Why SaaS is the Future of Product Design

Backed by the advantages of the cloud, software-as-a-service is how today’s leading companies are building the products of tomorrow.

Siemens has submitted this article. Written by Tosh Tambe, Vice President, Business Transformation and SaaS Strategy, Siemens Digital Industries Software.

 (Image: Adobe.)

(Image: Adobe.)

How can companies keep up with customers’ growing expectations for smart, connected and integrated products? How can they plan to design and manufacture these increasingly complex products?

How businesses choose to manage product and production complexity determines how they can effectively operate and collaborate between their departments as well as with customers, suppliers, partners and more. It means taking a multi-engineering domain approach and working from a single source of truth, one in which collaboration across the entire ecosystem fosters faster and better decision-making.

On top of all that, over the past few years, remote and distributed supply chains, employees and users have become the norm. As companies, especially small-to-medium-sized businesses, struggle to fill positions with the local talent pool or have variable needs through the course of the project, they are forced to turn toward contract labor or remote workers, some of whom may be signing in from thousands of miles away and need secure and controlled access to the company’s data.

This is why more and more businesses are turning to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to ensure users within the company and across a supply chain have access to cloud-ready, secure and connected tools. A SaaS solution provides accessibility, scalability and flexibility to make standardized technology available for all, including to distributed users.

What is Software-as-a-Service?

Software-as-a-Service is the delivery of software capabilities through a services-based subscription. In most cases, some if not all of these capabilities are cloud-based. Cloud-based services allow users to access data from anywhere, at any time and from any device. This means a software engineer in New York can work on the same project, at the same time, as a mechanical engineer in Germany. They’re using a single source of truth and do not have to transfer files back-and-forth or wait for another domain to complete their work before starting their own.

(Image: Adobe.)

(Image: Adobe.)

SaaS technology, tools and cloud capabilities enable and build connectedness, providing fluidity across domains where real value in the insights is used to optimize the product and/or process. This improves decisions earlier in the lifecycle, which reduces time-to-market and creates a more efficient and productive environment that promotes innovation.

By providing access from anywhere, users are no longer beholden to the data on-premises or through files on a desktop.

On-premises versus cloud

Typically, on-premises architecture features an application-centric world versus a data-centric one. Even with a PLM system on a server or an on-premises data center, individual users still have an installed application on their desktop where they fetch data from wherever the data lies for authoring or editing, work on that data and then push that data back; however, this can create data islands where massive amounts of data are locked into locally installed applications. In order to use and work with that data, it must be brought in and sent out. This challenge becomes even more significant when working with remote employees or users external to the company.

On the cloud architecture, users operate in a data-centric environment. The single source of truth is in centrally maintained data and each user comes in through a browser window so long as they have access. The data structure and files on a cloud-based system with access management creates a controlled single source of truth where several different domains with different schemas all interact and work together.

(Image: iStock Photo.)

(Image: iStock Photo.)

Overall, having the file-structured data on the cloud with the right access management simplifies data management.

While it’s easy to state the benefits of a cloud-based architecture versus an on-premises one, it is much harder for a company to actually go through the investment of changing the way they design and engineer their products.

What’s the best way to achieve this? Taking incremental steps.

Implementing digital transformation initiatives can help advanced technology adoption, while allowing the company culture to adapt to cloud and SaaS-based solutions.

Addressing SaaS and intellectual property concerns

For on-premises data centers, problems arise with access from outside stakeholders because data is isolated and behind a firewall. On top of that, a company must contend with how much access to give external collaborators and how it impacts the design and engineering of the product. As data moves from one on-premises machine to another, the potential arises for creating layers of burdens that affect the project and turn into costly redesigns as well as data conversion issues.

Through access management on the cloud, the users come and go as needed, IP is managed much better, data is not moving around and activity can be tracked. Connected and collaborative technology such as cloud and SaaS enables easier communication, collaboration and participation within the ecosystem, including amongst suppliers, distributors, manufacturers and others.

The next step into digitalization through SaaS

Imagine accessing a secure software solution that fosters innovation. SaaS is how today’s leading companies are building the products of tomorrow.

The next step forward into the future and meeting these challenges is digital transformation.

Leveraging or utilizing the connectedness of cloud technologies helps turn complexity into a competitive advantage.

From small businesses to large enterprises, SaaS provides quick adaptability and flexible solutions to meet the ever-growing needs of customers.

Discover how Siemens Xcelerator as a Service is accelerating transformation and turning ideas into innovation.

About the Author: 

Tosh Tambe, VP of Business Transformation and SaaS Strategy, Siemens Digital Industries Software 

Tosh Tambe is an experienced Business Leader with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Tosh is skilled in leading through technological and organizational transformation with a bias for action and innovation. He has experience in building Product and Go-to-Market strategy, leading R&D, Sales/Business development, and Operations teams, and forging partnerships through CXO-level engagement. Tosh has a degree from The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.