Cloud and escape path from PLM revision lockdown

Cloud and escape path from PLM revision lockdown


Large manufacturing companies have long love and hate relationships with enterprise software technologies and specifically CAD and PLM systems. These projects are usually taking years to accomplish and then require tons of money to maintain and improve. This is a reality of large enterprises. Not much you can do about it – there is a cost to combine complex technology and large organizations.

One of the most painful outcomes of the complexity of large manufacturing and enterprise PLM is revision lockdown. Heavily customized enterprise systems are too expensive to change. The amount of money invested in implementation, configuration and customization makes ROI for new implementation very questionable. Companies are continue to pay maintenance to vendors to keep old systems afloat and push changes to the future generation of IT and business managers.

This status quo is pretty unchangeable. But…  Nexgov article One of Air Force’s Most Important Unclassified Systems is Now in the Oracle Cloud speaks about how to change this situation with cloud-based software. Read the article and draw your opinion.

The following passages explains the potential danger of running old and outdated systems is beyond function and cost. It is also about security and reliability

Marion said before the move to Oracle, MyPers was some “16 versions behind,” and not surprisingly, this led to security concerns and capability issues. Marion said the old system experienced “minor to major incidents on a pretty regular basis,” and in the personnel world, “once a month is dramatic. I worried about that system on a day-to-day basis,” Marion said. “Someone wants to put in paperwork for retirement, and 100 percent availability is where we want to be.”

In addition to that, cloud allows to IT to focus on business functions and move technical and infrastructure issues to vendor:

“But what we’re finding is the ability to now focus on services versus focusing on infrastructure,” Marion said. “We’re now able to implement a user-intuitive, TurboTax-kind of interface customers expect instead of a federal form structure, with a better cyber platform.” Time spent managing legacy hardware “has flipped,” Marion added, allowing Oracle to operate the cloud while the Air Force can take the time it used to spend triaging servers and spend it assisting airmen.

The article made me think about potential of PLM businesses to shift their strategic companies from old on premise implementation to cloud. It can be a process that will unlock the problem with many old and not updated engineering software environment.

Sounds like a dream? Maybe… But my hunch that most of manufacturing enterprises are looking how to escape from management and maintenance of enterprise PLM system. Companies are trying to find PLM heaven by shifting headaches and implementation specific things to PLM vendors. Some PLM vendors like Aras Corp. are proactively looking for such job and sells maintenance subscription including upgrade service. For PLM vendors it can be an opportunity to reset PLM architecture and systems, while customers will be paying for services.

What is my conclusion? Moving to the cloud PLM systems managed and maintained by PLM vendors can be an escape route for many manufacturing enterprises looking how to shift their engineering systems from heavy old and locked out systems to modern business-oriented  This is a note to all PLM architects. It is a time to learn more about cloud infrastructure and cloud PLM capabilities on vendors. 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. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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