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CloudIndustry Insider

The Right Reasons to Choose a Cloud PLM Solution

By August 15, 2023September 9th, 2023No Comments

A lot of the talk these days about digital transformation centers on software as a service (SaaS), also known as, “the cloud.” The cloud will transform your business. The cloud will save you. The cloud will make all innovation and progress and revenue possible! While some of that might be true, it’s important for manufacturers that want to transition to product lifecycle management (PLM) on the cloud to understand that there’s more to it than implementing just any PLM “on the cloud.”

A recent report from Tech-Clarity, “Achieving the Business Value of Cloud PLM,” makes the point that business needs and value, rather than the desire to go digital or save money, are what should drive cloud adoption. They point out that the most common profitability drivers for manufacturers are “customer relationships, digital transformation, long-term profits, product/service innovation, and workforce development”—and note that software cost or saving IT budget appears nowhere on that list. Therefore, the drivers of cloud PLM adoption should be what drives profitability for the company, not the need to save money.

The bottom line is this: not all cloud solutions are created equal and are not one-size-fits-all. To choose the one that’s right for you, you need to evaluate more than just price. You must understand the needs of your business in order to evaluate which cloud PLM solution and service provider is best suited to help you in your journey toward digital transformation. Tech-Clarity especially cautions against too narrowly defining your selection criteria—don’t give your software selection team a list of boxes to check for cloud PLM functionality. Instead, define the problem, not the answer. Make sure your selection team understands the problems your organization is trying to solve with cloud PLM, so they can analyze which software platforms and providers can best meet your needs.

Key Capabilities to Look For in Cloud PLM

Tech-Clarity summarizes the functionality and benefits available in cloud PLM solutions, to give manufacturing organizations an idea of what to look for.

  • Agility and transformation. Leading manufacturing companies recognize the need for these three capabilities in order to succeed. A modern PLM solution will help you achieve them, by “transform[ing] processes to achieve faster new-product development cycle times and driving business-value-driven adoption plans.”
  • A product innovation backbone. The fundamental purpose of a PLM platform is to “enable a cohesive, complete, and seamless digital thread that covers all aspects of [product] development, including requirements, mechanical, electrical, software, validation, and service.” While early cloud PLM solutions weren’t always as rich with functionality—especially for complex, engineering-centric manufacturers—today’s offerings are feature-rich solutions that enable collaboration within the organization and with partners and suppliers, as well as enabling information-sharing across disciplines and throughout the product lifecycle.
  • Flexibility and customization. Innovation is a must in the current marketplace, and that means change. A cloud PLM solution must be able to be tailored to your organization’s needs and processes, and it must be able to adapt over time to your changing requirements. Tech-Clarity cautions that companies should be strategic about that flexibility, however, noting “it’s essential to use standard capabilities where you can, and reserve customization for areas that provide unique value or address unmet needs … that will help you achieve your business strategy.”
  • Support for enterprise/IT needs. A cloud PLM platform must also provide flexibility and control for IT actions, including basics like security and IP protection, as well as the ability to schedule upgrades. As Tech-Clarity puts it, you want “cohesive platform architecture that provides functionality but also allows agility with control.”

The Value of Cloud

That cloud PLM platforms are worth the cost and effort is proven by their startling adoption rates—Tech-Clarity’s research reveals that about 75% of companies “favor, prefer, or mandate the cloud for their new software selections.” But that’s not the whole story. Given the variety of cloud PLM offerings along with your organization’s unique needs, just “any old cloud” isn’t going to deliver the most value.

Of course, cloud software is generally valuable to an organization, with lowered barriers to entry, better security, reduced hardware requirements, and changing from capital expenditure to expense. While those benefits might on their own pay for their implementation, they should be secondary to the real value that could be realized to business and strategic advantages—which is the focus of Tech-Clarity’s article: ensuring business needs and value, not cost, drive cloud PLM adoption. That will guarantee your cloud PLM implementation will actually help you improve the way you work.

For more details, download the full Tech-Clarity report.

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