Aras announced the expansion of their enterprise offering – Aras Enterprise SaaS. The press release from the last week says – Aras Announces Expansion of Subscription Offerings with Enterprise SaaS. Together Enterprise SaaS and DevOps deliver the most powerful cloud-first platform with unlimited customization for global businesses
Enterprise SaaS from Aras enables large companies to fast-track cloud modernization and replacement of legacy PDM systems. Alternatively, if full replacement of existing on-premise legacy is not the priority, the flexibility and open connectivity of Aras enable cloud platform overlay scenarios for faster digitalization of strategic processes without the disruption of legacy replacement. For existing Aras subscribers running Aras Innovator in their own data centers, the move to SaaS is even easier.
In addition to the creation of the new, all-inclusive enterprise SaaS offering, Aras is providing flexible options for customers that want to use their own cloud subscription or perform their own infrastructure management. Aras has made Aras DevOps and Aras Managed Services available as add-ons to the Standard Edition subscription.
What does the magic “Enterprise SaaS” offer mean? What is Aras strategy and how it stands against what other PLM vendors do? Let me start with some Aras history and tech overviews.
Aras was founded back in 2000 and developed enterprise Aras Innovator PLM software for companies like Rolls Royce Corp., Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership, Ingersoll-Rand Co. Ltd., and U.S. Army Arsenal. In 2007, Aras made a sharp turn, announcing their Enterprise Open Source model. You can read more about it here.
In a nutshell, Aras Enterprise Open Source includes a free download of Aras Innovator, open-source community solutions on top of Aras Innovator, and an open data model. Downloading Aras is simple and free, which was the foundation of Aras growth and success during the last decade. The flexible data model is a foundation of Aras combined with a robust engine and API built on top of the Microsoft tech stack gave Aras a path towards many enterprise manufacturing companies.
Enterprise vs SaaS
For a very long time, SaaS was the opposite thing to the Enterprise Software category. Enterprise software was sold and licensed to use on-premise, while SaaS was software that hosted and rented usually from public cloud service providers (eg. Amazon). The last few years, demonstrated a clear interest from large enterprise software companies to move their IT to cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Service, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and few others. The trend put some pressure on enterprise software providers that were not ready to support such a move. For mainstream PLM providers, it means to change their platforms and make them available for hosting from AWS and other platforms.
Aras Enterprise SaaS
In a nutshell, Aras Enterprise SaaS is a managed service provided by Aras to host the same Aras Innovator in a managed environment. Aras Cloud and Future PLM article (https://www.aras.com/-/media/files/resources/1770-eb-aras-cloud-future-plm.ashx) can give you details, but the following tables in a nutshell explains everything.
The article also explains the main purpose of enterprise SaaS. Here is the passage:
Connecting the cloud with PLM is not just an option for large companies any longer, it’s a necessity. The cloud provides universal access to environments along with improved provisioning to speed up administration and on-boarding for an ever-changing user landscape.
The cloud also provides dynamic scalability and easier integrations, delivering companies the framework for innovative teamwork. Internal and external collaborators work together within seamless, extended processes enhancing complex data models across virtual borders. The extended data model supports increased sharing of data, improving process velocity and decision making with virtually unlimited capacity and limitations.
I didn’t find a good technology slide about Aras Enterprise SaaS. The following marketing architecture is more about comparing Aras with others
My guess is that Aras developed a DevOps mechanism to virtualize Aras deployment to IaaS infrastructure and automate the process of rollup and hosting. But I didn’t find any public confirmation of my thoughts.
PLM industry is moving to SaaS/cloud and Aras is clearly following the trend. In the last two years, Dassault Systemes, PTC, and Siemens extended their product offering to SaaS. Also, several native cloud SaaS / PLM vendors (Eg. Arena, OpenBOM, Propel, UpChain) were growing to become a viable solution for some medium-size PLM implementations.
Aras clearly positioned against modern multi-tenant PLM SaaS with a focus on security, customization, and functions. Aras paper speaks about data sharing, but doesn’t provide much explanation of how Aras single-tenant data model and the same environment as the existing Aras innovator will support it – separate databases hosted in the cloud don’t provide many advantages in data sharing comparing to on-premise systems.
What is my conclusion?
Aras is moving towards more automated SaaS models, which include managing hosting and full services supported by Aras. The marketing is focusing on Aras flexibility and customization while positioning complete Aras solution to multi-tenant SaaS PLM. While it might be true when comparing 5-7 years old solutions with 20+ years of Aras product, the status quo is not forever. Aras didn’t provide any information about the cost of subscription, which eventually might be a deal-breaker even for some enterprise companies. Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital network-based platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers, construction companies, and their supply chain networks. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.