PLM seeding – free downloads vs out-of-the-box PDM?

PLM seeding – free downloads vs out-of-the-box PDM?

For many years, PLM adoption is one of the most difficult questions in PLM business. How to convince manufacturing companies to wrap their heads around big PLM idea, to adopt it and make it available for everyone in their organization. PLM vendors have mixed success in PLM adoptions. Large OEM companies are usually more open to PLM innovation, but medium-sized companies are very conservative.

Earlier this week, I was talking about low-cost PLM. Check my blog here. The conclusion was that free download is not a way to low-cost PLM. However, it was a good method for some PLM vendors such as Aras to prove that PLM platform is actually real and can work. I can see free download as an option to seed PLM roots in an organization and later on come with services and licensing options. A free download can be a good option for software that needs to be downloaded. However, for online (SaaS) applications, free subscription means basically the same – you register and use it for free.

Here is an example of how you can download Aras Innovator for free:

Here is an example of how you can start using OpenBOM with a free subscription (disclaimer – I’m OpenBOM CEO and cofounder)

Is there an alternative to free downloads? My attention was caught by another Siemens PLM blog – The PDM System for Powerex is Teamcenter Rapid Start. The article speaks about how out of the box Team Center solution – Rapid start is getting adopted and provides a good starting point for the future expansion of PLM in an entire organization.

Their PDM system of choice is Teamcenter Rapid Start, a preconfigured deployment option for Teamcenter product lifecycle management (PLM) that smaller companies like Powerex can get into production quickly and cost-effectively. Teamcenter Rapid Start delivers all the robust enterprise PDM capabilities of Teamcenter, plus the flexibility to grow into additional Teamcenter PLM capabilities.

Here is how Siemens demo the extension of Teamcenter Rapid start.

Here is a key “seeding” sentence in Teamcenter strategy – Invest in PDM that can grow into PLM.

It made me think about 2 opposite ways to drive PLM adoption. One is a free download or free SaaS service that can give you a jump start and confidence that the system indeed works. Then you can grow from free to paid version. The second approach is to do seeding using Out of the box PDM option. Which one is the best? This is a really good question. Industry gives us examples of both options.

What is my conclusion? The question about PLM adoption is one of the most complex questions in the industry. In a current state of mind for many PLM people is still “PLM is complex, but right”. So, I can see two approaches in increasing PLM adoption – (1) to give away some stuff for user that can help to understand the value and prove that it is a real and not marketing dream; (2)  to pack some core functionality as out of the box package (eg. PDM out of the box) and expand from this functions to grow fully blown PLM.  #1 sounds like a new thing. #2 was used by PLM companies for a long time. Still can be good. What do you think is the best one? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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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