How to prevent PLM cloud from buying experience complexity?

December 17, 2012

Experience is one of the most popular words in tech these days. CAD and PLM vendors are part of this journey as well. I would like to talk about "buying experience". For many customers, enterprise software experience is actually starts from the moment company needs to make a decision what product (software) configuration to buy. PLM and other enterprise software price lists are well known by the complexity. Many products, options, configurations. In many cases, the final decision about the desired configuration of software package can be taken after the evaluation and pilot implementation. Very often, consulting and/or service company needs to be hired to help in software configuration choice.

Opposite to enterprise on premise software, cloud or SaaS software is coming with the model that supposed to simplify the decision process. Especially, when it comes to the buying decision. For many SaaS software companies, the simplification of buying process is one of the most critical elements to success. The configuration of SaaS product is combined from few options like the following one for Salesforce.com. I’m sure you can come with more examples like that.

Over the weekend, my attention was caught by the following article in ReadWriteWeb Enterprise – Cloud Complexity Clouts Enterprise Customers. Author speaks about complication of Amazon Web Service cloud – experience gathered from recent re:Invent conference. One of the sessions of the conference was completely dedicated to… billing. I found the following passage quite interesting:

The billing session came as a bit of a shock. One Apache OpenCloud committer who did not wish to be identified summed it up best: "If you have to have a session on billing, you’re doing it wrong."… It’s a valid argument, because while one should rightfully expect all levels of interest to be addressed at a trade show’s first run, it seems that something like billing for cloud services should be pretty simple and not in need of tutoring. This kind of complexity raises serious questions about the real value of using a public vs. private cloud in the enterprise.

I see the potential of PLM cloud to get infected with the "complexity disease". It can be easy inherited from on-premise PLM portfolios. It can also come from some examples of cloud complexity like the one above. This is a very dangerous trajectory. In my view, cloud software is all about easy experience – buying, starting to use, expanding. Vendors need to be focus how to get customers involved and make a decision fast. Renewal of the service is another key element of success. Complex buying experience and complex paying experience (including billing) won’t help cloud solutions to expand their positions in organizations.

What is my conclusion? The simplification is one of the most strongest trends today. It goes everywhere. Buying experience is one of the most critical elements, since it is one of the first interaction with vendor and software customer may have when he starts adopting a service. It is also critical from the standpoint of understanding software ROI. If you cannot understand your software bill, you most probably will have a problem to calculate ROI too. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of [pakorn] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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