PLM is often called a journey. Once started, the PLM solution is evolving and changing. The paradigm of a journey is a good one. Think about the software you use as a journey equipment. The problem with the PLM journey is that often this journey is much longer than a normal lifecycle of software technology. Companies are spending tons of time and effort to get on a journey with specific tools, but then the PLM software vendor declares the end of life.
Usually, it is done in a very soft way with a very long period of support. It served many companies in the past. But unfortunately, the speed of technology development is increasing and vendors are not keeping up with 20-25 years old PLM systems. To continue the support is hard, to stop it sometimes even harder. Moving customers to a new system is the best way for a customer success organization, but because PLM software replacement is much more complex to replace your mobile phone it brings a lot of questions.
Agile PLM is one of these systems It was acquired back in 2007 for almost $500M by Oracle and since that time didn’t change much. Domain Systems blog article Agile PLM Users: Here’s What You Need to Know Sooner than Later gives an interesting perspective of the situation for Agile PLM customers.
The article suggests multiple options, but in a nutshell, there are only two options: 1/ moving to future Oracle Cloud or 2/ jumping the ship and moving to another vendor. It sounds simple, but it is not. While staying with the same vendor has advantages of preserving value (most probably license). Jumping to another vendor means to evaluate what is on the market of tool for PLM.
My favorite part of the article is this one:
Consider where the future is taking PLM. There are many innovations underway or planned that compliment PLM and/or general supply chain functionality that can extend the viable life, ROI, and functional value well into the future.
All major PLM’s are on board in one definition or another (hosted to true SaaS) with Cloud as the platform of the future. Smaller standalone solutions like Arena, PropelPLM and Omnify are only offered via SaaS/Cloud. The traditional major PLM vendors like PTC, Teamcenter, Aras, Enovia and others also all have a cloud offering. Some, like PTC for instance, will continue to support and offer either option with duplicating application functionality even though the Cloud offering is re-architected for true SaaS.
What is clear is that the cloud is the future and all PLM vendors are in the process of moving from established 20 years old technologies into future solutions. But these solutions are not much clear. Everyone can host existing PLM stack on the cloud, but Domain Systems doesn’t sound very much excited about it. At the same time, there is no strong recommendation for what “true cloud” PLM solution is available. Domain Sytems brings one list of vendors.
G2 Grid (PLM ) report is another place where you can list of PLM vendors and check out who can be used as a replacement for Agile PLM. Check this out here. You can see some overlap with Domain System list – Oracle, SAP, Dassault Systems, OpenBOM, Propel, Arena.
BOM management is foundation of any PLM system. The data about the product is a core data set every manufacturing company needs to have. My attention was caught by another report by Fusion Science Academy about the BOM market and leading companies. Check this out here. The companies on the list – Oracle, SAP, OpenBOM, Arena, IQMS (acquired by Dassault Systemes), Ciiva (acquired by Altium).
What is my conclusion? I think PLM is on the crossroad from both technological and vendor aspects. Existing PLM stacks are coming to the end and will be replaced with cloud solutions. However, there is no clear agreement on how it will happen and who will be leading in the next true-cloud PLM game. The history of CRM and ERP development demonstrated that old products will die and new cloud technologies will replace them. While most vendors understand that, PLM industry is still in denial when it comes to acknowledging that big PLM transformation is ahead and we might see a different position of PLM vendors after the industry will move to the cloud. The winners will take PLM business forward in the next 20-25 years. Just my thoughts…
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.