Open Source: Is the Game Changing for PLM?

In my view, open source (or more precisely –open source software) is becoming more and more visible in the business of enterprise software. 

There is an important characteristic of PLM related to business that we need to keep in mind in order to analyze the impact of open source on PLM. There is a high segmentation of customer requirements for different industries and customers needs for different types of customers. Today’s “mindset PLM leaders” still are not capable of covering the full scope of customers’ needs. This topic makes open source both attractive and disruptive for PLM.

 On one hand, when there are many common customer requirements, open source is very beneficial.  Users have an ability to submit code from all participants of open source, for example, as in a Linux system. This scale up is very significant and allows us to develop big systems according to communities of users. But, at the same time, if there are quite many different requirements this can disadvantage of open source. 

In addition, due to the high percentage of services and customization, the ability to deliver overall PLM project as services without licenses cost is a significant advantage and changes the game of PLM system implementation. So for this type of customers, open source will probably be beneficial. At the same time, smaller customers will be more interested in standardized functionality with fixed cost that will allow them to achieve their ROI goals and less interesting when implementation turns to services projects. 

My conclusion – on one hand, open source in general and open source PLM specifically brings a significant improvement in the way we create systems for our customers. These models shift the initial discussion from license selling to customer requirements. On the other hand, it’s not clear how IP protection in different organizations will allow the crowdsourcing of open sources and common delivery in this field. This happened successfully with different non-PLM software, so it’s definitely a place we need to watch in the future.


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