PLM: Cloud and Open Source Disruptive Trajectories

PLM: Cloud and Open Source Disruptive Trajectories

Disruption. This is a word that dominates in many technological (and not only…) discussions. It is not a big secret – disruption means changes and opportunity. Back in my blogging histories 3 years ago – Future PLM face to face: Open Source vs. Cloud. After more than three years I still hold my opinion that these are two major changing opportunities in PLM industry. Few days ago, I came across an interesting article in CIO magazine – 5 Ways Cloud Computing Is Like Open Source. It is worth reading. It made me think about the common future between open source and cloud in the context of PLM systems.

Open Source Historical Lessons

Backward in early 2000s. We had lots of debates about the value of open source, specifically for enterprise software industry. I remember long running discussions about valuations of open source companies and many others. I remember the time back “open source” wasn’t allowed as a class to be included in software projects for enterprise. Here is an interesting passage from the same CIO article:

Open source triumphed. Corporate systems today routinely include a range of open-source components as a matter of course. One can argue that most of the new software components that corporations are using are, in fact, open source. I would even argue that, today, most of the innovation in infrastructure software is occurring in open-source projects, not proprietary products.

Open Source vs. Cloud: Similar Disruption?

However, these days I can see some synergy between open source models and cloud models. Aras, one of the leaders in enterprise open source, is moving to the cloud. You can read some more details about Aras’ cloud plans in my post from Aras Community Event – ACE 2012. The arguments in CIO article made me think about some sort of similarities between how value of PLM open source and Cloud PLM are presented to vendors and customers. Here is the list:

– Cloud computing provides ease of access
– Cloud computing cost less
– Cloud foster experiments and innovation
– The cloud lowers the cost of uncertainty
– The cloud challenge IT in the same way open source did

Cloud vs. Open Source: PLM Trajectories

In my view, PLM has some specific trajectories in the development of open source and cloud projects. The disruptive influence of cloud and open source looks very similar to me. At the same time, manufacturing companies are reacting differently on the potential of open source and the cloud. The potential of Aras PLM in building a powerful community around Aras Innovator is interesting. At the same time, high activity around cloud projects from large PLM companies (eg. Autodesk PLM 360) and small startups requires  attention from competitors before cloud projects will triumph similar to open source.

What is my conclusion? Cloud and Open Source are equally disruptive for PLM. At the same time, open source and cloud project are positioned in a different place in the hype cycle. Open Source is a clear industry winner these days. At the same time there are lots of discussions around cloud PLM these days. What will be a dynamic of cloud PLM in the next few years? Will PLM and Open Source merge in their disruptive influence on PLM market? These are questions I’m asking these days… What is your take? Speak your mind, please.

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Hype Cycle Article.


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