PLM Vendors, IT and Cloud Strategy

I was reading CloudAve yesterday. The post named – IT: Become Relevant or Die. Read this blog and make your opinion. The discussion about cloud is not new. This is my favorite passage from this post:

There are three things happening in IT now. The first is cloud, the second is mobile, and the third is social. CloudBlog agrees. But, what’s happening with IT is that it’s faced with 2-4 percent growth over the last several years. That is the equivalent of shrinkage when compared with spending in other areas. IT’s projects are becoming less relevant and thus are dying.

In addition, take a look on the video Daryl Plummer of Gartner video interview.

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Engineering and Manufacturing software business is relying significantly on IT performance. Most of the large and profitable PLM implementations are driven by IT or IT-related companies. For the last year, I’ve heard many PLM companies are making announcements related to the cloud-technologies. To understand what will be a future impact and what PLM companies are doing with regards to do this, seems to be interesting. So, I decided to put my comments behind what I know about cloud strategies of companies in the engineering and manufacturing domain.

Aras

The last newsletter from Aras, stated the following – Aras Explains PLM Cloud Strategy. The link brings you to the CIMData paper. Details about Aras’ cloud strategy can be found here. Simply put Aras folks are saying “we are ready for cloud – just bring it in”. Following additional publications on Aras’ blog, they are preparing to have some real-life tests in cloud scenarios. I think, “private cloud” can be the most relevant scenario for Aras, focusing on large customers first. I have some concern related to Aras’ cloud strategy in the context of their business model. How it will co-exist with Aras Open Source strategy is not clear.

Autodesk

Cloud was definitely in the focus of Autodesk for the last year. It started, actually, in the end of 2009 when Autodesk acquired Israeli Sequoia back startup Visual Tao. Earlier Autodesk made several statements about their vision towards better leveraging cloud computing. During 2010, Autodesk demonstrated few projects focused on cloud-based applications, such as Project Butterfly, Project Twitch and few others. I can see Autodesk put an effort and significant thinking behind the “cloud theme” and how to make it practically useful for type of customers Autodesk has.

Arena

This company can be for sure qualified as a pioneer of “cloud computing” in PLM. Back to the origins (bom.com) was the first company that said the word SaaS / OnDemand / Cloud (?). My personal opinion – Arena was much ahead of time. The post-dot-com weather of 2000s was very destructive for Arena’s business. Today, I can see Arena is producing a decent set of cloud based application, mature and ready to use if functionality of them is good for you. However, it is easy to check – Arena is providing Free 10-Days Arena Trial.

Dassault

Since V6 release, Dassault is speaking about cloud as part of their strategy. It takes too much time, but it is okay for such a big company like DS. The beginning of 2010 was signed by very loud messages coming out DS SolidWorks annual customer event – SolidWorks World 2010. You can take a look on the following article – SolidWorks Takes off in the cloud. Very recently, Jeff Ray, SolidWorks CEO blogged with some updates about SolidWorks cloud strategy.

PTC

During the last 6 months, PTC heated atmosphere and blogosphere with messages about PTC Project Lightning. It ended with Creo launch last week. However, Creo launch didn’t put any lights on what PTC plans doing with cloud. Even more, during the exec press conference, PTC’s new CEO, Jim Heppelman mentioned that word “cloud” wasn’t mentioned. In fact, PTC had early cloud exposure with their Windchill solution hosted by IBM. This is probably explains PTC’s current strategy with regards to the cloud. Probably, PTC learned their own lessons working with IBM on the cloud and we’ll know about that later.

Siemens PLM

I can provide a definition related to Siemens PLM cloud strategy using one word – NAH… Siemens doesn’t care. At least, in a visible way. In the past, I had a chance to track some cloud-recommendations related to TeamCenter. Siemens PLM has some software products exposed to the cloud. However, no messages are coming with regards to this.

There are other vendors that exposing themselves to the “cloud story”.

Vuuch, company planning to bring the power of social to product development is actually SaaS / Cloud company. You can subscribe to their service online, and you don’t need to install it.

PLM+, Israeli startup focusing on PLM for SMB claims the availability of their product on a service base. However, they are in a long time Beta version since last year.

What is my conclusion? I think, engineering and manufacturing software vendors learned a lot from their “cloud” stories during 2010. Almost all vendors got to the point of “trying the cloud water”. In my view, 2011 companies will shift more towards delivery. It will be interesting to see what PLM and other companies will put on the market to satisfy needs of growing cloud presences? This is the time to watch. Important and interesting, in my view…

Best, Oleg

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