Four Reasons SMBs Should Explore Cloud-Based PLM Now

If you’re a small- to medium-sized business, you may have looked into product lifecycle management before and decided it wasn’t for you- Read on.

A good PLM system can help you keep track of design and associated files, their variants, and their revisions. It can even manage processes like change orders, routing important data to the right people at the right time. It prevents expensive errors, too—like sending the wrong file to manufacturing or updating the wrong version of a model. But traditionally, PLM has been prohibitively expensive and time consuming for companies with just a handful of engineers or designers.

Now there’s good news—the landscape is changing. With cloud-based PLM, professional data management tools are within reach no matter the size of your company. Here are four reasons why:

  1. Installation and configuration are now effortless. In a survey of manufacturers of all sizes, we found that smaller companies cited deployment as the biggest barrier to adopting PLM software. A few years ago, that was a reasonable concern. Anybody who wanted professional PLM could expect to invest in new hardware, IT staff, and licensing. What the cloud changes: With PTC PLM Cloud, small- and medium-sized businesses no longer need to install or manage the PLM technology. Instead, the software is hosted, configured, and kept running by PTC’s professional system administrators—all within a secure environment and with high availability. Use as many seats as you need with little upfront effort. Just log in from your nearest browser.
  1. You need minimal outside help. A total of 42% of small- to medium-sized businesses in our surveys said that they didn’t want to adopt PLM because of the consulting overhead. Typically, you need help to look at your business rules, processes, groups, permissions, etc. to set up your PLM system. The consultant then takes care of the configuration and any special customizations that need to be programmed into your system. That makes sense in a large company, but on a team of just 2-8 engineers, all that consulting may be both expensive and unnecessary. What the cloud changes: For smaller teams, a preconfigured system works fine. PTC has a long history of deploying data and lifecycle management tools at companies of all sizes. We have 1.1 million active users at 25,000 companies. Based on our experience, we have established a standard setup that can bring value to most companies.
  1. You start seeing returns on day 1. In the old days, an enterprise might spend a year getting ready to deploy the perfect PLM system. Between buying new servers, hiring and training dedicated IT staff, engaging consultants, licenses, and downtime, you could expect to pay hundreds of thousands or more before you ever saved a single model or handled engineering change order in the database. What the cloud changes. PTC PLM Cloud works as Software as a Service (SaaS). That is, you rent just the capacity and licenses you need. As such, you can start managing your model data now for just a few dollars a day. Every time the system finds your design in seconds instead of minutes or prevents you from sending the wrong revision to manufacturing—PTC PLM Cloud is paying for itself.
  1. PLM isn’t scaled just for enterprises anymore. PLM software was developed for big enterprises because that’s who needed it most—they had the most data and the most to lose when it wasn’t well managed. As each one of these companies adopted product lifecycle management, they reported huge savings in costs and development time. Here are two examples: Bike parts manufacturer, SRAM, enjoys $1.3M more profit a year because of its PLM system. Chinese appliance maker, Guangzhou Wanbao, says it’s cut development time 25% with the help of its system. Over time, these larger companies not only got their processes under control, they captured a competitive advantage—especially over smaller companies that couldn’t afford PLM of their own. What the cloud changes. With preconfigured, cloud-hosted software, even teams with 1 or 2 engineers can start managing their files more effectively and affordably. Since you pay on a per user basis, you’re not penalized for being small. Best of all, some plans are so flexible you can activate temporary seats when you bring in contract or other short-term help.

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Barriers to adopting data management tools are quickly dropping. Now finally small- to medium-sized businesses can enjoy the advantages enterprise organizations with data management systems have had for years. That’s why it’s time to explore PLM again. Start with the 2-minute video below:


To read more about our survey, download the infographic: Map Your Product Data Management Process.