…it’s NEW and its Called On-Demand PLM!
Laura McCann-Ramsey, Zweave Inc’s CEO & Founder looks at Service as a Service (SaaS)
Organizing and managing your designs and information in a secure database must be at the core of your business strategies.
Next to people, information is your company’s most important resource. From Technical specifications to cost sheets and approvals to strike-offs, managing information and communicating with your customers is more challenging then ever. If you are a retailer, manufacturer or a trading company, you realize that the volume of external and internal information you need to store and leverage is considerable. Your company needs to manage an ever increasing number of drawings, specifications and RFP’s from each customer, each coming from a different system like CAD, ERP and PDM.
Some companies have intra or extranets that require you to log into their web-based system to see and download files while others have FTP sites. Otherwise the typical day to day business process for both small and big companies alike is e-mail with bandwidth hungry attachments such as PDF’s, spreadsheets and Documents and packages mailed at great expense. Once you receive information, you need to do something with it regardless of how your partners have managed it or stored it. The reality is, as your partners make progress with getting their information out of their siloed systems you may still be outside of their systems and processes leaving you no better then before. And let’s face it; your problem is managing many partners, both internal and external, with many systems compounding the complexity on your side.
With many different types of solutions to choose, from PDM (Product Data Management) to PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and new ways to purchase software from licenses to subscriptions what does it all mean to you? Everyone is talking about software systems that can change the way you work. But what is the best way to overcome your data disorganization? What solutions exist that can truly streamline the collaborative exchanges between you and your customers? And how much can you afford? How long will it take to install and benefit from an implementation? Will your software be able to integrate with your customers if need be?
The ‘OLD’ Software Model
PDM and PLM systems keep track of the vast amounts of data and information generated in day to day business activities: technical specifications, spreadsheets, drawings, documents, Bill of Material (BOM), Points of Measure (POM), patterns, images and other product related information. With either, system prices may vary from the affordable to the extremely expensive. Implementation varies from months to many years. Configuration, customization and integration all add complexity to the software package selection not to mention the infrastructure and IT staff required to support an implementation. Many of your partners have been investing in these systems over the past three years. This ‘old’ software acquisition model requires the purchase of software licenses and hardware, retaining consultants, customizing and configuring applications, payment of maintenance fees, and chasing down upgrades. Your clients are building and managing the infrastructure and taking on the burden of cost and staffing internally. If and when the software market changes or they outgrow it, they start over. Is this what you want? Can you support this type of strategy?