PLM Cloud: differentiation or “anti-cloud rant”?

December 22, 2011

After my publication PLM, Autodesk and Cloud Wars Club few days ago, I received few comments from my readers trying to figure out what is PLM vendors’ position with regards to the cloud. One of them, even tried to rank PLM companies on how they committed (or not) to the future of cloud computing. The funniest comment was by Jonathan Scott of Razorleaf – "I am waiting for someone at Siemens or PTC to come out with the "anti-Cloud rant" much like Carl Bass’ "anti-PLM" rant". About a year ago, I was writing about PLM vendors and cloud strategies. You can navigate to the followinglink to read my post from the last year. I think, some movements happened since that time, so I decided to make a second check on major PLM vendors about what they do on the cloud.

I’ve been reading an interesting article earlier this week. The Cloud: Worrying about the wrong things? written by Peter Bilello of CIMData. Peter is talking about different elements of cloud strategies and PLM. It is a good read, and I recommend you to spend few minutes and have a read. My favorite passage is about security, which is considered one of the biggest concerns of cloud software. Here is the quote:

IT chiefs in both the private and public sectors and some Internet industry analysts may be overly concerned about security. Worrisome Internet security breaches, though rare, are widely reported. By law, banks, credit card companies, and other online repositories of financial and personal data must report breaches. Two big outages were front-page news in April 2011: Amazon Web Service’s Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2) was down for a couple of days. Sony’s PlayStation Network was out for five weeks…. Amazon put its EC2 data loss at 0.07—seven-hundredths—of one percent. Some perspective: information online expands exponentially while the number of digital break-ins grows far more slowly. Adding in less nefarious security lapses, system errors, and human error still does not boost these problems out of the rare category

Another interesting passage about security is coming from Rackspace:

“Security is security, in the cloud or anywhere else,” according to Web hosting company Rackspace US Inc. in San Antonio, Texas. In a 2011 white paper titled, Five Reasons Why the Cloud is Ready for the Enterprise, Rackspace points out, “The same security issues apply to an enterprise data center or on-premise application as to the cloud. Everyone must be vigilant about security, no matter where their data is stored.”

Autodesk

It is clear, Autodesk is taking the cloud story as a major differentiation. As I mentioned yesterday in my post, Autodesk sees themselves "Cloud PLM" similar to how Salesforce.com can be recognized as "Cloud CRM". Autodesk introduced multiple products on the cloud. Their latest Autodesk Nexus PLM 360 supposed to be available somewhere between Q1 and Q2 next year. Here is Buzz Kross quote from Nexus PLM announcement last month:

"Our approach to PLM is a sharp contrast to the decades old technology in the market today," said Robert "Buzz" Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. "Autodesk 360 for PLM will enable customers of all sizes to achieve the full promise of PLM with a scalable, configurable and intuitive solution. We believe it will help our customers achieve a measurable competitive advantage through better, more accessible collaboration and business information management."

Dassault System

DS is passionate about their cloud online platform. I’ve been reviewing what DS is doing about that during Dassault customer conference (DSCC 2011) last months in Las-Vegas. Enovia V6 is a power horse behind Dassault cloud story. Read my post from DSCC 2011 by navigating on this link. Here is the quote:

Dassault is presenting ENOVIA V6 as a big deal, the only one “unique online cloud platform”. In the first day, Bernard Charles shared the information about $2B investment into R&D effort that “converge” with all technologies under a single platform available on the cloud.

Siemens PLM

Siemens is providing a very modest cloud story. As a year ago, I wasn’t able to find many references on what is Siemens PLM cloud strategy. Few announcements and press releases I found pointing on the work Siemens PLM is doing with Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Navigate to the following Siemens’ press release – Siemens PLM Software to Create Industry’s First Quality Management Solution "in the Cloud". Here is the quote. Siemens

announced a joint project with Microsoft Corporation to create the PLM industry’s first cloud computing-based quality management solution. The solution will utilize Microsoft Windows Azure™ platform cloud computing services to securely run Siemens PLM Software’s Dimensional Planning and Validation (DPV) application, showing how cloud computing can enable a world-class quality management application to be cost effectively accessed and leveraged on an as-needed basis.

PTC

From my standpoint, PTC is probably less than other PLM vendors is focusing on how the cloud reshapes PLM industry. PTC was one of the first pioneering Whidchill availability as a hosted solution via IBM. However, besides that, I haven’t seen anything about future cloud product coming from PTC. Interesting enough, I was listening for Jim Heppelmann during Creo launch event in the beginning of 2011. According to this article, here is PTC’s opinion about cloud and other PLM vendors.

While Autodesk and Dassault Systemes appear to be running headlong into developing cloud-based applications, my recent conversations with PTC representatives indicated that, as customers were not asking for it and the benefits were not clear, PTC was not heading to the cloud anytime soon. Given the error in underestimating the move to Windows, I asked Heppelmann for his view of CAD on the cloud.

Here is the passage from Jim’s quote provided in the interview to Develop3D journal:

“So, we identified these key problems and then if I say, well which of those problems does the cloud solve? It doesn’t actually solve any of those problems! It solves some other problems – perhaps ease of installation, perhaps cost of ownership, things like that. But I’m not sure those are the key problems. So we’re not pro-cloud or anti-cloud, we’re just trying to solve what we see as the biggest problems, and we don’t see solutions to these biggest problems being in any magical way enabled by cloud technology.

What is my conclusion? Here is my summary about how leading CAD/PLM companies see their cloud strategies. Autodesk is the only one that built on top of the cloud as a differentiation factor. Dassault announced Enovia V6 platform as a true cloud online platform. Despite the fact Enovia platform has deep roots in Matrix One technology developed in the end of 90s, I believe DS invested a lot of resources to re-shape MatrixOne technologies. TeamCenter shows some interesting and trying cloud water with research projects. PTC is strongly neutral the cloud. As you can see all are different. It will be interesting to see how these strategies are evolving and adopted by customers. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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