Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.
Terminology is important. You don’t want customers to get confused with the wrong term or technological buzzword. Unfortunately, some of technological terms today are converting into marketing buzzwords and require future clarification.
Cloud is one of them. SaaS, Cloud, Public, Private, etc. Last year, I’ve been trying to demystify PLM cloud services comparing different options. Navigate to my blog to read more – The Buyer’s Guide to PLM Cloud 2015.
Over the weekend, I was catching up on webinars I missed to attend last week. One of them was Trailblazing Shorter Paths to PLM Value presented by Chad Jackson of Lifecycle Insight. At the moment, I’m writing this article, you can still listen to the webinar by navigating to the following link and registering with Engineering.com.
Chad Jackson is making a point about the value of external collaboration in a modern engineering and manufacturing environment. Then he is coming with the potential differences between On-premise and Native cloud environment. Take a look on the following two slides:
It makes a total sense to me. In a current distributed environment the value of cloud based system and an ability to collaborate on data is extremely high. However, I’m not quite sure what means “invite external collaborators” in the case of cloud solution. You should be a user in PLM system to collaborate anyhow… Most probably, it speaks about specific user type with limited rights to access data. All cloud PLM systems are still using databases and setting an access to right elements of data model is required.
But here is my favorite slide in the presentation. In my view, it is setting the stage for the discussion about “traditional” vs. “progressive” PLM systems. I like how progressive solution is defined – small monthly OPEX, low support difficulties, no IT involvement, start anywhere, evolutionary approach. I think, these are really good points.
It made me think, if cloud PLM systems as of today can be qualified to be called “Progressive Solutions”. I have mixed feeling about it. The story about IT is clear. In most cases you don’t need IT to get involved. Unless, you want to integrate with LDAP or other enterprise directory service and IT infrastructure won’t block cloud PLM access, you can run it completely independently from IT. Running same version of PLM system is another important differentiation. Some cloud PLM systems (SaaS) are running the same system version. But, other things such as subscriptions (OPEX), support, start anywhere are really questionable and can be applied to hosted PLM systems and cloud native PLM systems at the same time.
What is my conclusion? The question of differentiation is the one PLM industry is struggling with these days. Few years ago, cloud vs. on premise or license vs subscription was an easy answer. This is not a case anymore. All PLM vendors are moving into cloud, subscriptions, making implementation easier, flexible, resilient, etc… I like the definition of of Progressive PLM System by Chad Jackson. The difficulties is to say which PLM vendor can qualify. The jury is out. Just my thoughts…