In the past department stores were build around the idea that consumers will come to the store for inspiration and product discovery. Good old days are in the past now. These days, consumers are getting inspirations online and then coming to department store for products they want to buy. It leaves department store to compete on price only. Which is an ugly experience. As a result, one of trends in department store business is to open off-price locations.
You can ask me how is that related to PLM? Here is the thing… PLM industry passed the first phase of cloud development. Which means cloud is an option. And PLM vendors are trying to discover how to maintain existing PLM business and combine it together with off-site (cloud) selling options for customers interested to embark into cloud journey. My attention was caught by the CIMdata article interview – Siemens PLM Software’s Cloud Strategy: An interview with Stephen Bashada. Read the article and draw your own opinion. Here is a short summary of Siemens cloud vision.
Siemens’ vision for cloud transformation balances boundary-pushing digital innovation with the recognition that cloud-based innovations should be implemented in a modular/phased approach that fits within the customer’s IT architecture and security environment.
I capture the following slides demonstrating cloud strategy with CONNECT (TeamCenter cloud services in the middle). I found it interesting. It made me think about how Siemens PLM is planning to fulfill the idea of cloud transformation.
Partnering with cloud-based technology companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Rescale, Smartronix, Cloudera and others, and having a modular and open architecture decentralizes innovation and allows for skill specialization / economies of learning and development. Siemens offers three cloud delivery models to best suit the goals and needs of your organization: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), managed services, and software as a service (SaaS). Your business needs dictate which cloud solution is right for you.
Teamcenter software is probably the largest and heaviest platform in PLM industry. It has about 15 million licensed worldwide. Teamcenter has probably the biggest diverse set of customers and requirements in the industry. Each customer is moving with his own speed and therefore Siemens is planning “staging” cloud vision. Turning Teamcenter into cloud service with variation of options can potentially require a large department store delivery system capable to maintain services and manage subscriptions and licenses for variety of options.
What is my conclusion? Customers lifecycle is a biggest challenge of PLM vendors. Cloud strategy of large PLM vendors is to keep up with technology and industry progress and maintain existing on premise PLM business. This strategy comes with lot of challenges. It is hard to bring a diverse set of customers to the same platform. High number of deployment options can be a killer for on premise PLM platforms. It is like to support 5 versions of 6 different CAD systems at the same production release. It can create complex dependencies in system functions, complexity of development and operations. It can be similar to department stores pricing strategy in different locations. The same PLM software will be delivered in a different packaging options via different cloud service providers. How to maintain integrity of these modules in various cloud deployments? How to maintain seamless functionality and compatibility between on premise and cloud versions of the same software in case 2 different companies are using both systems. That would be a complex development and operation mission to handle. And the outcome will be to step into fundamental re-architecture of systems into a set independent services. 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