As your business grows, it’s important to ensure that you have the right tools and technology in place to support that growth. In my previous article – A simple guide on how to select SaaS solution for product lifecycle management in 2022, I shared 3 main options on how you can leverage the power of cloud computing and cloud solutions to improve product data management, manufacturing process management, document management using cloud infrastructure. In my article today, I want to talk about hosting existing enterprise PLM software using cloud services platforms (IaaS) or specific private cloud providers.
PLM Software and Industrial Companies Today
In the manufacturing world, the majority of large companies are still using legacy PLM software for product lifecycle management (PLM). While large companies made a huge investment in this software and it has been serving these businesses well for many years, it’s no longer up to date with the latest technologies and trends. In response, more and more businesses are looking to cloud-based technologies as a way to improve efficiency and keep pace with today’s competitive market.
Here are a few big challenges most companies are experiencing when coming to solving their product lifecycle, product portfolio management, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, and inventory management business problems.
- The high complexity of PLM solutions updates to new product versions
- The complexity of PLM solutions integrations in the value chain
- Connecting multiple companies working as part of the value chain
Ultimately, industrial companies today are looking at how PLM software updates and new business models including new cloud computing technology will be used to solve these problems. A legacy PLM cloud hosting platform can be a great way to increase efficiency and productivity within your manufacturing operation, but there are also some drawbacks to consider before making a switch. Here are five of the pros and cons of legacy PLM cloud hosting.
5 Pros of Legacy PLM software Hosting
The computing platform as a service provides a sophisticated level of virtual services to host servers and desktops as well as to make them available globally. Does it mean platforms like AWS, Azure, GCP, or custom hosting is a way to solve all PLM software cloud computing problems? Here are 5 pros to do so:
- Simplify IT work for installation and configuration
- Simplify updates and maintenance
- Make solutions available anywhere (outside of local LANs)
- Improve availability (not dependent on local IT platforms)
- Simplify transformation of these platforms to new business models (subscriptions)
These are solid advantages for any industrial company that is looking at how cloud computing can be used to turn product lifecycle management into a Software as a Services (SaaS solution).
Let’s now talk about what are the cons.
5 Cons of Legacy PLM software Hosting
Legacy PLM software, even hosted using cloud computing platforms in a virtual infrastructure is still the same software. The software itself doesn’t change. It has the same architecture (single-tenant) and the same administration capabilities that might require direct access to the services for customization. The database management of these platforms and flexibility of these platforms is limited to a single company (single hosting instance) and their collaboration capabilities won’t change when both OEM and Tier-1 suppliers will be hosting these platforms on AWS (or any other platform). Here are my 5 cons to hosting legacy PLM platforms:
- Administration and configuration complexity
- Upgrade logistic complexity (upgrading all instances)
- The collaboration problems are not solved (still multiple instances cannot communicate)
- Integration complexity and performance (legacy architecture is optimized for LANs won’t perform well when become available globally)
- Expensive (cloud instances can be underutilized in single-tenant architecture).
As you can see, hosting PLM software is not a silver bullet to solve all problems.
Manufacturing companies are increasingly looking to the cloud for solving their challenges with existing PLM software. But when it comes to legacy PLM systems, there are pros and cons to hosting the system in the cloud. Hosting can simplify many problems, especially related to IT and infrastructure management. However, hosting of existing platforms won’t solve real business problems such as – faster upgrades, new business requirements, data sharing, and collaborations.
Before making your decisions about future PLM software, please check the list above and consider other alternatives for product lifecycle management solutions and cloud providers to help you to shift into cloud PLM.
Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital network-based platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers, construction companies, and their supply chain networks. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.