Why multi-tenant PLM  technologies will be a key to enable supply chain collaboration

Why multi-tenant PLM technologies will be a key to enable supply chain collaboration

My attention was caught by CIO article – The digital transformation debate: It’s about people AND technology. In many voices about digital transformation, this article sounded very balanced providing a perspective on how both process and technology innovation will make digital transformation real. Read the article and draw your opinion. My favorite passage is this one.

Technology informs and unlocks the art of the possible. Without thinking about business scenarios and industry use cases for exploiting enabling technology, much of the “art of the possible” with digital transformation is lost and any intended transformation may become simply optimization at best. In summary, the next time you read an article about digital transformation not being about technology, be sure to consider how technology can help to unlock the art of the possible. Technology is an integral part of the strategic themes for digital transformation and the new competencies of the top performers.

PLM companies are investing in many technologies these days – IoT, Machine Learning, Additive technologies. Cloud was in the focus of PLM innovation several years ago. Every PLM company has some sort of cloud technologies today. What data management stack PLM vendors are using inside is usually overlooked as well as data management technologies used by PLM vendors. Somehow all PLM vendors like to think their data platforms are big mature and competitive. How is it true? Let’s take a deeper look.

For the last few years, I shared several articles speaking about multi-tenancy in PLM data management. Check some of them are here – How to ask right questions about single vs multi-tenant cloud PLM; PLM architecture and next PLM backbone; Who will benefit from a multi-tenant PLM backbone.

Most of PLM products even hosted using AWS or Azure IaaS look like a big stack of single tenant databases isolated by old server technology.

Today I want to focus on a single aspect of future PLM development – supply chain collaboration. Even the topic isn’t new, it is coming more often these days in the context of digital transformation and collaboration. While large OEM companies are usually focusing on how to get a single PLM backbone run for entire data and process information source, supply chain collaboration is usually overlooked. A single large OEM might have hundred and thousands of contractors and suppliers demanding granular access to the data. And PLM vendors cannot do it in most of the cases or can only offer “technical data package” upload to a collaborative demilitarized zone. Most of these OEMs are not in favor of giving suppliers access to centralized storage. PLM vendors can host databases on AWS and Azure, but for most of the parts have no option to granular share data.

A few weeks ago in Phoenix, I share Aras strategic slide presented by Rob McAveney, Aras CTO. The slide speaks by itself – PLM companies will be looking at how to enable data sharing between contractors and OEMs. Multi-tenant data management technologies will become the key to make it happen.

In my presentation at IPX conference in Chicago last year, I shared the following slide demonstrating the difference between single and multi-tenant architectures.

What is my conclusion? Multi-tenant data management technology will enable new ways to collaborate and manage data. PLM supply chain collaboration is a topic that drives a bigger interest in manufacturing companies these days. 70% of every manufactured product on average is bought or outsourced. To maintain communication between suppliers and contractors becomes imperative for all manufacturing businesses. And to make it happen with old single tenant PLM technological stack will be missing impossible. 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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