The Use Case for Hybrids – Desktop, On-premise, and Cloud SaaS PLM systems?

The Use Case for Hybrids – Desktop, On-premise, and Cloud SaaS PLM systems?

Cloud is everywhere. It is hard to find a single company that is not developing products for cloud environment. Cloud systems are often presented as an alternatives to existing on-premise systems solving problems such as IT simplification, data management robustness, global access and many others.

At the same time, manufacturing companies and software vendors accumulate a long stack of software and invested a lot in existing on-premise or web systems. The question of replacement of these tools is often hard to answer and ROI is hard to justify, especially these days. Which brings up questions about the possible middle ground between cloud and on-premise systems as well as many discussions about how to integrate these systems.

For the last few months, I tracked multiple examples of hybrid products combining mature desktop or on-premise products with new SaaS and cloud development.

Autodesk Vault PLM

My attention was caught by Autodesk introducing a new product bundle – Autodesk Vault PLM. Introduced first as Vault integration with Fusion Lifecycle, now has a more product status.

Vault PLM combines Vault Professional with Fusion Lifecycle for enterprise-wide collaboration and product lifecycle management. 1/ Manage data and processes; 2/ Take control of your product’s lifecycle; 3/ Extend data to other business systems; 4/ Bring better products to market faster

Watch this Autodesk marketing video. Another video below is demonstrating how both products can be used together.

Siemens Industry Software

Solid Edge Portal is Siemens Industry Software (former Siemens PLM) product connecting desktop CAD systems and other data sources to be accessible via cloud web user interface.

Online project folders let you organize your CAD files in the cloud. Any file type can be uploaded to support project collaboration, and you can directly view 3D models and 2D drawings in many popular CAD formats.

Another hybrid is Teamcenter and ActiveWorkspace – a product Siemens was developed for the last decade. Started as search project, Active Workspace is not full web-based client for TeamCenter data. Learn more here.


Earlier this year, I was attending 3DEXPERIENCE WORLD and learn about ENOVIAWORKS – a combination Solidworks desktop product and 3DEXPIENCE cloud platform. Check out more here. It provides Solidworks users an option to manage data in the cloud, store files, manage revisions and collaborate online.

OpenBOM Desktop CAD integrations

OpenBOM (disclaimer- I’m co-founder and CEO) is providing hybrid products integrating any desktop CAD systems with scalable multi-tenant SaaS PLM environment. In a matter of minutes, you can install, register OpenBOM account, install CAD add-in create a hybrid desktop-SaaS solution to share data, rollup cost and plan production and purchasing. More examples of OpenBOM desktop add-ins is here – How to start using OpenBOM with any CAD in 5 minutes.

PTC, Windchill and SaaS?

PTC is recently acquired Onshape, Full cloud SaaS platform, which raised questions about future trajectory of cloud development at PTC. Will PTC create a combination of Windchill with SaaS solution that can bring the best of both worlds – a stable web based enterprise system and new scalable SaaS product offering is still remain an open question. Here are some thought about that from Chad Jackson of Lifecycle Insight.

Future Windchill and cloud solutions? According to Chad Jackson Windchill can translate well to multi-tenant SaaS solution.

What is my conclusion?

SaaS solutions are trending, but the combination of on-premise and cloud systems can provide a significant value for companies and a future pragmatic roadmap for existing customers. A combination of tools can be valuable to speed up ROI and expand mature CAD or PDM with modern tools. It can be a trend, especially these days when COVID-19 is adding more stress to company and IT plans. 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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