Mobile PLM and BaaS

I learned a new buzzword yesterday. Have you heard about BaaS? Navigate to the following TechCrunch article – Kinvey Launches Enterprise Back-End Service For Building Mobile Apps That Move Data From Salesforce, Oracle And Other Sources. Kinvey is a startup that put a mission to scrap data from enterprise backend systems and make it available for cloud and mobile applications. Here is an interesting passage:

The new Kinvey For Enterprise back-end as a service (BaaS) platform allows developers to build mobile apps that can authenticate users and securely read, edit and publish data to and from enterprise data sources, such as Salesforce.com CRM and Oracle. Before, middleware ran inside the data center, often on proprietary software that locked customers into one vendor. Data now needs to pass freely between data centers and public cloud services across any number of applications. In these “heterogeneous,” environments, mobile apps changing everything. A company may use Sharepoint and Salesforce.com. To get that data into one mobile app they can’t rely solely on the provider’s API. They need a mobile SDK to get that data and feed it into the app.

It made me think about data problem many manufacturing companies are experiencing these days. The typical environment of enterprise company is heterogeneous- many existing systems, databases, files and other sources of information. Very often, companies are implementing PLM to scrap all existing data in the product development, manufacturing, supply chain and move it to a brand new PLM system. While it turns as a very beneficial project, it usually very expensive and time consuming.

In parallel to that we have a very strong mobile trend these days. The population of mobile workers is growing. According to IDC study, the number of mobile workers will reach 1.3B. It is a big number that will establish a huge demand for mobile applications.

idc-mdm-stats_4.png

The ideas of BaaS are interesting. The question of cost remains open for me.

What is my conclusion? Mobile is a next big thing that will happen to enterprise companies. Today, it is mostly limited to email. Can you imagine your business and professional life without mobile email today? I don’t think so. The next step is to make other data in the company “mobile and transparent”. I don’t know if BaaS is an ultimate way to solve the problem. However, the potential to do that is huge. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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2 Responses to Mobile PLM and BaaS

  1. Mahesh Beri says:

    Oleg,
    I completely agree on the scenario.

    On one hand – Apparently enterprises are moving to PLM looking to replace cumbersome excel based and silos systems, hoping to save hours in the process and also increase data accuracy etc.. Unfortunately PLM technology is NOT improving at a pace that can handle usability challenges and make these ambitious projects succeed. In fact it took 3+ years for a complex cost analytic project to address overwhelming complexities of product cost rollups, comparisons, and reporting. So situation is lots of expectations and promises but frankly technology is still not there.

    On other hand – App economy in the consumer world is filled with promise of superior user experience, Verticalized solutions targeted for specific needs, and growing at rapid phase making context aware experiences.

    .. question that I ponder is whether there will be any intersection? Will the PLM solutions be able to ever catch up the mobile – App driven innovation curve.
    Perhaps answer lies in starting with the tail end consumers who are agile and can adopt faster and then bring those results into mainstream large PLM programs.

    Mahesh

  2. Mahesh. thanks for your comment! Yes, BaaS scenario is very interesting. Excel, multiple silos, legacy systems, multiple databases. No single point of truth and it is very expensive to get there.

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