For long time, enterprise integration is one of the biggest challenges manufacturing companies are facing during PLM implementations. PLM integration can be very different from simple data exchange to federation.
In many situations, PLM vendors are promoting their “cloud” solutions as a way to escape from IT complexity and simplify software updates. While, those benefits are obvious, “integration” can become a problem and usually comes as an afterthoughts. I shared some of my thoughts about cloud PLM and integration earlier – How to prevent cloud integration mistakes and Integration is holding back cloud PLM adoptions.
Info-World article Think again: Data integration is different in the cloud by David Linthicum brings few very important points related to integration during cloud software migrations. According to him, all existing integration methods won’t work after you rehost existing enterprise software and data. Here is a great summary of the problem.
Data integration is essential because you’ve rehosted some of your data on a remote cloud service. The inventory system that’s stilling running on a mainframe in the datacenter needs to share data with the sales order system that’s now on AWS. In other words, your data-integration problem domain is now bigger and more complex.
The trouble is that traditional approaches to data integration, including traditional data-integration technology providers, are typically no longer a fit. Even data-integration technologies that I’ve built in the past as a CTO would no longer be on my short list of data-integration technologies that I would recommend today.
That’s because the use of the public cloud changes how you do data integration. For example, you need a much more lightweight approach that can deal with more types of data. Also, having the data-integration engine in the enterprise datacenter is no longer efficient; for the same reason, it should not be placed at a cloud provider that has centralized access to all systems that are being integrated.
So, forget about your dream to move existing PLM systems to cloud hosted environment. Your hardcoded SQL hacks, data exchange scripts and ETL processes will fail. Existing integration technologies might create lot of bottlenecks and after all, saving from cloud-hosting existing PLM solutions will be diminished by even more complicated integration scenarios.
What is my conclusion? Cloud PLM isn’t about moving existing platforms and applications from IT data centers to private or publicly hosted data centers. You should think about cloud applications and applications capable to provide cloud integration services supporting both on-premise to cloud and cloud-to-cloud integration scenarios. Take a note to check it with your IT and PLM consultants before embarking to cloud PLM journey. Just my thoughts…
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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