For a very long time, the PDM /PLM market was boring. Not so many events were happened during the decade of 2000s. It was mostly about “acquisitions” of smaller companies by bigger companies. Obvious, large acquisition made historical records – Agile Software, MatrixOne and some others. For me, the interesting PLM innovation of the past decade was Aras Corp. and the idea of Enterprise Open Source back in 2007.
However, it looks like things are going to change now. Something big is really going to happen. The major catalyst is Autodesk. In my view, Autodesk announcement about cloud PLM – Autodesk PLM 360 was a critical mass that changed direction of the market. I recommend you to read Jim Brown’s post – A time and a reason to talk Cloud PLM (thanks, Jim for your kind words about my cloud PLM writing). Here is a short passage that summarized Jim’s position:
The time has come to take a look, at a minimum. Now there is more to look at than vapor, there are some real options to consider. Will they meet your needs? Given the number of options available my guess is that you will find something that can help you improve your business.
Cloud PLM and back to PLM competition
I’m sure everybody knows famous Carl Bass anti-PLM rap? You can see it here. With the new cloud PLM initiatives, we can see how competition is taking defensive statements. The first signal I’ve heard was during PLM Innovation Congress last month in Munich during my panel discussion about PLM future business models. The conversation between Autodesk and PTC representatives was about PLM and “apples to apples” comparison. I captured it as following:
During the last AU, Autodesk made a very bold statement that Autodesk cloud PLM will be x10 time cheaper compared to traditional PLM offering. On contrary, the position of PTC is that we are not comparing “apples to apples” and there is no single definition of PLM. The hint was that Autodesk probably delivers “a different PLM”.
Another interesting competitive statement was made by Peter Schroer of Aras Corp. Navigate your browser to the following blog – The Cloud Won’t Cure What Ails You. Peter is talking about “cloud” as a technology, that won’t change much and even so, Aras can run their software on the cloud “when a customer is ready“. Here is my favorite Peter’s passage:
At Aras, we’re cloud-ready if and when you are. If you want to deploy your PLM solution in the cloud, that’s no problem. If you want us to host it, we can do that too. If you want it right down the hall, that’s fine with us. We can even do a little of each, if that’s what you’d like. The point is, it’s not about where you’re running, it’s about what you’re running. And companies that don’t get that are destined to wind up with their data locked down in some proprietary cloud configuration with less access and bigger problems than they had before.
In my view, Peter’s passage can be compared with Carl Bass’ anti-PLM rap back in 2007. The question about “some proprietary cloud configuration” is clearly an open call and needs to be answered by cloud vendors.
Enterprise IT and Cloud PLM
In my view, everything that happens now around cloud PLM will finally put Enterprise IT on fire. There is no “business as usual” anymore. Companies will be curious about how they can take advantages of cloud PLM and IT will have to provide an answer. This is will be a moment of truth. The question how Enterprise IT will compete with Cloud architecture and what is not less important – cloud cost. Cost makes a difference these days. Getting back to Peter’s note, it is not about “where do you want to set up your server” question. It is about how to provide a IT infrastructure that can solve two problems at the same time – reliable data access everywhere and low cost.
What is my conclusion? It is an interesting time now. As Jim Brown stated, there are some real options to consider. Data access, mobile and IT cost will become real competitive advantage cloud companies will provide. How fast PLM cloud story will be growing? It is an interesting question. Everything is going faster online. Remember where FB was 5-6 years ago? I’m sure we learn later this year. It is going to be a lot of fun, I’m sure. Just my thoughts…
Note: Stay tuned, Autodesk granted me access to PLM 360, and I’m looking forward to sharing my impression very soon.
picture credit digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net