The problem with original PLM is that it was heavyweight. It needed lots of cash upfront, lots of installation, lots of customization, followed by lots more cash. It could take a year to fully implement.
The heavyweight systems sold by Dassault Systems, PTC, and SAP also raised walls of protection. It was so embedded, so-- like bad pizza, it lay heavy in the stomachs of customers.
Autodesk's approach was to make their PLM 360 lightweight, price it with a low cost (free for the first three), pre-customize it-- stuff like that. Now, Autodesk was not the first to use this approach, but they are the most visible.
The problem to lightweight PLM is, however, is that it is cast off as easily as it is taken on. Cloud PLM can be developed easily by competitors. And Autodesk can be underpriced.
There may well be other competitors, but one I've become aware of is DEXMA from Russia's largest MCAD developer, ASCON. This month they unveiled their public beta at http://cloud.dexma-plm.com. I won't go into all the details, other than to note that they include a part library, have a contractor resource system, generate images of CAD drawings using HTML5, and have a three-level pricing scheme:
- Free -- when you use the online site
- $25/user/month -- for running design-only on your corporate server
- $49/user/month -- for running designs, project logistics, and production control on your corporate server
By comparison, Autodesk charges $60/user/month (minimum one year) after the first three free users, and for that price users get everything included. DEXMA's pricing problem is that they don't beat out Autodesk until a firm reaches 17 users (at the $49 price point). OTOH, free for all users is about as cheap as it gets.
Autodesk defense is to add more verticals and more capabilities quickly. Oh, and be glad that DEXMA is targeting Germany first.
(For more on DEXMA, see