Manufacturing Companies and SaaS Business Opportunity

I had a chance to watch Jason Green’s video interview by TechCrunchTV Sarah Lacy. Take a time, watch and make an opinion. I found interesting to listen to Valley VC, which is strategically focusing on cloud and enterprise opportunities. This is not a common trend, in my view.

This is not a first time I’m writing about a cloud opportunity in the manufacturing market. Navigate your browser to few of my following “cloud posts” if you had a chance to miss them: PLM and Cloud: Hold the Promise? and PLM and Pragmatic Cloud- Do Less. However, this video made me think about few interesting trends I wanted to share with you.

B2B and Cloud Services Trend
One of the important trends I can see in the enterprise cloud market is the development of B2B cloud services. Why it is interesting, in my view? It provides an alternative way to just pushing enterprise customers with enterprise product suites converted to the “cloud or SaaS model”. Business Services can become an interesting and disruptive approach for enterprise market.

PLM on the Cloud
I have a mixed feeling about PLM and Cloud. Definitely, few mindshare vendors already made (or planning) to make plans for cloud offering. The top two companies here are Autodesk and Dassault. In the past, PLM industry had few companies moving towards SaaS/On Demand. Arena Solutions as well as PTC/IBM bet on their future with Cloud/SaaS infrastructure. The biggest problem I can see in this domain is the replication of existing products, portfolio and plans to the cloud. This is not how I can see manufacturing and engineering software need to be developed.

Bottom Up Approach
I can see an interesting opportunity in development of manufacturing services, which has an opposite philosophy to the current mindshare PLM and ERP vendors. Existing enterprise and PLM models are very top-down oriented and assume a significant agreement about how a system needs to be implemented and how data need to be managed. Development of business services can be an interesting approach to provide an alternative solution on the market.

Freemium Business Models
Another aspect of SaaS and Cloud business is in implementing new  business models. Freemium is one of them. Normally, people see “Free” as an option that can be used only for a consumer market. The complexity of enterprise implementation and high potential cost of free services, it seems to be a wrong option. However, I can hear Jason is talking about 10-15% convergence rate in enterprise freemium models. It can shake business modeling canons and create a significant opportunity in the market.

What is my conclusion? Thinking about PLM Reset 2011, I can feel it is a time to re-think common practices of SaaS applications. Companies have tried to replicate existing software and shift the delivery towards the cloud. This is a wrong approach. The biggest potential of cloud will be in the combination of new approaches, technology, delivery and business models. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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