Cloud PLM

Unless you lived under the rock for the last few years, you’ve heard about SaaS. The new modern word SaaS is ramping around, and vendors are using it everywhere. The ‘SaaSification’ is taking the tech world by storm, says Accenture article

The cloud is a big enabling piece of this cycle, helping facilitate the speed and scale at which organizations create and refine their offerings with Software as a Service (SaaS) underpinning this process. The so-called “SaaSification” of business is driving innovation, and smart organizations get this—they are seizing the moment, creating dynamic services on a platform, consumable by large groups of users at any time. According to some recent industry analysts estimates, 34 percent of enterprises will have 60 percent or more of their applications on a cloud platform within two years.

The article highlights some fundamental aspects of SaaSification that are actually focusing on the customer value and enablement of processes that have never been possible to see before – 1/ new economic modeling; 2/ fast time to market; 3/ automation and agile delivery; 4/ high degree of user involvement.

As it happened many times in the past, vendors were taking names and filling them with a specific meaning and flavor that is different. When it happens a lot in the industry, the term becomes pointless very quickly. It happened with the “cloud” before, and now it is happening with “SaaS.” The last 12 months were very fruitful for bringing different ‘SaaS’ applications and announcements to the PLM market. Here are just a few to mention. This is not an exhaustive list of announcements and SaaS applications, but I picked these three to show how different can be actually SaaS models.

  • PTC acquired Onshape and later Arena announcing the SaaSification of PLM and future businesses.
  • Siemens introduced Teamcenter X, which is SaaS offering its very popular Teamcenter PLM.
  • Aras just introduced Enterprise SaaS for their Aras Innovator platform.

PTC is focusing on multi-tenancy as a criterion and differentiation for SaaS solutions. Multi-tenancy is a strong foundation of Onshape and now Atlas. When Arena was acquired, the same notion of multi-tenancy was mentioned by PTC. Check the old Arena’s blog – Not all clouds are created equal. This is a passage from a CIMdata review about PTC, Onshape, and Arena.

PTC announced the completion of the acquisition of Arena Solutions, a pure, multi-tenant SaaS PLM provider. PTC expects the acquisition to directly complement its Onshape pure, multi-tenant SaaS CAD and PDM solution. This combined solution will also complement PTC’s existing Windchill and Creo businesses by expanding the company’s presence in the attractive mid-market, where SaaS solutions are widely adopted.

Siemens TeamcenterX announcement was completely different. Siemens is from the place where Teamcenter is one of the most widely deployed on-prem PLM in the world. And coming from this place says a lot about architecture and solutions. Hence, even TeamcenterX uses SaaS definition, and it looks like mostly focusing on automation and bringing Teamcenter instances to AWS using some advanced deployment technologies.  Here is how Siemens defines SaaS PLM:

Get started with Teamcenter X today for a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud delivery of PLM that’s easy to use and easy to access. You can pay as you go and only pay for what you need. Best of all, Siemens manages Teamcenter X for you, so we do the heavy lifting while you drive product innovation.1/ Instant-on cloud PLM for a fast return on investment. 2/PLM that grows with you as your business grows; 3/ Mendix low-code platform keeps you up-to-date with the latest technology

Finally, Aras is introducing “Enterprise SaaS. “ I can see some interesting parallels in how Aras did it. In 2007, Aras introduced “Enterprise Open Source,” which was a very innovative way to deliver a free download of Aras Innovator combined with open source community solutions and a well-documented data model. Aras Enterprise SaaS is technically automated and containerized automated delivery of existing Aras innovator to hosted locations (currently Azure).

The powerful new SaaS offering, called Enterprise Edition, now complements the existing Standard Edition (formerly Premier) and Free Edition. Enterprise Edition delivers full customization capabilities in an all-inclusive SaaS format with DevOps processes specifically designed to meet the mission-critical demands of the most complex scenarios. The new subscription offer from Aras provides unmatched cloud capabilities for the largest enterprise deployments. Aras Enterprise SaaS delivers the same open, flexible, scalable, and upgradable platform with the same applications and capabilities as available with an on-premise deployment.

So, how to compare SaaS PLMs? This is a question I’ve been getting from many readers of the blog. While I’m still thinking about comparing models with some criteria, here are a few ideas.

1- Available platform (AWS, Azure, GCP, etc.)
2- Tenant Model (Single vs. Multi-tenant)
3- Compatibility between SaaS and non-SaaS offering
4- Continuous access vs. Hosted Instances
5- Data sharing options

I’m still working on the list and, therefore, very much interested in your feedback and ideas.

Source: Beyond PLM

Disclaimer: I am the author at PLM ECOSYSTEM, focusing on developing digital-thread platforms with capabilities across CAD, CAM, CAE, PLM, ERP, and IT systems to manage the product data lifecycle and connect various industry networks. My opinions may be biased. Articles and thoughts on PLMES represent solely the author's views and not necessarily those of the company. Reviews and mentions do not imply endorsement or recommendations for purchase.

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