Product lifecycle management (PLM) is the backbone of any organization’s operations. It acts as the single source of truth for everything related to product development—from ideation through production and retirement. Unfortunately, many teams are stuck using outdated PLM solutions that lack the breadth of features required for today’s increasingly technical operations. However, moving to a modern solution doesn’t have to be a headache. By selecting a SaaS PLM, teams can get up and running quickly without the overhead required for traditional on-premises solutions. But the question remains: How do you pick the best SaaS PLM? Here are our top tips.

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Top SaaS PLM Considerations

SaaS PLM Consideration #1: Ease of Adoption

Whether you’re implementing PLM for the first time or you’re changing solutions, choosing the right PLM is an important undertaking. To start your search, answer these two questions: How easy is it to implement this SaaS PLM? And how easy is it to use? (This will tell you how readily people will jump on board with the solution.)

Adopting a SaaS PLM has numerous benefits that streamline the process and remove multiple barriers.

  • No need to set up operating systems, database management systems, or other infrastructure software
  • No need to procure or implement new hardware
  • No need to hire support staff to maintain and run hardware or software

SaaS PLM also makes it easy to scale up use across an organization, quickly adding new users and capabilities as needed. This increased agility keeps you ahead of the competition without committing resources from the get-go—an issue that often prevents a new solution from getting off the ground. The best SaaS PLM solutions come with out-of-the-box setups to get up and running quickly and provide a solid base for additional customization down the line.

Lastly, SaaS PLM offers additional agility by allowing companies to regularly add or update platform features. Updates are automatically deployed based on subscription status with little to no downtime. With this setup, enhanced tools and features are available right away so your team can start working with new capabilities sooner.

The value of PLM lies in it being your organization’s single source of truth, so the solution you choose must be easy to set up and integrate across teams or you risk missing out on all its benefits.

SaaS PLM Consideration #2: Future-Proof Features

Second, you’ll want to evaluate whether the SaaS PLM you’re looking into includes all the features you need to support your business. It’s important to consider not just your immediate needs but the future goals and business plans that will rely on your PLM to function.

While the exact list of requirements will be different for each company, here are the top features we recommend you look for:

  • Global product development support: SaaS solutions allow distributed teams to work together more efficiently. Organizations can truly take a “design anywhere, build anywhere” approach, giving them increased flexibility to scale and support global operations.
  • Streamlined collaboration: Similarly, enabling collaboration is a huge value driver for product development. SaaS PLM makes it easier to collaborate internally and with suppliers, customers, and regulators. A good SaaS PLM will include advanced access permissions and built-in security to encourage this teamwork while protecting critical IP.
  • IT burden offload: The right SaaS PLM solution will help offload some IT responsibilities so teams can focus their energy on more value-added initiatives instead of ongoing admin and maintenance tasks. However, not all SaaS solutions are the same, so evaluate your options regarding traditional cloud offerings vs. multitenant or some other variation.

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SaaS PLM Consideration #3: Pricing Structure

Of course, pricing always influences the final decision for any software solution. Similar to feature set, we cannot give you an exact rule for how much SaaS PLM should cost—but here are a few pricing components you should evaluate:

  • Pricing model: Explore the pricing model and understand which option makes sense for the operations of your team and the size of your company. Some PLM SaaS solutions are on perpetual licenses, some use SaaS-based licenses, and some are subscription models. Make sure to understand what each type gets you and whether or not it suits your goals.
  • Scalability: One of the main benefits of a SaaS PLM is its scalability—and its price structure should reflect that. Many organizations choose to start small and scale up, so you’ll want a solution that allows you to do that. We recommend looking for a solution that offers a module or role-based setup so you can increase (or decrease) access to capabilities as needed. Also, consider how quickly scaling up can occur to make sure those requirements meet your organization’s long-term goals.
  • Flexibility: Tied to scalability is flexibility. Numerous pricing options can lower the barrier to entry, support increased agility, and reduce risks. However, it’s important to understand how the price varies and what costs are associated with scaling in terms of upgrades and maintenance.

When considering PLM cost, it’s critical to consider not only which features you need but how easy it is to scale up those features—and how that shifts the pricing.

Windchill+ | The Best SaaS PLM

If you’re looking for a SaaS PLM that hits all the marks, we recommend Windchill+. As the largest PTC reseller on the West Coast (with recent expansion to the Northeast), we’re a bit biased, but we have helped hundreds of customers make the switch from other PLM solutions to Windchill.

Even better, Windchill+ is built on the exact same code base and gives you the same rich features as Windchill—all in a SaaS offering. That also means it has the same leading features and is backed by a company that is constantly investing in and updating its solution. Windchill+ has the flexibility organizations need to start with a smaller implementation and then scale up as needed—including role-based permission and licensing so teams can pay for the features needed on a user-by-user basis. It includes all the core features you need:
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  • Ease of administration
  • Open architecture
  • Simplified collaboration
  • Zero-downtime upgrades
  • Built-in security
  • Full stack services

Plus, Windchill delivered as SaaS enables capacity beyond that of traditional PLM solutions. This added value provides benefits to users and teams across your entire organization:

  • Accelerated time-to-capacity
  • Embedded best practice workflows
  • Rapid deployment

Ready to get started?

If you’re interested in purchasing Windchill+ or you’re wondering how it compares to the original on-premise version, we’d be happy to help. Just contact us.