The Business Benefits of Digital Transformation Supported by Windchill+

The benefits of Application Lifecycle Management for complex software product development

In today's complex and volatile landscape, manufacturers face myriad challenges. When it comes to products, these are more complex and customizable; customers demand more features and reliability while supply chains are being disrupted. To further complicate operations, competition is fierce, and evolving cybersecurity threats threaten operations. Facing all these obstacles, manufacturers find that legacy technology no longer guarantees the necessary speed, agility, and security. Keeping pace with modern challenges and reaping the business benefits of digital transformation requires modern software that moves faster.

To overcome these challenges, they are increasingly turning to Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, one of the IT industry's fastest-growing categories that is gaining popularity among many enterprises because of its flexibility and cost. One software solution that is beginning to take advantage of the benefits offered by SaaS is product lifecycle management (PLM). SaaS PLM software takes the traditional enterprise PLM with its comprehensive capabilities and optimizes it with all the benefits of cloud computing and services.

The benefits that have made PLM such a valuable tool, such as configurable workflows, change management processes, and BOM capabilities, alongside zero downtime upgrades, frictionless adoption of new modules, and built-in security, are native to SaaS PLM. Market intelligence experts IDC forecasts a surge in adoption of SaaS PLM over the next few years driven by its unique ability to transform product development and manufacturing processes digitally. As a result, businesses rely on SaaS to redefine the customer experience and accelerate the creation of innovative products with a more agile, secure way of working.

How to get on the road to a SaaS future?

In the latest PTC Talks webinar, Johan Ekengren, Senior Director – Nordic Market Lead, and Akhil Jain, Vice President PLM, both from DxP Services, discuss the market trends and business benefits of digital transformation through PTC's SaaS PLM offering. Windchill+ shares the same codebase as Windchill's market-leading PLM solution and offers the same best-in-class features, functions, and usability. In addition, with a proprietary cloud architecture and pre-built best practices emphasizing security, performance, and interoperability, Windchill+ accelerates time-to-value.

From their interaction with the market, they understand the leading companies are continuing their digital transformation to gain a competitive advantage. This will come as no great surprise but what is more remarkable is that this is accelerating. "When we discuss the digital transformation journey with our customers, it is more and more seen as very important to them to have SaaS as part of their digital transformation journey," Ekengren says. "Most of them consider SaaS a natural part of the digital transformation. That applies to CAD and PLM to a greater extent than we have seen in the past."

What is the rationale for moving to the cloud?

Most of them are already on their path or have already embarked on the journey to have SaaS as a natural part of their environment, or they are seeking guidance on how to define and adopt a SaaS strategy. The rationale for this strategy varies, but typically because they need to launch new product programs rapidly, it is crucial to have that agility. In addition, manufacturers are experiencing a complex situation regarding system integrations with data exchange across enterprises and how to handle and manage frequent application changes to deliver new features into their PLM environments.

Windchill has been one of the leading PLM solutions for the past two decades now. One of the reasons for initially choosing PTC software is its ability to allow for flexibility and being able to customize to align with the business needs. But over time, that has also resulted in a high total cost of ownership and high complexity when it comes to multiple and complex customizations. This is becoming more of a problem for the customers DxP speaks with. "When they turn to us, they typically ask us, how can we speed things up?" Ekengren explains. "But how can we also embrace the new technology and use a new way of configuring and customizing the software in the best possible way?"

Is it still possible to customize SaaS PLM?

One common misconception about SaaS PLM is that it stifles customization. SaaS does not mean that you are not allowed to perform customization. On the contrary, customization is permitted; it is just a different process. Customers are supplied with guardrails, and customization must occur within these restraints.

In another study from IDC, almost 80 percent of the respondents are either using SaaS or plan to use SaaS because of the inherent advantages of a better customer experience, performance, and system upgrades. Once PLM is in the SaaS environment, that is your last upgrade because all Windchill+ future upgrades will be done seamlessly behind the scenes. That means there is zero downtime with no concerns about any capital expenditure because moving from one version to another can be a considerable capital expense.