What PLM vendors can learn from Workday-Platfora acquisition

What PLM vendors can learn from Workday-Platfora acquisition


Data is a new oil. Fortune article explains in a nutshell why big data analytic and AI research are booming this days. The following passage can give you an idea.

“Data is the new oil,” Shivon Zilis, a partner with the venture capital firm Bloomberg Beta, said about data’s increasing value. Companies that want to use artificial intelligence techniques like machine learning algorithms to improve their businesses will need to either have or acquire copious amounts of data, which will only become more valuable as the field of AI advances.

Today, however, the rise of the cloud and the ability to access tremendous amounts of computing power to analyze huge amounts of data has the potential to strengthen the existing AI-related algorithms and lead to new more powerful algorithms. Because of these technological developments, Zilis does not believe companies will lose interest in AI.

In one of my earlier articles this week, I shared my thoughts why data is the next platform for manufacturing. Check my article here. We are moving into the stage of building collective mass data intelligence. This stage will characterized by an increased ability to use data for decision making as well as a source of organization wisdom.

Another Fortune article, just few days ago, mentioned an interesting acquisition – Workday Buys Big Data Specialist Platfora to Strengthen Cloud Financial Apps. As you can see, it is all about data.

In a blog post about the deal, Mike Frandsen, Workday’s executive vice president of products, support and delivery, said in a blog post that Platfora’s software will enable companies using Workday’s application suite to generate richer operational metrics. For example, a retail company might be able generate reports evaluating the profitability of a specific product based on information pulled both from Workday’s human resources software as well as its point-of-sale systems.

This announcement caught my special attention because Workday is a bit of special system. It is multi-tenant cloud data management application. Think about Facebook if you want to compare Workday to photo management systems. In my openBoM blog, I shared some perspective on the evolution of consumer and enterprise systems from physical experience, to servers, virtualization, cloud and finally multi-tenant SaaS. Take a look on the following picture presenting a case of application evolution using Workday as an example (picture credit to Harry Weller of NEA Ventures)


PLM vendors are actively looking how to explore cloud space. I was pleasantly surprised to read that Bernard Charles, CEO Of Dassault Systemes recently acknowledge that he underestimate the speed of cloud application development. Her is an interesting passage from recently Dassault Systemes PLM vision 2016 published by Tech-clarify blog.

In our DS 2015+ vision the mention of the cloud was almost a footnote. We reported that DS was building new solutions in the cloud, focusing primarily on mobile and collaborative solutions, but it was not a big emphasis. Times have changed quickly regarding the cloud and DS is responding. As CEO Charlès explained “The cloud is (being adopted) more quickly than I believed – and for the most sophisticated applications.” Although DS still believes most existing customers will stay on premise and says they’re not hearing a lot of demand for the cloud, they do believe it will open up DS applications to new companies where it was previously out of reach.

What is my conclusion? Cloud is going to change trajectories of enterprise software development as it changed many things in consumer applications for the last decade. Multi-tenant data management applications will have a unique ability to explore even more data analytic, machine learning and business intelligence capabilities. An opportunity for more innovation in enterprise space. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain.


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