Rich, I agree with you about the cloud impact on PLM. It is a good fit for several reasons. The first is that it is an infrastructure that is not locked into any one department. This has always been an issue with traditional approaches. With more and more projects being done across organizations and with external companies, this is generally a problem. The cloud based systems solve that problem.
The issue with the cloud is security. This is being addressed in several areas. Even with Electronic Medical Records there are cloud based solutions being proposed. There are good, standards based, solutions to the issue of security and privacy available in the cloud. They just require an adherence to the protocols.
Since design is on the cloud, it only makes sense to connect the rest of the product chain that way. A all-in-one package, to use an old term, will save plenty of time. Collaboration will be easier. However, I wonder in removing the ties from the office will make much of an impact. The cloud lets people travel and access the data, besides high ranking people, will it truly benefit the design cycles?
I like the idea, just to sever the engineer from esoteric (and often old) management software packages, and let them access it on the platform of choice. Besides that, what do you all see as the benefit of PLM on the go?
The notion of security comes up frequently in discussions about cloud computing. One marketing person at a cloud vendor was asked by a prospective customer about security. The person's answer was, "First, tell me about the security you have here at your site."
Cloud vendors live and breath on the quality of their security.
Rob, interesting Story. Eventhough security is a major concern with adoption of cloud technology; there are certain measures to make it somewhat secure. As of now only high end hackers are able to spy the data flow and it applicable only for high end designs or new products. Most of the Small and Medium level companies can use cloud technology, where their PLM or designs are not so crucial. About 90% of companies are coming under this category.
Rob, such security threats can be addressed by using either a Private cloud or Hybrid cloud. The biggest bottle neck is connectivity. Since cloud is get connected through network (Wifi/broadband/3-4G), the data transfer speed is a big issue.
Rob, in public cloud, data access and transfer depends up on the bandwidth of the network service provider. Such data access is happening over the public internet access channel. In my country as of now, the maximum speed available for 3G network is 3.6 Gbps and for broadband its 25Mbps. So 10GB data transfer to Amazon cloud from my desktop may take somewhere between 15-40 minutes.
It really is nothing new – Just the gimmicky marketing Buzz word "The Cloud". For decades, managers have been asking the Engineers for the updated, latest spread sheets and BOMs. You either get a "real-time" report (resides on the server) or a "Snap-shot in time" (resides on my home drive). Pros & Cons are obvious; it's about unrestricted control of the data therein. But the concept is as old as the ancient "Apple-Share" from the 1980's.
Nice summary of what The Cloud really is, JimT. Whenever I see TV commercials that mention The Cloud, I wonder how many people in the viewing audience are scratching their heads and asking, "What the heck is the cloud?"
My mind always takes me to the scene in Toy-Story, where Buzz Lightyear falls into the vending machine filled with (squeaky-toy) 3-Eyed aliens. When Buzz says "take me to your leader", they all slowly gaze upward in unison, and say, "The C-L-A-W". Substitute the same Stepford Wife thinking with "The C-L-O-U-D." ...but that's just my odd thinking ....
Richard, cloud has lots of advantages, especially when team is distributed geographically at different locations. Since all the changes or data updation are reflecting in real time environment, it can be a best way to make the modifications and to prepare a final draft. But the drawback is, it require a seamless high speed data connectivity, which is the back bone of cloud accessibility.
Richnass, my answer is simple. If you are able to compromise in security, it has an outweigh. Eventhough everybody is concerned about security issues, if the datas are not critical, then there is no need of such worries.
I agree with the author that most companies would benefit from a PLM system (cloud-based or not). The challenge has been that a PLM is truly an all-encompassing system covering activities from product design all the way to manufactured product out the door. Most Fortune 500 companies and medium-sized manufacturers have ERP systems already in place for the manufacturing end, often from the company SAP. Replacing the entire ERP system of a functioning company is pretty much a non-starter, much less getting an entire PLM system from another company installed to replace it. Meeting that challenge is the obstacle - basing it in the cloud is just frosting on the cake. Just my two cents (and painful experience) talking.
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