« Lifestyles of the Rich: Carol Bartz | Main | Solid Edge-- the Best MCAD Program You Won't Buy »

June 01, 2006

Comments

Bobby

Another SaaS company to check out for PLM is Datastay. http://www.datastay.com

They are much more robust than and tailorable than Arena, hence the choice by our firm to go with them

Adam

Previous Post:
"SaaS seems like a great idea for transaction-based apps that primarily use someone else's data (think credit card processing, sales tax calculations, travel reservations, payroll).
But PLM's primary role is to manage your company's proprietary product data, and a few hours without your product database sends everyone home."

Agreed. Thats why Arena posts real time system performance metrics for the public, not just customers, to see.

http://www.arenasolutions.com/uptime

I'd be you'd be hard pressed to find an IT admin from any fortune 500 company that can match Arena's uptime guarntee.

Are those per-user or per-site costs?

Tom

SaaS seems like a great idea for transaction-based apps that primarily use someone else's data (think credit card processing, sales tax calculations, travel reservations, payroll).
But PLM's primary role is to manage your company's proprietary product data, and a few hours without your product database sends everyone home.
The nature of mission-critical SaaS (PLM, CRM, SCM, or whatever) has audit/SOX/control implications, and requires explaining to your Board the risks of
* inaccessible or lost data
* info stolen or mistakenly shared with other SaaS clients (how would you even know?)
* system upgrades (and related client updates and user training) imposed without your input
* maintenance downtime oblivious of your project schedules
(Imagine *not* telling your Board!)
I'm not saying these problems are inevitable, but they all require thorough identification, vendor negotiations, and on-going process validation.
By their nature, SaaS clients are usually browser-based and therefore may have weak UIs, limited performance, and limited configuration options. This is not an problem for casual use, but a mission-critical app is typically used all day by at least some users, who may not enjoy the experience.
Furthermore, there is a definite barrier to exiting a SaaS vendor: Consider the cooperation you'll get if you decide to move your data elsewhere. You'll eventually get your data in Oracle, MS SQL, Ingress, MySQL, Access, Excel or a flat file on a dozen CDs, but maybe the SaaS vendor considers his DB schema to be proprietary and won't provide (or simply doesn't have) adequate documentation. How much support can a departing client reasonably expect, on what scehdule, and at what price?
If the *data* is critical to your success, it belongs under your direct control.

SaaS based applications due to their inherit nature, remove many of the traditional barriers to entry/exit that many companies face today in purchasing enterprise software such as: lengthy deployment times and large upfront licence costs. With SaaS platforms, companies can also "try before they buy" and further reduce the risk of implementing a new system or switching from one to another.

Albert

I'm sure there are advantages (and disadvantages). I simply disagree that service vendors are intrinsicly more customer-oriented. *If* (and this is a big if) the SaaS model creates a more functioning market (where buyers can easily move from one vendor to another) *then* SaaS will result in more customer-oriented vendors. But highly competative "product" markets produce the same result.

Jeff Ordonez

I'll politely disagree. For me, it helps to think of the customer-vendor relationship in SaaS as one that begins new every 365th day (for bargaining as well!). Where most of the product companies we grew up using make the majority of their money on ongoing maintenance costs and services, SaaS businesses tend to derive the lion's share of their profits from recurring license fees, which can be all inclusive of upgrades and customer service. The biggest Plus with SaaS, though, isn't a departure from how customers have traditionally paid vendors a lot over time to fatten up their pockets for a product that was oversold the first time - it's the expensive iron, extensive time to deploy, 3rd party DB-licenses, and most importantly, our IT time. In plan black and white, its the tremendous internal investment in physical architecture to run these oversold apps and the valuable time configuring this architecture to manage an application that can now be accessed from the web. I've had bad experiences with a particular SaaS vendor or two, but the model is superior for the needs I've faced.

Albert

>However, with a service, the vendor has a continued interest in making sure the customer is satisfied -- or they don't renew.

This is silly. "service" is a product. The vendor have no more or less interest in keeping the customer satisfied. This is just a different payment and product update model.
It is competition that keeps corporations honest and customers happy.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.