability to move information back and forth, but it also gives us a new domain in which to create capabilities. So, for example, as an engineer, given a requirement from the customer I really have four different ways or four different engineering domains in which I can create capabilities.
The growing number of hardware companies are rediscovering software these days. The question about hardware vs. software company is getting less relevant. It is hard to find company that is not writing software. And it hard to find hardware company that is not trying to bring some vital functionality by providing cloud-based software services. The Internet of Things is one of the factors that forcing companies to invest more in software.
As you can see cloud is actually getting a dual role in PLM. It is a future delivery platform for PLM services and it is part of the product itself. The last one implies the fact it should be managed as part of the product. Now, think about Requirements, Bill of Materials, Configuration and Change Management, etc. All these things are applying to management of cloud software as part of your product.
Including software in the loop of product lifecycle has many implications on how to manage information and processes. This is another level of complexity added to mechanical, electronic, embedded software. There is a long list of examples of products that bringing cloud software as part of experience. And the number will increase.
What is my conclusion? Cloud is now part of what you call product. The importance of software management capabilities in PLM systems is increasing. Cloud is starting to play a vital role in product delivery model. It is not a floppy disk in the box you can ignore. Customer experience is directly dependent on software that runs… in the cloud. Wrong software patch can ruin your customers story very fast. A holistic control of product lifecycle including cloud software is must have function for the next decade PLM. Just my thoughts…