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Concurrent Engineering Blog

Why SaaS PLM makes sense

Posted by Concurrent Engineering on 20-Feb-2023 09:15:00

Customising legacy PLM solutions to suit your unique needs has always been challenging. Could the cloud provide the answer? Let’s find out more.




In an ideal world, everything would ‘just work’. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. The PLM solution you need to run your manufacturing operations is unlikely to give you everything you need straight out of the box, so you’ll need to add some customisations. However, that’s often where the problems begin, and you risk creating technical debt. 


SaaS-based PLM solutions could be the answer, giving manufacturing enterprises the best of both worlds. In this article, we’ll explain how and why.


Why customise?


Even though it’s a great deal of work with significant risks attached, manufacturers typically need to customise their PLM implementation when they first bring it in. This is because the solution won’t have every functionality they need and won’t exactly match how the company wants to work.


In the past, developers would add extra code to their PLM solution. However, this code eventually becomes legacy code, typically unsupported by your PLM software vendor. IT teams need to work around this added code when upgrades are released. This builds up technical debt, growing each time there’s a new upgrade.


Technical debt is a considerable risk for manufacturing enterprises and can seriously hinder digital transformation initiatives and best practices. 


Introducing SaaS PLM


Cloud-based SaaS solutions are the answer to this problem because they are, at the same time:

  • Robust enough to support customisation without adding to technical debt
  • Functional and flexible enough to require minimal customisation out of the box


The goal of any PLM implementation is to create a digital thread that gets all processes working together, no matter where they originate (e.g. engineering, production, quality). To achieve this, you need to modernise your operations rather than try to enforce your old methods on your new system.


SaaS PLM solutions like Windchill+ allow you to modernise your processes out of the box. When customisation is essential to ensure best practices, engineers can duplicate the right processes inside the solution.


Further benefits


But easy customisation isn’t the only benefit that SaaS PLM can deliver. SaaS PLM solutions are also:

  • Scalable – It’s easy to add users and upgrade to new versions
  • Extensible – Adding new software at other parts of the digital transformation process won’t cause your PLM solution to break
  • Safe – Guardrails ensure any customisations align with best practices and don’t break when you upgrade to new versions, reducing technical debt


PTC built Windchill+ to be easy to configure, supporting more types of customisation as the future unfolds.


Let’s grow with Windchill+


Windchill+ from PTC gives users a customisable, extensible PLM solution straight out of the box. Whatever customisations you’ve made before, it will support them without breaking the system, but you’ll still be able to make use of the great new features that come with every new version.


As you use Windchill+ and PTC collects more feedback, it will widen your customisation guardrails to give you more excellent functionalities.


Find out more