Will cloud computing change our desktop behavior for PLM in the future?

We have seen many technological changes over the past 20 years of PC. We changed different versions of Windows and browsers. We moved between one-two-three-many tiers of architecture. Recently,  we moved from client-server to SOA… and now we are going to move to Cloud Computing. But looking back, our computer experience has remained unchanged, for the most part. I’d say “desktop behavior”, since we are continuing to keep folders and files on our PC. We continue to look for files on disks and server locations. Finally, we continue to organize  virtual folders and files for documents and other objects on virtual disks and locations… Our PLM user experience mostly focuses on the ability to save product assemblies, parts, Bill of Materials and… our metaphor for storage continue to be folder/file-oriented. Do you think that the introduction of cloud computing and cloud applications will change the desktop-oriented behavior that we have been demonstrating for the last two decades?

 The table below illustrates my prediction about how cloud computing will change the way people work with PLM:



Desktop Experience

Cloud Experience


Application Containers: most work is done inside of the application with the information stored in files

Information Cloud: data is shared between applications and people. No need to use <file> metaphor

User Experience

Desktop Programs: users install and run programs; user experience is different from program to program

Data Visualizing:  users share data between service and use multiple mashups and other visualizations


Majority of work is done on a PC

Usage of different devices: PCs, netbooks, PDAs etc.


Usage of traditional interfaces:- mostly mouse, keyboards

Increased usage of touch devices; introduction of feel devices


All that I need is installed on my machine

Virtualization and services dominant: user’s machine is less important – I can access anywhere


Usage of mail and contact information

Social interaction between people;, unified communication

“To do” stuff

All “to do” lists kept by user in files/desktops

Activity is part of data: connected and stored on a cloud, available everywhere


 The bottom line is that I think cloud computing provides a huge opportunity to change the way we interact with applicationsin general. Of course, it will also create a great impact on PLM software. People in manufacturing organizations and supply chains will be able to change the way they work with design, other aspects of engineering, and overall PLM-related activities.


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