Why SaaS Solutions Are the Future for Industrial Companies

Written by: Nancy White

Read Time: 4 min

We live in an age where on-demand is the norm and the expectation.

From TV shows to work, many want to be to be untethered to location and time and embrace flexibility. This shift has taken on many evolutions and software, in particular software-as-a-service (SaaS), has been a big driver of this mentality.

Let’s take Netflix, one of the best-known of SaaS platforms. Once the convenience of having DVDs delivered to your door was introduced, like the early days of Netflix, most didn’t want to take the effort of getting in their car to walk around Blockbuster searching for the right movie title. And once Netflix became streaming, hardly anyone wanted to wait around for a DVD to come in the mail.

Businesses have followed suit as well. Software like Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, and GoogleApps have become essential for modern businesses for email, documents, spreadsheets, and CRM. These tools allow for faster and easier collaboration, as well as secure access from any computer.

Industrial companies are routinely noted as laggards in the transition to SaaS. Most have preferred to stick to on-premise solutions – and to be fair, they didn’t have many other options until fairly recently. Very few industrial software solutions were offered as SaaS products.

That’s changing. Cloud adoption is on the rise within the industrial sector and executives are bullish on its possibilities for business value. As the global economy emerges from COVID-19, some of the largest changes of the past year-plus are likely to remain in the recovery, according to McKinsey.

The benefits of SaaS solutions, which include increased mobility, improved collaboration, acceleration of innovation, effortless scalability, and lower total cost of ownership, aligns with many of these shifts.

This post goes into detail about the reasons why now is the time for industrial companies to seek out and implement SaaS where possible.

Remote Work Is Here to Stay

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes a backseat in most countries, there are some things that will remain. Remote work is one of them. According to an IDG COVID-19 Impact Survey, businesses reported just 23 percent of their workforce needs to be physically in the office in order to be fully operational. Moving forward, many businesses are allowing employees to work remotely at least part of the time.

When the workforce was in the office, it was easier to control where and how employees accessed information. With remote work, there is an introduction of other variables, such as personal devices, USB drives, social media, non-secure web browsing, etc. All these points of contact could introduce malware, or other security threats.

IT leaders have real concerns about this: 61 percent indicated greater concern about attacks targeting work-from-home employees than prior to the pandemic.

Bottom Line: SaaS-based solutions provide a secure environment for employees to perform tasks vital to their role anytime, from anywhere in the world. It takes much of the burden of a software’s cybersecurity off the shoulders of your IT team. Of course, your information security team should carefully evaluate any SaaS vendor to ensure they have sufficient security measures in place and stay up-to-date on the latest threats.

Security Threats Are Increasingly Sophisticated

Ensuring resilient cybersecurity is an increasing complex task – and an evolving field. Security management is one of the top activities for CIOs, according to the latest IDG State of the CIO Report.

Two recent ransomware attacks – Colonial Pipeline, which skyrocketed gas prices and availability on the Eastern seaboard in May 2021, and JBS, which shut down meat processing facilities in the U.S. and Australia – have prompted a call for greater cybersecurity measures to be taken at industrial companies.

U.S. President Joe Biden recently issued an executive order mandating the improvement of the nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure.

However, ransomware is just one of many prevalent threat vectors, which include malware, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), supply chain attacks, and phishing.

With these increasing threats and focus from the C-suite, cybersecurity professionals are in high-demand, hard to find, and expensive. While there is a perception that on-premise solutions are more secure than the public cloud, a recent CIO report found that cloud providers have a “broader and deeper cybersecurity knowledge than their customers” because their business depends on keeping customers’ data secure.

There are several reasons why security is improved with SaaS:

Economies of Scale: SaaS providers need to manage a number of large data centers to support customers so they’re able to invest more in technology, processes, and skilled experts than the average business.

Application Knowledge: Because they created the software, SaaS providers know it inside and out, which includes knowledge of high-risk functional areas and specialized secure configurations.

Audits: Large cloud providers, such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, are routinely audited for ISO and SOC 2 compliance as are the SaaS providers themselves.

Zero-Trust Cybersecurity: SaaS providers are increasingly implementing zero-trust principles, where access is tightly controlled and multi-factor authentication is necessary.

Bottom Line: Don’t stick to on-premise solutions just because you always have done so. Much has changed in the software delivery and cloud services arena that make SaaS solutions more secure.

SaaS Options Are Increasing for Industrial Software

As we mentioned earlier, the switch to SaaS for specific functions within industrial companies, like product design and engineering, has been slow largely because viable options weren’t widely available.

The software industry is at a tipping point now where enterprise-level industrial software providers have or are pursuing SaaS solutions. The benefits, like real-time collaboration and accessibility, align with customer demand and business climate. A survey of engineering, design, and PLM leaders revealed 75 percent are willing to explore SaaS for a CAD or PLM solution. For roughly 1 in 3 survey respondents, COVID-19 increased their interest in SaaS-based solutions.

Bottom Line: SaaS is the wave of the future – and industrial companies that invest in this delivery methods for their mission-critical tools now will be well ahead of the competition in the coming years.

Final Thoughts

PTC has made the commitment to and investment in SaaS solutions. Currently, PTC has multiple products available via SaaS, including augmented reality offerings Vuforia Expert Capture, Onshape for product engineering and development, Creo Generative Design Extension and Arena for product lifecycle management. With the foundational PTC Atlas SaaS platform, PTC will expand its SaaS offerings in the coming years.

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Tags: CAD Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Onshape Arena SaaS

About the Author

Nancy White

Nancy White is the content marketing manager for the Corporate Brand team at PTC. A journalist turned content marketer, she has a diverse writing background—from Fortune 500 companies to community newspapers—that spans more than a decade.