PLM in the Cloud?

Geoffrey Moore expressed some reasons to move to the cloud – I will add some thoughts to a few of them…

  • Offload responsibility for investing in and maintaining computing infrastructure
  • Eliminate errors and downtime due to the virtually infinite variations in servers, storage and networks introduced via onsite.
  • Avoid dealing with new software releases

Offload responsibility for investing in and maintaining computing infrastructure.

The IT departments of many companies don’t have enough hours in a day to perform all of their activities as it is, adding another enterprise software solution creates new challenges. These challenges likely require you to hire and train new people.  As you might imagine, the odds of something falling through the cracks increases.

Since IT is in a state of overworked, they may not be as cooperative as you would like. Offloading some of their required activities to a cloud provider can provide some needed relief.

Eliminate errors and down time due to the virtually infinite variations in all things computing – including software releases.

Cloud service companies typically guarantee some very high percentage of up-time. This kind of service is their business – their only business.  They perform the mundane tasks that IT would rather not.

Political Considerations

A department manager is usually the driver for enterprise software solutions like PLM [product lifecycle management]. Often, IT will have their own idea for a solution and it will not match that of the department manager.  Implementing in the cloud is a way to avoid a confrontation that you don’t wish to take on.

Conclusion

Not everyone is going to move to the cloud. You need to make the best decision for your company.  At some point in time, I suspect that companies will have some solutions hosted in the cloud and some onsite.  Let your requirements guide you to the right answer.

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One thought on “PLM in the Cloud?

  1. IMHO “Offload responsibility for investing in and maintaining computing infrastructure” is not just about making life easier for in-house IT folks – it’s also about economies of scale as applied to commodity resources.

    Cloud computing is often compared with utility service provision, in particular electricity supply, and I think the analogy is a pretty good fit. Few organizations build and run their own power stations because they get a better service at a lower cost by buying electricity from a utility company which takes care of building and maintaining the power stations, managing peaks and troughs in workload, coping with plant failures and the like. The same is (becoming) true of IT infrastructure provision and the majority of organizations can get a better service at lower cost by not trying to run their own small data centers but instead buying computing capacity from a computing utility (i.e. cloud service) provider who builds and maintains the data centers, the servers, the storage systems (including backup and restore) etc.

    The electricity supply analogy isn’t perfect since you’re trusting the cloud service provider to look after your data (i.e. not to lose it, and not to let somebody else steal it) and you’d like to be able to switch to an alternative service provider without too much trouble if you find you can obtain a better service elsewhere in the future, so you do need to read the small print in the cloud service contract and prepare for eventualities like the cloud service provider going out of business. However, in general, the people who deliver cloud solutions for hundreds or thousands of companies can offer a better service than the in-house IT department simply because of their economies of scale.

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