Why PLM vendors are fighting “legacy” PLM?

Why PLM vendors are fighting “legacy” PLM?

Last year I shared my thoughts about how to replace legacy PLM and move forward. The idea is pretty simple – build a new PLM, make it co-exist with the one you have and when you’re ready, pull the switch off. It sounds very obvious. What can hold us back? The decision… Company should commit to the change. Such decision is not simple and before to commit to another bulk of investment, company is checking the options.

Earlier this week, my attention was caught almost simultaneously, by two publications  – Propel vs Arena and old cloud PLM and How your legacy PLM is holding you back by Aras.

Here are few notable quotes about Propel:

Propel provides your customers, partners and employees a modern cloud PLM, PIM and QMS solution to help drive product and company success.Unlike older legacy cloud PLM software like Arena or Omnify, Propel brings PLM straight to your customers, partners, field services teams, sales and marketing teams, quality, product teams, suppliers, manufacturing, and engineers. Propel offers the world’s most robust PLM experience for accessing critical product information. View reports, documentation, change approvals and much more on the device of your choosing. Fully engage with your PLM on your desktop, iPhone, Android device or tablet.

…and this is a quote from Aras paper:

Legacy PLM systems consist of a mix of individual products accumulated from years of acquisitions. At best, they may have been loosely stitched together but more often, the result is silos within the PLM system architecture that impede collaboration. Even while legacy PLM systems may boast full functionality across disciplines, the individual pieces of software often do not work well together and don’t facilitate communication and collaboration. For example, creation of a comprehensive bill of materials (BOMs) or an engineering change order that spans multiple disciplines may be impossible because of the multiple systems involved.

It is very interesting to see how both Aras and Propel are fighting the same thing – expansion and legacy. Both vendors are trying to replace the software companies are using today (obviously calling it legacy) and expand usage by providing broader solution to the problem. In the case of Aras, the legacy is Teamcenter and Windchill. and in the case of Propel, it is Arena Solutions.

I can easy find some common themes in both differentiation stories. Here are some of them:

1- Highly flexible. Both Aras and Propel are offering no limits in what data can be managed. It differentiate PLM systems with predefined out of the box schemas.

2- Fast deployment and ease of upgrade. It sounds like two different things, but they serve the same purpose. Propel as a cloud system is easy to start and it supports customers alongside the road. No IT (thanks for cloud). Aras’ upgradability is a way to bring new features and functions with no rev locking.

3- Collaboration. But products are offering solution to augment all data and all roles. Not different from single version of truth, which was a goal for all PLM systems ever, now it is seems to be one step closer.

What is my conclusion? There is a reason why PLM vendors are calling to replace legacy vendors and solutions. Legacy PLM, Legacy Cloud, Legacy…. It is related to one word – competition with status quo. This is one of the most complicated competitions any solution can fight. Changes are hard and business is not running fast to replace one software with another software. The cost of replacement and predictability of implementation are factors that are adding on the side of not to move fast decision. What can convince manufacturing to move fast? Unique business functions and cost. Existing PLM systems in production going out of support and going out of relevance? Complexity of maintenance? New business requirements? Jury is out to check differentiation stories. Meantime, manufacturing companies are continuing to use existing PLM suites and pay maintenance to vendors. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

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.

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  • Lee Perrin

    Perhaps stating the obvious here – but if top mgt is convinced it is a good idea to switch, then you have a smoother road to travel. However if you have to build a case from the bottom up, it will be a tougher sell to get the anticipated benefits of switching across.

  • beyondplm

    Lee you’re right. If management backup the switch, it is easier. But to build such case is not a simple thing. To build a switch case for PLM is tough. Whatever you replace – Teamcenter or Arena, to build a replacement case is hard. It is not obvious and not everyone is convinced that new product will be better unless it is significantly different and much more affordable. Easier is not as strong argument comparing to others. I’m going to explain it in one of the next blogs.

  • Lee Perrin

    Agreed Oleg. Further, companies where the ‘legacy PDM’ system in place dates back to spreadsheets and databases would be even more difficult.

  • beyondplm

    Lee, It is hard to say. I think, there is a better self-awareness to replace Excels and spreadsheets compared to replacement of existing PLM systems. At least this is what I can see among companies replacing Excels with openbom.com (disclosure – OpenBOM is the company I co-founded. I’m CEO).