It is not unusual to hear about technological clusters these days. Cluster development emphasizes the importance of geography, or more correctly economies and/or technologies of co-located companies and businesses. In manufacturing world it very often includes suppliers or companies specialized in a specific domain or industry. Wikipedia article Business Cluster is covering the history and reasons of different industrial, technical and finance clusters. One of the classical examples of clusters is Silicon Valley. Here is how it explained in Wikipedia:
In the mid- to late 1990s several successful computer technology related companies emerged in Silicon Valley in California. This led anyone who wished to create a startup company to do so in Silicon Valley. The surge in the number of Silicon Valley startups led to a number of venture capital firms relocating to or expanding their Valley offices. This in turn encouraged more entrepreneurs to locate their startups there. In other words venture capitalists (sellers of finance) and dot-com startups (buyers of finance) "clustered" in and around a geographical area. The cluster effect in the capital market also led to a cluster effect in the labor market. As an increasing number of companies started up in Silicon Valley, programmers, engineers etc. realized that they would find greater job opportunities by moving to Silicon Valley. This concentration of technically skilled people in the valley meant that startups around the country knew that their chances of finding job candidates with the proper skill-sets were higher in the valley, hence giving them added incentive to move there.
In the past I was writing about concentration of manufacturing companies and associated software companies alongside of Rt. 128 in Greater Boston. I called it "PLM highway". Navigate to my historical post here. Following my post, the same topic was captured by PTC publication and Boston Globs article. Both stories emphasized the importance of Manufacturing companies location on Mass Rt 128
Few days ago, I was reading Buzzfeed article Tech Companies Are Trying To Rename Downtown San Francisco The “Cloud Corridor”. The map below looks fascinating. It clearly demonstrates the importance of technology concentration.
Cloud technologies are not differently in that case and it leads to even greater specialization and interest of people to co-locate at the same place to enable better communication and collaboration. It made me think about PLM and other software companies focusing on engineering and manufacturing. The PLM cloud switch is going to happen. The question is just about the time. The ability to stay connected with other cloud tech companies can be an interesting competitive advantage.
What is my conclusion? Technology is hardly can be disconnected from people. It is clear that in order to succeed in cloud business, companies will have to find a way to be connected with people and other companies focusing on the business in the same domain. Will CAD / PLM companies follow the dynamic of the cloud cluster development to get better connection with other cloud businesses? It is an interesting question and trend to follow. The answer is unclear to me. Just my thoughts…