Engineering software is slowly moving towards cloud. Vendors, industry pundits and even customers are in a full agreement that cloud is the future. At the same time, the key question everyone is trying to answer is “when”. Earlier today, analytic and research company CIMdata was organizing the webinar to introduce their cloud PLM research and survey. I can see the interest of vendors in this research – everyone wants to find the right timing for cloud product development, marketing and sales. It made me think about 2 questions and I hope CIMdata survey and research will help me to answer on these questions .Here are my questions
Are customers ready to buy cloud PLM?
Nothing can make your sales effort harder than when you speak to potential customers who are not ready to buy software. They key thing in making customer ready to buy is awareness. That’s why customer education is important. Customers are asking why should we care? While cloud is a trending word and technology for the last decade, manufacturing companies were playing “wait and learn” strategy about cloud PLM options. Some PLM vendors pioneered cloud software very early in the process. But cost of educating customers was too high.
Are customers able to buy cloud PLM?
Manufacturing companies might want to use cloud PLM software, but at the same time may not be able to buy it. There are several things that can impact their ability to make a purchase. One is product development cycle. Manufacturing programs are long running projects. Once the decision is made, software tools have chosen, it is impossible to change. It is just complex and impractical. So, to understand budgeting and manufacturing program cycles is very important. Second one is integration with existing software. One of the elements that can easy slow down process of cloud PLM sales is complex and expensive integration projects.
What is my conclusion? Timing is everything. Engineering software vendors are trying to understand what is the right timing for their “cloud” programs. And there are two main reasons for that: 1/ education and awareness; 2/ manufacturing program lifecycle. Nobody want to spend educational and marketing budgets at the wrong time. Vendors are looking how to come with the right technologies at the right time to right customers. There are some though decisions to make alongside this route. Just my thoughts…
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Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.