What Are Demands for “PLM on Demand”?

Thanks to David Isenhower  for twittering a very interesting whitepaper from Siemens IT. The name of the paper is Software as a Service (SaaS) with Sample Applications. Yesterday, I was able to get this whitepaper without any registration using this link. One of the sample applications discussed in this paper was Siemens “PLM OnDemand” TeamCenter. I believe, this is a sort of visionary evaluation, since I never heard about existance of “PLM OnDemand” TeamCenter before. However, as it seems to me, author is discussing more demand rather than the available solution and presenting the view of Siemens IT on what should be the future implementation of PLM on demand.

It made me think about how PLM can be delivered on demand. I took the proposed vision of PLM on Demand from the whitepaper mentioned above and compared it to PLM Think Tank visionary proposal.

PLM on Demand: PLM “ready to use” industry solutions.
This is a short vision for Siemen’s IT vision. The white paper defines PLM as one of the conservative areas. Companies are always concerned about investments that need to be done in PLM project. It defines a potential demand for new type of PLM solution.

CIOs may see an opportunity to decrease the overall cost of PLM solution by moving to the cloud as On-Demand Services. “Companies are always less ready and willing to bury valuable developer resources in PLM projects for months. In no other corporate process is the wheel reinvented as often as with PLM, leaving significant potential idle at the same time“. Later, in more detailed way, it explained as “…As a special multi-tenant enabled SaaS solution, PLM on Demand bundles PLM industry solutions with high-quality operation and service in a package with a usage-based price model. Options enable the package to be adapted to individual business requirements. PLM on Demand is not only a new financing and operation model however.  It primarily involves the provisioning of a preconfigured PLM application tailored to the needs of an industry. The “price” for this advantage is that the scope of freedom for individualized customer configurations is limited…“.
In addition, I see the mention that PLM solution needs to have a specific industry orientation: “…the solution offered must also actually cover the typical business requirements of the sector. This depends significantly on the sector and process know-how of the provider…“.

Alternative: PLM Marketplace On Demand
Since, I’m taking a role of “Devil Advocate” on PLM Think Tank, I’d like to introduce an alternative version of how to get into Product Lifecycle Management solution on demand. I have to say that I share Siemens’ vision about demand for low TCO solution that may solve problems of manufacturers. However, I see the future in a different direction. The way the solution can be developed will be as following:

Cloud Based Data Storage
The economy of scale can propose a more efficient solutions to store and manage data online. Design, Bill of Materials and other data can be stored on cloud and easy distributed to customers. When typical corporate email storage varies between 500MB to 1TB, cloud can offer enough data to accumulate product and manufacturing information. Just compare it to 8-10GB of Google Mail storage. I believe very few companies will build new data centers in 2010s, so to move data into the cloud will become more natural.

Application Market Place
One size doesn’t fit all. I believe manufacturing represents a special kind of “long tail” and requires a granular set of solutions to solve their problems. If I’m looking on marketplaces proposed by Saleforce.com, new solution places developed Zoho and vision of Google Market Place, I can see it as a potential way to develop on demand services for manufacturers.

What is my conclusion? The PLM story on demand is still not discovered. I think, Siemens IT made an interesting try to present a potential for PLM on demand. It can be a choice for a big company. However, in this case, I don’t see how it will be different from delivery on premise solutions we have today. I’m looking forward to your comments and thoughts.

Best, Oleg



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