Is it a time for PLM Cloud 2.0?

Is it a time for PLM Cloud 2.0?

In technology world, there is a perception that the company that wins is the one that enters first into the game. It called “first mover” advantage. To be first mover is risky and costly experience. Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, investor and entrepreneur believes differently.  “First mover isn’t what’s important — it’s the last mover. Like Microsoft was the last operating system, and Google was the last search engine.” The trick however, is to enter the market late enough so as to not be crushed by future competitors, but not so late that the market is already closed off to new entries. Which basically means timing is everything.

My attention was caught by ZDNet article – Oracle to market: We’re Cloud 2.0. Oracle was in the enterprise and ERP business very long time. Actually just few years ago, we’ve seen how Oracle rejected the idea of cloud. However, time is changing and I found Oracle is moving towards cloud aggressively with 2.0 label.

Oracle’s positioning is that its later start to the cloud has provided the chance to learn all the lessons of the first-generation providers. Although not using those exact words, Oracle is framing its platform as Cloud 2.0.

Having the benefit of a later start, Oracle has had the luxury of planning out, rather than retrofitting the building blocks of its platform. From the bottom up, Oracle’s cloud platform is a series of pieces that are added together; from the top down, it looks like a Russian doll. Oracle’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is incorporated into its Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings. And in turn, the Software as a Service (SaaS) incorporates the infrastructure and APIs of IaaS along with the database and middleware of the PaaS platform. Examples of the benefits of this approach include single sign-on across the whole SaaS and PaaS portfolio of services and leveraging of the integration PaaS services to support drag-and drop-application integration with the SaaS cloud.

Another article that caught my attention was Onshape “Parametric Modeling 2.0”. Onshape is a software outfit founded by a group of people mostly affiliated with Soldworks co-founders and executives. Navigate your browser to the following link to learn more about Parametric Modeling 2.0. As article states, Onshape didn’t invent parametric modeling. However, Onshape learned from the problems of parametric modeling developments and coming with new ideas. Here is a passage from the article written by Jon Hirschtick, Onshape CEO:

2018 marks the 30th anniversary of parametric feature-based CAD (for trivia buffs, the first viable parametric feature-based CAD system was Pro/ENGINEER from PTC, introduced back in 1988). This year also marks the emergence of a new generation of parametric modeling that we call “Parametric Modeling 2.0,” incorporating all the power of the older generation, but also extending and improving it in several key areas. Onshape’s newest contributions to Parametric Modeling 2.0 are modern reboots of Configurations and Standard Content, but before we explore those new features, let’s briefly revisit why 1988 was so wonderful for CAD users.

On the most basic level, the beauty of feature-based parametric modeling was that engineers could create solid models with an ordered list of understandable modeling features (sketch, extrude, fillet, shell, etc.) and, by changing dimension values – or adding, editing, reordering or deleting features – their solid part’s geometry would automatically update. Parametric Modeling 1.0 made solid modeling practical for the first time and was a huge time-saver.

Onshape didn’t invent parametric modeling, but we have fundamentally improved it. If you love the idea of hopping on a hoverboard, you should be able to focus on your balance and riding technique.

PLM had its own experiments and early cloud-based development. Arena Solutions (formerly know as BOM.COM) was first to bring SaaS applications to PLM back in 1999. It has an excellent vision and very promising start. But BOM.COM was very early in the cloud PLM development and experienced all disadvantages of first mover.

Much later, in 2011, Autodesk jumped into “cloud PLM” development with their Autodesk PLM360. Five years later, other PLM players that originally ignored cloud PLM development are actively catching up in cloud PLM game. You can see practically all PLM vendors including top three Dassault, PTC and Siemens PLM are offering cloud products closing gap with Arena Solutions and Autodesk products.

Timing is everything. When it comes to manufacturing companies, timing can be even more important comparing to consumer technologies and even some other enterprise industries. In manufacturing, two problems making introduction of new products very complex – legacy data and  timing of manufacturing programs. Integration is another critical aspects to make introduction of cloud PLM successful.

What is my conclusion?  I can see another wave of cloud PLM development coming. Overall adoption of cloud technologies created enough awareness for IT organizations to consider something new. According to CIMdata research, manufacturing companies will be actively investing into cloud PLM in the next 12-18 months. Cloud technologies are mature enough today to offer SaaS capable to integrate and compete with existing traditional PLM tools.  It might be a time for cloud PLM 2.0. Who will get the “last mover” advantages in cloud PLM? We are going to see it in the next 1-2 years. 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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