3DMojo – taking more swipes at PLM marketing


Well a few weeks ago it the guys over at 3DMojo had a problem with “express”. Now they have a problem with “turnkey “. While I’ll give them that the use of the word turnkey is definitely a flash to the past, I’m not so sure I agree with the key part of their argument:

So, I just gotta ask the question: if turnkey were simple when it comes to creating product deliverables, wouldn’t other vendors simply call it that? Doesn’t turnkey mean it’s not simple?

The short answer: no. The longer answer: like it or not the markets are conversations (reference Cluetrain). The language you use in conversations is important. And while “turnkey” may have a retro or negative connotation to some, I think simple conveys a lot of meaning to many that is not wanted or intended for what we are doing with the PLM appliance. Simple can certainly mean easy (which might be a better word…or maybe not), but it can also mean less feature rich, more constrained or even dumbed-down.
What we are trying to do is take a multi-step buying deployment process and compress it down for our customers. Rather than having to figure out what software they want, then what hardware they need and then combining the two, we deliver the end result they are looking for from the start. Maybe turnkey is not the best way to describe it, but simple isn’t any better.






7 responses to “3DMojo – taking more swipes at PLM marketing”

  1. Chris Williams Avatar

    You are kidding yourself if you think by putting everything in a box with a bow cutomers will loose interest in understanding the solution.
    The complex and long selling process of PLM due to the massive amount of customization required and the number of departments that must agree. To be very cynical I would say turnkey is about tying to pull the wool over the customers eyes.
    If turnkey is what is required to finiallymake PLM grow then customers could have purchased one of the many ASP solutions out there. Beyond ARENA the majors like PTC and DS have this type of out of the box solution.

  2. Chris Avatar

    I don’t think they loose interest in understanding the solution. I think they can actually spend more time thinking about the solution and less time worrying about details that they can’t add value to, like “what processor should I buy?”, “how much memory do I need?” “how should I configure active directory?” and start worrying about things that will help their business like “how can I get more users up and running more quickly?”, “which project should use this first?” and “am I getting the ROI I projected I would?”
    The basic truth is that bundling is a fact of life. It just makes buying easier. You can’t go to a fast food restaurant without getting offered a value meal. You can’t go to buy a PC from Dell or HP or Apple without getting a bundle of printers, monitors and software. Rather than a sign that PLM is too complex I think the appearance of these bundles means merely that its maturing to the point where there can be a lot of pre-configuration that meets most people’s needs, reducing the amount of on-site and customer work that needs to be done.
    On the point about ASPs, I think there is some merit to that, although the ASP offerings from most PLM vendors (with maybe the exception of Arena) leave a lot to be desired in terms of multi-tenancy and scaling. However I don’t think it’s an either or question (“turnkey appliance” or ASP). I think these options represent a range: from traditional acquisition of component parts to appliances to hosted ASPs to true Software as a service. Each delivery method has its pluses and minuses and not all will be right for every situation. However that doesn’t mean the whole lot is not worth having.

  3. Chris Williams Avatar

    You are correct that technically the ASP and Appliance delivery provides a different solution to the customer. But at a high level they are both trying to pretend there is a simple solution.
    Reading your comments on CPU, memory, and Active Directory make me wonder who you talk to versus who I sold to when I was selling PLM solutions. In all my years of selling PLM I never saw a sales process slowed down by any of these questions. That said I have seen most customers debate “how will I get an ROI”, “What will be my ROI”, “Do we really need to do this”, “How do I pick vendor A or B they all seem the same”, and “Where should I start”. The other thing that struck me as I write this is how many customer by from multiple vendors. So is turnkey another way of trying to lock a cusotmer into a single vendor solution?

  4. Chris Avatar

    I don’t think we are pretending about anything. Why is it that PLM can’t be simple? While there are certainly workflows that can be very complex (mechatronics for example), there are also some that are relatively well understood and dare I say uniform (like engineering collaboration) that are suitable for packaging in things like appliances and ASPs.
    As far as the sales process, I agree that it doesn’t get slowed down by those IT questions. But the deployment process (i.e. time to value) can and does get slowed down. The appliance solutions still require all the debate about whether they need the solution, etc. So appliances nor ASPs shorten the selling cycle, but they can and do shorten the time it takes to get from a decision to the time users are being productive.
    Lastly on the subject of lock-in, I agree that appliances do limit choice and depending on how they are constructed they could cause lock-in as well. I think that’s more dependent on the software applications themselves vs. how they are packaged in an appliance or ASP. If the underlying software apps are fairly closed, then the appliance will be closed. If the apps are open the appliance has a better shot at being open.

  5. […] I’m amazed by all the web chatter this week about simplified PLM, PLM in a box, PLM on demand etc…  Look at Chris Kelly defending the UG PLM Appliance.  What is amazing about his post is he will have you beleive that by putting everything in a box with a bow, customers will no longer need to think about the soluton.  If you read further you will see he will state this is great for the sales process as it will shorten it.  So one must wonder who the PLM Appliance is looking to server?  […]

  6. Larry Coyle Avatar

    I am amazed at all of this attention to PLM and the positives and negatives. Would you not all agree than for one thing, PLM is in a relatively early stage in life? Another thing that I know is that PLM is not necessarily for everyone but how is that suddenly within the CAD/CAM market is “putting everything in a box with a bow” any different from the way that Microsoft has distributed their Office Suite of products for years? You have a choice to either buy the whole MS Office Suite or you can purchase the items individually because you think you don’t need all of that functionality. My question on this is “How do you know you do not need all of that functionality when you have never been exposed to it or had it available to you before”?
    Now, just as with MS Office, it is obviously more economical to purchase the whole suite of products than to invest in them individually. And why does everything have to be “difficult and complicated” just because it is in one package? One of the things I have discovered over the years is that the main reason there is Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry ice cream is because not everyone is smart enough to like Vanilla (my personal choice) or explained another way… Not everyone likes the same flavor. That is the reason there are options in life. I am sure that both Chris and Chris will agree that it is the customer who will ultimately make of break PLM regardless of their agreements/disagreements. And just because a company deploys a PLM application from one company does not mean that they are locked into that one package and cannot deploy other software within their organization. That is like saying that a Microsoft network cannot co-exist with a Unix network environment.

  7. Chris Avatar

    Larry, PLM is definitely in an early stage of life, but since it is what Chris and I do for a living, it matters a lot to us 😉
    I think PLM has many similar qualities to other enterprise apps that came before it. Remember when ERP was viewed as a rough assemblage of applications that didn’t have much to do with each other? Over time the companies that good at making ERP software learned where the connections were and made them easy for customers. The same thing is starting to happen in PLM. Vendors are starting to connect engineering with manufacturing with service. All product (and product related process) centric.
    Lastly, I absolutely agree that ultimately the customer has to decide. The vendor community just has to make enough offerings to give them something they feel comfortable with while not providing so many that they are overwhelmed.
    Thanks for the comment!

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