When Cloud PLM Selection Goes Wrong

Written By: Julie Pike
  • 3/1/2018

When selecting a cloud PLM vendor, the newly initiated can quickly become overwhelmed by the vast array of cloud deployment options available: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS; public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud… the right choice for your organization isn’t always immediately clear. However, choosing the correct option is critical to your implementation’s success… and your bottom line. 

A Case Study in Cloud PLM Selection

A large, international manufacturer was looking to invest in a Cloud PLM solution. They ended up choosing an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) service because of its low cost. However, they did not understand what this choice entailed. An IaaS cloud service provides a low-level server, storage, and networking infrastructure. It places the responsibility of sizing servers, ensuring availability and performance, and developing a disaster recovery plan on the shoulders of the customer. An IaaS service provider typically charges users based on usage – allowing customers to scale up and down to suit their budget. The low cost compared to other deployment options was what had attracted the manufacturer to the option in the first place. 

However, the manufacturer was really looking for a cloud provider that would manage the entire system for them. Imagine their surprise when they received a link to the provider’s portal so the manufacturer could configure the servers themselves!


The manufacturer contracted with a third-party to configure and administer their servers and set up the network and disk space. Unfortunately, this contractor did not have experience as a database administrator, was not familiar with the cloud PLM software, and wasn’t able to ensure the cloud environment’s resiliency in case of disaster. This forced the manufacturer to turn to a third company to set up the database, run the software, and ensure application and infrastructure resiliency. 

In the end, the manufacturer ended up working with three companies to receive the cloud service they had originally wanted. Not only was this hugely inconvenient, it forced the manufacturer to spend a considerable amount of time, effort, and money to piece together a solution they could have easily achieved with a PLM solution that combines hardware, software, and application support.

A PLM solution that combines hardware, software, and application support is a more comprehensive service that delivers all infrastructure, sizes servers, is accountable for availability and performance, and ensures that the architecture and a disaster recovery strategy is in place. Users of a comprehensive cloud PLM solution also have access to after-hours support and get the additional benefit of having the provider take care of all system upgrades. Unlike IaaS, where cost is scaled based on usage, users of a comprehensive PLM cloud solution usually pay a monthly subscription fee with costs determined on a tiered usage/value system (i.e. prices for a basic, intermediate, and advanced levels of service).


When selecting the best cloud PLM deployment for your organization, it is important to do careful research, to thoroughly question potential vendors before making a final selection, and have a complete understanding of roles and responsibilities in maintaining the cloud service (the customer vs the cloud provider) before signing the contract.

Learn more about the most common types of cloud services available and discover key things to consider your selection process in the Tech-Clarity PLM Cloud Buyers Guide



  • Windchill
  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
  • Electronics and High Tech

About the Author

Julie Pike

Julie Pike is the PLM Content Marketing Specialist at PTC. She has spent her career in marketing and communications primarily in the technology industry. Follow her on Twitter at @julie_pike.