How Cloud-Native Solutions Are Transforming Product Development

Written by: George Lewis

Read Time: 4 min

It is estimated that by 2025, 85% of companies will have a cloud-first strategy, and over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms.

Natural disasters, pandemics, and other unforeseen events have accelerated cloud technology adoption, as companies strive to be more resilient during volatile times and reduce costs.

In the case of product manufacturers, constant supply chain disruptions, ever-changing regulatory requirements, and greater product complexity are making it even harder to remain competitive. Traditional point software solutions and spreadsheets are proving to be problematic as companies adopt remote work practices and outsource more design and production to contract manufacturers. Distributed teams cannot readily identify and resolve issues that impact a product launch using these siloed approaches. Furthermore, it is challenging to gather critical input from all key stakeholders, including customers, throughout the product lifecycle.

A modern approach to product development with cloud-native technology

With cloud product lifecycle management (PLM) and quality management system (QMS) solutions, manufacturers can better manage all aspects of product development and drive greater efficiency.

PTC’s cloud-native platforms (Arena PLM and QMS) provide a connected, efficient, and agile way for globally dispersed teams to work and successfully launch products. By aggregating product and quality information into a single source of truth that can be accessed anytime and anywhere, internal teams and external supply chain partners can quickly execute design reviews, sourcing, regulatory audits, and other critical tasks. Because the product bill of materials (BOM) is linked to requirements, corrective and preventive actions (CAPAs), supplier lists, and other vital records—everyone maintains complete visibility and traceability to make quick, informed decisions and stay on track.

Productivity is further enhanced with a one-click synchronization of the product BOM and change management processes across Arena PLM/QMS and PTC’s cloud-native CAD system (Onshape), as demonstrated with the Onshape-Arena Connection. Engineers can easily distribute design information to downstream team members and external partners without having to access multiple systems. This facilitates earlier and more frequent design for manufacturability (DFM) reviews to ensure that high-quality products get built on schedule and within budget.

These cloud-native systems also support agile product development through the frequent exchange of information. Cross-functional teams can openly share design ideas and implement changes within rapid iterations, enabling organizations to be nimbler in addressing customers’ evolving needs.

The cloud-native difference

Usually, we identify all cloud solutions as being maintenance-free and inexpensive; however, that’s not universally true. While the terms “cloud native” and “cloud enabled” are sometimes used interchangeably when referring to enterprise applications, major differences do exist.

Cloud-enabled vs. cloud-native solutions


Cloud-enabled solutions 

 Cloud-native solutions

Built in the Cloud



Hosted in the Cloud



Multi-tenant architecture



Fast, no-code implementation



Maintenance-free; minimal costs



Routine software releases from vendor without downtime



Highly scalable




Cloud-enabled systems are designed with the same client-server architecture that is commonly used for traditional on-premises software. Although they are hosted in the Cloud, a separate instance of these systems must be maintained at each individual site. Thus, clients often incur added costs stemming from extensive vendor maintenance. Updating the software to the latest version is also burdensome, as it requires special programming to configure the software to meet user requirements.

In contrast, cloud-native SaaS applications are hosted and built in the Cloud. Their multi-tenant architecture requires only a single instance of the software to be managed by the vendor. This enables software to be quickly deployed without the investment of costly coding and IT infrastructure. It also provides companies maximum scalability, allowing the rapid addition of new users and features as business needs evolve. Additionally, regular software enhancements are seamlessly delivered to customers without any disruption.

Cloud-native solutions are uniquely designed for remote collaboration. Because user access controls and other security measures are inherent with the technology, companies can readily exchange information with external business partners while being confident that their intellectual property is always protected.

Ultimately, cloud-native platforms transform how organizations communicate and execute new product development processes to achieve better business outcomes.

Why the cloud-native distinction matters

Many of today’s SaaS PLM and QMS solutions are touted as having advanced cloud capabilities, yet they often fall short of meeting customer expectations. These client-server applications cannot provide the same scalability, security, efficiency, and user experience as a true cloud-native solution. And they end up costing more in the long run. Ultimately, companies are hindered from achieving their product and financial objectives.

Key takeaway: If you are evaluating different enterprise PLM or QMS systems for your business, keep the distinction between cloud enabled and cloud native in mind. By embracing a true cloud-native solution, you can better navigate these times of uncertainty and achieve commercialization success.

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Tags: Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Arena Cloud Native Agile

About the Author

George Lewis

George Lewis is the VP of Growth Strategy for Arena, a PTC Business, where he works closely with every business unit to extend the value of Arena Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) into new and existing markets. George is an industry veteran with 20+ years of product development experience. He began his career working for The BFGoodrich Company as a project engineer responsible for ensuring customer success in injection molding technologies. Subsequently, he held roles in the CAD/CAM/PDM industry, including customer implementations of technologies from PTC and Dassault Systèmes. George led Arena’s solution consulting organization for 12 years before transitioning to Propel Software and Oracle. His consulting, industry, and sales expertise made him the ideal candidate to rejoin Arena in 2019 and lead corporate strategy and development. George has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Akron.