Freemium PLM – Yes or No?

Freemium is a business model became very popular among internet start-ups and established companies. Services like LinkedIn, Flikr and Skype are using freemium business model. If you are not familiar with this term, take a look here. Also, I’m recommending Anderson’s book.

Why do I think freemium model can be successfully applied to PLM?

1. It will remove the initial barriers of PLM evaluation, value generation and long sales cycle.
2. It will allow to create a significant community of customers.
3. It will improve a quality of PLM software and generate the new barriers for competitors.

Nevertheless, can be a potential scope of free PLM? I’d like to raise few options. However, I’m not pretending on bulletproof definitions. Chris Anderson defines the following options for freemium model implementation:

Feature limited. In general, the most efficient, but at the same time, the most problematic for PLM. How to find a good combination of paid and free services?

Time Limited. Another interesting option. Full functioning PLM becomes paid after one or two years of work in the organization. This can be a good chance to show ROI before you will be taking money from customer.

Capacity limited. This is a very popular option. Limited storage, limited number of licenses.I’m expecting some promising results here.

Seat limited. You can provide PLM system fully functioning to the limited set of user in the organization. Assuming PLM global plan will be realized. This is a point of time, when a customer starts pay for the service.

Customer Class Limited.
To split small and big customers? OEM and Suppliers? These are also very interesting cases that can be realized and, partially realizing now too.

So, what is my conclusion? Do you think “free” is a bad word in the context of PLM or even wider, enterprise apps? Free becomes a very popular word, but still I cannot see good examples of freemium model in enterprise application. Do you think an idea of free+license combination in Product Lifecycle Management can be interesting and will catch the interest of customers?

Just my thoughts, please let me know what do you think?
Best, Oleg


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