Enterprise PLM journey to the cloud

Enterprise PLM journey to the cloud

Thanks for one of my twitter followers, I found an awesome new website – Turnoff.us by Daniel Stori. If you have PLM twisted mind (thanks Jos Voskuil), you might like this website full of geeky jokes about computers and programmers. Take some time and find your favorite picture. Here is my favorite one – a comparison between enterprise and startup cloud journey.

It made me think about cloud and future enterprise PLM development.  I tried to map them to personas from the picture above – cloud PLM architects and consultants, database administrators, system administrators, application engineers and project managers.

Cloud PLM architects and consultants

Most of enterprise cloud IT architects can give an advise how to bring PLM environment to the cloud. From architecture standpoint PLM system is not different from ERP, CRM and others. However, cloud PLM is a nightmare for people focusing on enterprise PLM integration. Cloud PLM adoption is a topic that concerns large PLM vendors. Top PLM mindshare vendors hired one of the best PLM analysts and consulting brains in the world (CIMdata) to run cloud PLM survey and research. I look forward to learn more about this research.


Cloud PLM is a nightmare for PLM DBAs. Until cloud time, PLM databases hack was one of the most widely used option to integrate everything with PLM. It was a kingdom of SQL scripts. Even all vendors strongly discouraged companies from accessing PLM databases directly, it was done probably by any DBA implementing PLM system. Never again – with cloud PLM database is not available to you and DBAs will have to learn Web APIs and new ways to integrate systems.

System administrators

The role of system administrators is changing. Before cloud, Sysadmin was a king ruling his enterprise kingdom. With cloud PLM, they need to collaborate and coordinate their activities with cloud PLM providers and play a role of mediators between PLM service providers and manufacturing company.

PLM application engineers and developers

Things are moving from legacy languages and tools into modern Web development environment. Existing systems are full of legacy languages and tools – C, C++, Visual Basic and some others. If you’re lucky, you can even find COBOL and FORTRAN (although, I haven’t seen it long time already). New cloud based tools will bring full reset to application engineer development environment.

Project Managers

You might think projects look similar with cloud PLM. You’re wrong. The development is moving from long projects with almost annual planning, development and deployment to agile projects with new tools and paradigm shift. Cloud is going to shake your project manager state of mind completely.

What is my conclusion? Cloud will bring technological and cultural shift to enterprise PLM. My hunch most of enterprise vendors today are not fully acknowledge the depth of transformation that coming to PLM with new cloud environment. The change is not simple and won’t happen in one day. Legacy enterprise software is hard and won’t leave easy. Cloud PLM vendors will have to learn how to walk a narrow path between upsides of cloud technologies and complexity of existing PLM jungles. 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.

Picture credit – Daniel Stori (turnoff.us)


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