8 Criteria Your PLM Vendor MUST Have




PLM Cloud is changing the way organizations interact with and access their product data. PLM Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), in particular, allows companies to get to value quickly, scale based on business needs, and ensure management of the solution is simple and secure – all while reducing costs. Choosing the right PLM Cloud vendor is key to reaping the benefits of SaaS. Here are eight capabilities to look for when selecting a PLM Cloud vendor:         

  1. Performance, reliability, and security:  Your product data is invaluable. Ensuring its security and accessibility throughout the enterprise is of the utmost importance. A vendor that offers best-in-class IP protection will give you confidence that your infrastructure is secure. The vendor should also offer continuous systems operation and optimization with at least 99.5% availability. This will help you to experience less downtime, improve compliance, and reduce overall IT concern. 
  2. Closed loop product lifecycle management:  Companies PLM requirements are broad and span multiple departments with varying degree of sophistication. Rather than look for a multitude of point solution providers to support design, manufacturing, services, and other enterprise teams, it’s best to find a vendor that offers end-to-end capabilities across the enterprise. This includes everything from foundational PLM capabilities such as document management, product structure, change management and parts classification to more sophisticated features such as IoT, Augmented Reality, systems integration, and so on. Even if you’re not ready for advanced PLM, you should be enabled to grow into those capabilities when maturity allows for it – becoming a highly differentiated, world-class manufacturer.
  3. Rapid time to value of PLM capabilities:  Outside of having a wide breadth of capabilities, your PLM vendor should also have maturity and expertise in its solutions.  The market is moving quickly and you don’t have time to implement custom built or complicated PLM deployments. With PLM SaaS, you benefit from vendor-driven implementations that are often pre-packaged and pre-configured for fast time to value.
  4. Enterprise collaboration:  As products become increasingly complex, organizations need to find ways to facilitate effective collaboration with global design and supply partners. But it is costly to setup and maintain a global extranet for supplier collaboration, and most organizations are unwilling or unable to manage the associated security risks. It is critically important that your PLM Cloud vendor has tight collaboration capabilities built into its PLM solution. Advanced collaboration capabilities -- such as easy to use, intuitive applications, role-based tailoring, and availability on mobile or tablet devices -- will all help to increase adoption of PLM across your enterprise, thus speeding time to market and improving productivity and product quality.  
  5. Project-based collaboration for the extended value chain: Project-based collaboration enables less organizational complexity, more product innovation, and greater customer and partner intimacy.  Finding a PLM Cloud vendor that offers standardized, efficient processes and automated project execution will ensure timely communication across distributed teams. Tools to track performance will also help to ensure a project’s progress against KPI’s, resource utilization goals and the completion of critical tasks and deliverables.
  6. Flexible pricing and simple packaging:  With on-premise deployments, customers assume a high upfront capital expense for the hardware, software platforms and the solution deployment and configuration. With SaaS, customers assume an operating expense model where capital expenses are eliminated, and the vendor retains responsibility of all system updates and upgrades. Meanwhile, subscription pricing gives organizations the flexibility they need to dynamically and inexpensively support cyclical needs. Active user pricing is also an attractive feature to look for, where you pay only for the actual value realized and adjust as your business grows and PLM adoption increases.  From there you can ramp up and down as demand changes with no risk and no concern over lost opportunity costs. 
  7. Vendor-owned upgrades and updates:  With PLM on-premise, customers assume all the risks, on-going capital and operating expenses associated when applying software and hardware updates and upgrades. With a PLM SaaS adoption, hardware and software do not have to be installed on site, which means there’s less of a requirement for the in-house IT to make updates and changes. Your SaaS provider will retain ownership of this process, reducing associated delays or the inability to scale the on-premise service to meet demand or to support partner and supplier collaboration. The result is a transference of the associated business risk of business critical application uptime to the vendor.
  8. Systems integration and configuration Another key consideration for your PLM Cloud vendor should be systems integration capabilities. The ability to integrate your xCAD and PLM systems and extend to other enterprise systems such as ERP will help to unify your product data across the organization into a single source of truth. The risk, time, and investment that otherwise would have gone into basic integrations and maintaining multiple systems will now be transferred to your SaaS provider, and your time can instead be invested in enabling new capabilities.
There are countless reasons to embrace PLM in the Cloud, and the first step is to find a partner who will guide you through this journey. Still trying to understand how PLM fits into cloud computing? Read CIMdata’s new ebook, “Making the Connection: The Path to Cloud PLM