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Category: Cloud

23 Aug 2018
The Path to Cloud PLM White Paper

Adopting Cloud PLM in the Manufacturing Industry

A newly released study titled Making the Connection: The Path to Cloud PLM, published by CIMdata, explores the growth and adoption of cloud product lifecycle management (PLM) systems. The study examines how cloud computing is changing the manufacturing market. This report follows a similar report, which I wrote about in a blog titled Solve Cross-Functional Collaboration Challenges with Cloud PLM.

The report discusses about the challenges and benefits of cloud computing. I wanted to dive deeper into two topics. Why customers are moving to the cloud and how to make the cloud fit into your PLM strategy.

The Path to Cloud PLM White Paper

Download the CIMdata Report

Why Customers are Moving to the Cloud

There are several advantages to adopting cloud (PLM) solutions. For starters, cloud PLM systems are easier and less expensive to manage. The vendor manages the software for you. They also host the solution on their servers and will upgrade the application. Cloud solution providers are responsible for the security and maintenance of the application. And since you are subscribing to the solution, you can spread the costs out over time.

Cloud PLM solutions are scalable. You can start with a few users, then expand as you need more. Or you can start with a few basic functions then increase the functionality. You can also subtract users or functions at any time. The great thing is, there’s no need for lengthy implementation processes. In some cases, you can be up and running in a manner of minutes.

You don’t need to buy new hardware or network equipment to install or expand the cloud PLM system. That will make your finance people happy since they don’t need to spend precious funds on more hardware.

Creating a centralized data repository is another benefit of PLM. You can store your data in one location and multiple users can access the data. Having the data available on the cloud means employees can access it from anywhere in the world. It’s what many in the industry call a ‘single source of truth’. Centralized processes end the practice of storing documents in different network drives. It also streamlines version control and engineering change orders. Think of how much time you spend searching for the right document or the correct version of a 3D CAD file.

Innovative Cloud PLM Features

There are many innovative apps that leverage the collaborative nature of cloud computing. For instance, Virtual Reality applications let you share your CAD designs. Anyone can view your design in a virtual environment. You can also create custom dashboards to organize your PLM process. The 3DView app allows you to share your CAD files with non-CAD users. Other apps allow you to create social communities to gather customer feedback.

Different Paths to PLM in the Cloud

The CIMdata study presents three paths to move towards a cloud PLM solution. They suggest you don’t need to make the move at once. But you should start by identifying the best migration path for your company.

Different paths to cloud PLM
Source: Making the Connection: The Path to Cloud PLM, CIMdata

Augment

You can ‘encapsulate’ your existing PLM system with existing functionality. For instance, CAD users can use on-premise design software and add PLM functions.

Increment

You can take the incremental approach. For instance, some features are better suited to the cloud. On-premise customers can add cloud-based project management or requirements management functions. You could also roll out the cloud solution by department or business units. Either way, the first step should be to identify and locate your key data files. This will help streamline the implementation process.

Switch

Making a total switch is a final alternative. But it’s also the riskiest. If you do choose this path, we recommend working with a partner who has experience in this area. A complete switch might work if your company has not yet adopted a PLM solution. You also have to consider what effect the change will have on your total IT infrastructure. For instance, will your cloud PLM integrate with your ERP, MRP, or CRM solutions?

You’re Not Alone

Research firms like CIMdata can provide you with guidance and advice. You can also speak with the PLM experts here at Adaptive. We’ll be glad to help you plan your next move.

Download the CIMdata Report

19 Mar 2018

Solve Cross-Functional Collaboration Challenges with Cloud PLM

A study performed in January 2018 by CIMdata, in partnership with leading PLM solution providers, uncovered compelling insights into plans for cloud PLM adoption. CIMdata’s motivation for the survey of industrial companies was a belief that cloud adoption in the PLM space was slower than in other enterprise application areas—a belief that was surprisingly not borne out by responses. What CIMdata did find is that cloud PLM seems poised for significant growth in the near future.

Some of the most intriguing information in CIMdata’s paper about the research, Cloud PLM: Understanding Adoption Prospects, has to do with the benefits survey respondents expect to reap from cloud PLM. Topping the list is making data management easier for IT teams, as well as easy scalability, lower costs—for both startup and ongoing maintenance—and greater simplicity and predictability for future upgrades and validation of implementations. Top concerns respondents expect to face with cloud PLM implementations are issues with integration, security, inability to customize, lack of confidence in cloud-based performance, and potential data-lock-in.

But the most interesting metric has to do with the biggest challenges respondents’ face with their PLM implementation, particularly the fact that cross-functional coordination is number one on the list. This ubiquitous concern is independent of PLM, of course, and speaks more to the intractability of many entrenched organizational structures. Over and over the issues that arise during any kind of enterprise platform implementation are how to get information out of departmental or team silos and into a central repository to be accessed company-wide.

Doing so requires not only a procedural change, from one software platform and set of habits to another but also a cultural change that can be similarly tough for an entrenched corporate structure. Overcoming resistance to change is a universal, perennial challenge for companies and organizations large and small, but it’s the first step toward making meaningful improvements that can help productivity, employee satisfaction, and ROI.

One of the best tools for overcoming resistance is, ironically, one of the sources of concern: a cloud PLM solution. But it’s better seen not as a new piece of software mandated for company-wide adoption, but as a single source of truth—a single location where all product and part information resides, connected and cross-referenced, so all teams and departments can access any information they need, any time they need it, and know with total certainty that the data is up to date.

The move to a single source of truth must begin with the enterprise making a clear decision to change. To guarantee cross-functional collaboration takes root, there must be clear organizational goals driving the activity. Executive sponsorship of the process is key, paired with team accountability, to ensure everyone in the company moves forward together.

Benefits of Cloud PLM

When a company gets onboard with cloud PLM, every department, every team, and every individual stand to realize the benefits. The “single source of truth” means a single platform delivering all the functionality the enterprise requires, making installation, administration, and maintenance easier for everyone. It also means a central repository—a central location where all product data is stored and where everyone can find the information they need. This ultimately reduces the burden on individual departments, especially engineering, that no longer have to respond to multiple requests for information tailored to another department’s needs.

PLM based in the cloud offers anytime, anywhere access and, typically, high availability, without the attendant burden on the corporate budget to finance or IT to maintain a capable system. High-end PLM platforms are also easy to integrate with a wide variety of other enterprise systems, such as ERP, CRM, MRP, SharePoint, and more.

In addition, a cloud PLM platform enables the complete enterprise collaboration package: all of the different activities and actions that combine to deliver business intelligence and reporting, including design, simulation, virtual manufacturing, additive manufacturing, and inspection and metrology.

In the end, with an integrated, comprehensive cloud PLM system, it becomes much more than a piece of software, but a single source of truth for all teams who take an active part in bringing a product to market.  This is the level of true collaboration that will help to improve an organization’s bottom line.