Cloud PLM conversation is heating up. With all pros and cons, the opinion, I can hear very often – cloud is a good option for small companies. These are companies having problems mainly with limited IT resources. It sounds logical and reasonable to me. Many of these companies are already using a variety of cloud and hosted applications for accounting, CRM and maybe even ERP. At the same time, the traditional opinion is that large OEMs, companies in the defense sector as well as regulatory sensitive companies will stay away from “cloud PLM” option.
Earlier last week, my attention was caught by The Department of Defense Cloud Computing Strategy writeup from CTOVision.com by Alex Olesker. The publication discussing few interesting points related to “cloud computing path” DoD is taking these days. I found DoD challenges very similar to typical PLM IT problems every manufacturing company facing these days – duplicated resources, cumbersome set of applications, application silos.
DoD uses NIST definition of cloud computing – “A model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on‐demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”
I especially liked the following passage from the writeup about the goal of cloud computing strategy:
The goals presented in the Cloud Computing Strategy is to “consolidate and share commodity IT functions resulting in a more efficient use of resources.” The DoD hopes to provide device and location independent on-demand secure global access to mission data and enterprise services. They also hope to enable rapid application development and reuse of applications by other organizations. This means both sharing and adopting the most secure commercially available cloud services.
In addition to that, it points to Cloud Computing Strategy document. The document is a bit long, but I highly recommend you to have a look. You might be interested to read about four essential steps in implementing DoD Cloud Strategy.
The Cloud Computing Strategy also lays out four steps for implementing the Department of Defense Cloud Environment. The first will be to “Foster Adoption of Cloud Computing” by establishing a joint governance structure to drive the transition and an Enterprise First approach while reforming DoD IT finance, acquisition, and contracting and increasing cloud outreach and awareness. The next step is to “Optimize Data Center Consolidation” by consolidating and virtualizing legacy applications and data. The third step is to “Establish the DoD Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure” so that it’s agile, consolidated, and secure. The last step will be to “Deliver Cloud Services” using existing DoD cloud services and external providers.
What is my conclusion? I think the keyword “optimization” is the most important one. Everybody is looking towards efficiency these days. It is equally important to small companies and large institution. In my view, larger companies will come soon to PLM providers with questions about how PLM environment can be optimized towards cloud computing. And this is just a matter of time when it happens. PLM vendors have some time for preparation. However, not too much time. Just my thoughts…