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Why Cloud Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Solutions Are Better

Cloud Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Solutions

Product lifecycle management (PLM) in the cloud helps internal teams an supply chain partners design, develop, and produce products during new product development (NPD) and new product introduction (NPI). Cloud PLM has grown in popularity with manufacturers around the world as a way to manage the complete product lifecycle and deliver high-quality products on time and under budget.

The Rise of Cloud Product Lifecycle Management

The term PLM was invented in the late 1990s as a new type of enterprise software emerged with an exclusive focus on product development. It was born as a response to accelerated design cycles and the increasing need for companies to track product record information (e.g., items, assemblies, drawings, files, engineering change orders, and documentation). Before PLM, the options for product management were either paper-based solutions or expensive product data management (PDM) systems designed to manage computer-aided design (CAD) files. As the rate of change increased and product launch cycles decreased—PLM systems emerged as a solution for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to gain a competitive edge and improve efficiency and control.

The evolution from on-premises to cloud-based PLM

PLM software solutions were originally designed as client/server solutions that needed to be installed at the OEMs site. However, as companies outsourced more, the need to share product design information with internal product teams and external supply chain partners was essential to build and ship high-quality products. The age of dispersed teams required real-time collaboration. Product companies needed to ensure that design partners, contract manufacturers (CMs), and component suppliers were able to share information and create a virtual manufacturing paradigm. Similar to on-premises PLM software application, cloud-based PLM speeds collaboration between all participants from engineering to quality to operations. But because a Cloud PLM system is accessible to anyone with internet access, it is easier to manage complex product records and engineering change management processes which are the lifeblood of successful product development.

How does Cloud PLM differ from On-premises Solutions?

To begin with, Cloud product lifecycle management software solutions require a lower upfront cost to implement and are much cheaper to maintain, providing a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Additionally, cloud-based PLM systems are better at accelerating communication between manufacturers and their supply chain partners while providing increased visibility for all teams—while increasing control and ultimately, quality. On-premises PLM solutions also require a more expensive and time-intensive system integration for MCAD, EDA, CRM, and ERP solutions. In contrast, Cloud PLM solutions are fully managed by the software provider, which means set-up is easy and requires no internal I.T. resources to install, deploy, and maintain the solution. As a result, all teams across the world access the latest version of the Cloud PLM system. Cloud product lifecycle management enables easier, faster, and more accurate collaboration between all teams. It provides role-based policy access to ensure everyone only has access to the information they need, which protects the OEM’s intellectual property (IP) at all times.

5 Advantages of Cloud PLM

  1. Easy to implement
  2. Speeds innovation
  3. Provides real-time collaboration
  4. Brings the entire product record together
  5. Offers the lowest total cost of ownership

Because PLM in the cloud is a more collaborative delivery model for PLM services than traditional on-premises software—it has been adopted by high-tech and medical device manufacturers that need to get products to market faster and faster.

Leveraging Cloud PLM

While Cloud PLM solutions and on-premises PLM solutions both manage product development processes, the cloud solutions offer unique advantages. Manufacturers can use cloud PLM with minimal investments. They can provide instant access to teams and partners without cumbersome client installations or training programs. The challenges of global time differences, language barriers, and mismatched versions of product information are greatly reduced when companies are able to centralize, control, and analyze product records including parts, bills of materials (BOMs), specifications, drawings, files, and engineering change orders (ECOs). Companies that outsource parts or assemblies can also benefit from cloud-based systems because they are able to instantly update product design information for suppliers around the world—ensuring everyone is working off the latest version of the product design.

 A Single Source of Truth for Everyone

On-premises software systems create information and user silos. Having a single source of truth that brings electrical, mechanical, and software designs together eliminates confusing and costly design or manufacturing errors. It reduces scrap and rework. PLM software, in contrast to product data management (PDM), is designed to be used beyond engineering by teams that don’t have access to, or the ability to use complex CAD and PDM applications. When you want to break down barriers to product innovation, cloud-based software fits the bill.

Cloud PLM solutions deliver superior protection

One of the main skepticisms of cloud PLM systems is the level of security offered for product data. PLM in the cloud stores detailed indented BOMs, so a breach of security may compromise intellectual property. Cloud PLM companies, like Arena Solutions, devote significant energy to ensuring optimal security, knowing that cloud software providers must deliver superior protection to ensure every customer’s product information is completely protected. Arena has a multilayered security approach to ensure all customers’ product information is safe and secure. Perimeter defenses such as multiple firewalls and in-house technicians who monitor all logs provide additional security to product data. Arena PLM provides the strongest data encryption available and offers failover and backup data reliability which is routinely tested to ensure SLA 99.5% uptime protection against data loss due to catastrophic events. Application data security available with cloud PLM is on par with cloud banking solutions today.

Arena Solutions is the proven Cloud PLM Leader

With over 1,300 global high-tech, consumer electronics, and medical device customers around the world, Arena Solutions has proven it is the trusted leader in Cloud PLM. But don’t take our word for it. G2 ranks Arena #1 in PLM software vendors. Arena invented Cloud PLM and continues to invest and improve how companies introduce innovative products to their customers. We know that the cloud offers an unparalleled level of access and flexibility to today’s modern, multitiered supply chains. Arena PLM streamlines product development and creates a traceable review process for every aspect of complex product designs. To learn more about how Arena helps turn ideas into innovative products, read our customer success stories.