Siemens Teamcenter Going to the PLM Cloud

What Siemens alluded to us at its two-day Siemens PLM analyst summit in early September 2012 is now official—the vendor has announced that its flagship product lifecycle management (PLM) software Teamcenter is available on the cloud, adding another platform option for Teamcenter customers. Teamcenter on the cloud delivered through an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model extends Siemens PLM Software’s “platform of choice” strategy. Teamcenter is built on an open architecture that gives customers the flexibility to use their preferred technology platform and provider. This “openness and choice” approach demonstrates the company’s commitment to deliver products based on a future-proof architecture, a key tenet of its HD-PLM vision (the other two tenets being intelligently integrated information and high-definition user experience).

Cloud Platform Choice

Teamcenter on the cloud enables companies to move some or all of their computing infrastructure to a third-party cloud service provider versus investing in their own hardware. This option should give customers cost-effective access to enterprise-grade IT infrastructure and resources without the need for capital expenditure. Siemens now supports Teamcenter on three of the leading cloud services: Microsoft Windows Azure, IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The company has completed a certification and enablement program for Teamcenter delivered on each of these service provider’s IaaS offerings. The dynamic scalability of Teamcenter on the cloud should provide faster time to value and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for customers.

Teamcenter on the cloud provides fast and flexible deployment of virtual Teamcenter environments with the ability to dynamically scale infrastructure up and down, based on project needs. Customers can use the service to instantly turn on infrastructure resources without significant upfront investments. Deploying Teamcenter on the cloud enables centralized application management from expert teams, freeing up customers’ IT resources to focus on higher level value-added services such as supplier and partner on-boarding. This can lead to enhanced collaboration and provide faster return on investment.

Necessary, But Is It Enough?

While the benefits such as faster time to value, dynamic scalability, and lower TCO are indisputable, this is just the typical first cloud-enabling step of moving the infrastructure to the cloud. Certainly, there is also the benefit from accessing the PLM system from the Internet, and at the analyst event we also saw a demo of a mobile user interface (UI) in the cloud. But our understanding was that Siemens is not yet going to provide a subscription model or a multitenant cloud.

Siemens acknowledged that its main interest is still the perpetual license play. The vendor admitted that the so-called Triple A PLM players—Arena Solutions, Aras Corp., and Autodesk 360 PLM— are disruptive forces in terms of PLM deployment and licensing. Siemens pledged to be responsive to the market—i.e., it is constantly reviewing its practices—but everything needs to be good for both the vendor and its customers. Term-based licenses and Siemens Finance Services were suggested as possible options in the meantime.
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