If you are like most companies using a PLM solution, you may be wondering “how will I know when I’m ready for an enterprise SaaS solution?” Maybe you find yourself in one of the situations outlined below. Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the typical situations that PLM platform users encounter to gain some clarity on your enterprise SaaS future and answer the questions, “Are we ready?” and “Can we afford to wait?” 

Situation 1:

You make steel and aluminum wheels. 55 million per year. You test a lot of wheels with varying fatigue testing requirements from customers, compliance authorities, and internal engineering. You deal with a variety of testing methods including paper-based processes and existing legacy systems that differ from facility to facility.

Situation 2:

You make motors. You are the world’s largest manufacturer of “everything that spins or moves.” When your smartphone vibrates that’s a motor. You, like many others, are enjoying increasing sales but also face declining budgets, limited engineering capacity, and increasing product complexity.

You print labels for each motor manufactured as well as packaging for each motor. Currently, you have information for labels in three different systems. Rekeying information causes lost productivity, is prone to errors, and can result in ongoing quality issues.

Situation 3:

You design and manufacture pharmacy automation technology. You have installations in over 6,000 locations including retail and chain pharmacies, long-term care facilities, hospitals, and the Department of Defense. You have a growing number of quality inspections that are becoming increasingly complex. Inspection templates are currently created in Excel, printed and completed by hand, and completed forms are scanned to PDF.

You need a custom quality inspection application to meet the following goals:

  • Increase inspection throughput
  • Maintain more inspection templates
  • Keep inspection templates current and release new ones quickly
  • Relate inspection criteria directly to product data
  • Defect tracking at the part level
  • Access historical data faster
  • Start a digital thread
  •  Automate quality metrics

Situation 4:

You are a leading bank in the eurozone and a key international banking group. While not a traditional industrial or manufacturing entity you face many of the same challenges in your products' lifecycles. Your goals may sound very familiar:

  • Manage products catalog across markets and geographies
  • Pilot an entire product design lifecycle (from ideation to implementation and maintenance) and improve time to market
  • Comply with regulatory and market requirements and with internal policies
  • Manage information traceability and support controls
  • Standardize and optimize processes

You may be in one of these situations, or something entirely different. The keyword here is different. What you do is different, and may be unique; combined with your internal processes and culture it is definitely unique. You have investigated the various PLM offerings. They all claim to be able to solve your problems immediately, offering the tools and systems to capture your data, smooth out your processes, and deliver some value out of the box (OOTB). 

Given that the differences far outweigh their commonalities, it could be considered arrogant for a PLM provider to declare that an out of the box solution is “one size fits all,” and that they have taken all the differences outlined above into account and fit them into a one size fits all package. And that they understand your processes, compliance responsibilities, budgets, and company culture. That you can just “trust us.”

They will tell you that you can manage your current processes and data while waiting on their timetable to provide more, achieving productivity increases within their predefined structures. They will assume the responsibility to keep up with broad trends and will again develop solutions for a general base.

You go back, review your findings and determine that the advantages of developing your specific industry, culture, compliance environment, and evolving business outweigh the claims of an OOTB solution. You determine that you should partner with a company that offers a solution that is agile and resilient, one that keeps up with your changing requirements. A PLM solution built on a low-code platform capable of building industrial-grade applications, built from inception for change – both anticipated and unexpected. A solution able to change with shifting technologies, regulations, and market pressures.

Then comes the curveball. Due to digital transformation efforts in your company, spurred on by a worldwide pandemic, you are being told it needs to be a SaaS solution. You have been anticipating this, your company has several SaaS applications running but IT has never implemented a PLM SaaS solution. The questions start to grow.


Will your SaaS PLM solution allow you to customize the base offering to address your unique situation? You have previously determined that this is a critical requirement after exploring OOTB offerings. If your PLM cannot support customization, you are stuck with costly workarounds and stopgaps delivering diminishing returns. The follow-up question is if you can do this, how is it accomplished? Does the environment allow for customization to be built strategically without affecting future upgrades? If the answer is that you need to build customizations in another development application, and it will “work seamlessly” with the PLM, you may see a red flag going up. You may also find yourself back in the land of diminishing returns very quickly.

Timing of upgrades

You have strict business schedules, financial disclosures must be met, or you have an upcoming compliance audit. Consistent and accurate data is critical. Most companies create a “code freeze” where no application changes can be made for a specific period. What happens when the update scheduled is imposed by the provider and your situation does not allow for that?

Same on-site

Finally, has the provider engineered their SaaS offering with complete parity of functionality between their standard on-site offering and their SaaS offering? This should be your expectation. Not to sacrifice the power and flexibility of your on-site solution by moving to a SaaS offering.

Your business changes regularly, today it is different than yesterday, and it will be different tomorrow. Your market is changing, competition ebbs and flows. Your employee mix is changing. Older workers are retiring, taking with them valuable knowledge. New workers come in with different viewpoints, different expectations, and varying work habits. You must keep up. You need to remain competitive. Your workforce is becoming increasingly distributed. Quick time to value and agility is no longer stretch goals but expected. Better productivity is necessary, even with less-experienced workers. Many companies, yours included, are reluctant to build their own cloud infrastructure. A SaaS solution quickly becomes the only valid option.

You are different 

If your company is different, and it is, then you need to look at Aras Enterprise SaaS. Aras is the leader within PLM SaaS subscriptions by providing the most advanced offering in the industry. No other PLM SaaS offering provides the largest companies with the full capabilities and applications of their on-premises solution while also supporting unlimited customizations to solve their most complex requirements. 

To understand more benefits of an Aras Enterprise SaaS solution, read our new eBook, The Power of Aras Enterprise SaaS.