It has been almost 5 years since PLM industry started to turn its trajectory towards adoption cloud technologies and development of cloud-based solutions. Remember TechClarity blog from 2012 by Jim Brown – A time and a reason to talk cloud PLM. According to Jim Brown (almost 4 years ago), cloud is a compelling opportunity. Here is the passage from Jim’s historical post:
…”Cloud PLM is a compelling opportunity. I had some concerns”. I still agree with both of those statements. Why is it compelling? Clearly a lot of companies are turning to cloud solutions to simplify their IT infrastructure and save money. Many companies are already using applications in the cloud in other parts of their business, although they may or may not think of them as “cloud” offerings. With so much of the corporate IT budget going to maintain large ERP implementations, any way that people can get things done without implementing new infrastructure is attractive. Signing up for a service that solves a problem just makes sense. From a PLM perspective, cloud makes even more sense because product development is inherently social. For companies to collaborate across dispersed organizations, global supply chains, and virtual product development teams spanning geographic and corporate boundaries cloud makes a lot of sense.
Together with that, Jim had concerns about how soon cloud will be viable option for PLM and, specifically, talking about security as one of possible inhibitors of cloud PLM.
Fast forward into 2016. It is a time to make some analysis about what happened with cloud and PLM for the last few years. I think, many things done since that time. PLM companies made great achievements by introducing new cloud-based PLM solutions as well as transforming and adapting existing PLM technologies for new cloud reality.
Here are 3 main achievements of cloud PLM for the last 3-4 years.
1- PLM vendors learned how to run cloud systems
Cloud PLM isn’t fancy marketing buzzword. PLM vendors learned how to develop and deploy cloud systems from different perspective – infrastructure, business, security, legal, etc. Manufacturing companies are running cloud PLM in production. Cloud PLM is not just a nice idea anymore. Manufacturing companies are using real cloud-based PLM systems in production. Google “cloud PLM” and you will find many examples and references of real companies and great success stories.
2- No upfront licenses needed to implement PLM
Cloud technologies pushed towards future business model transformations. The barrier to enter PLM is lower with the introduction of subscription based prices. Most of cloud-based solutions prices are open and available online. Just name a few – Autodesk PLM360 pricing, Arena pricing, Oracle PLM cloud.
3- “Cloud” is adopted by all PLM vendors
Not all cloud systems are equal. There are many flavors of cloud PLM products and technologies as I outlined in my The buyer’s guide for cloud PLM 2015. But one thing is clear – cloud is adopted by all PLM vendors and it is an essential part of PLM strategies of all vendors today.
What is my conclusion? I think “cloud PLM 1.0” era is over. Initially strange and confusing word “cloud” is part of PLM lexicon in 2016 and considered by many companies as a viable solution to solve their problems in product development, engineering and manufacturing process management. At the same time, I think, despite being adopted by all PLM vendors, cloud PLM implementation are facing some challenges. Which means cloud PLM is still in the first phase of its formation. Cloud PLM projects are still complex and taking time. PLM implementation paradigm is still demanding significant and complex changes done by companies to “wrap their heads around big PLM idea”. The last one is not bad because it can help companies to transform and change their business processes. But, the decision to adopt PLM is still not obvious for manufacturing companies. I can still hear manufacturing companies are asking questions like “what is PLM?” and “do we need to implement PLM?”. So, good news – cloud PLM is here to stay. But many challenges are still in front of PLM vendors to solve as we move into “cloud PLM 2.0” era. Just my thoughts…