SaaS, Dynamics Plans

By eweek  |  Posted 2006-05-04 Print this article Print

Any plans for Software as a Service with PLM and Dynamics? Affuso: Were taking a very process-specific view of software as a service, rather than just offering TeamCenter as a service. That doesnt seem to make much sense. Ballmer: Ill argue that, over time, these guys will think PLM as a service-based offering makes all the sense in the world, particularly when you start to think about number of ways in which people want to participate...You want smaller companies to be able to play in a supply chain with General Motors. Theyre not all going to be able to go do their own instances of TeamCenter and everything else…We sure do think very much about the design chain. It is an extremely important [area], because you have more and more participants, whether its in apparel or auto manufacturer.
So how does that translate with capabilities, say from ERP, as a service?
Ballmer: Well, Im not sure it does for ERP. But lets just stay on PLM, and Ill give you some examples. Take should we have infrastructure that lets you host securely SharePoint sites in the cloud? Absolutely. Should we have a customization mode that lets you customize those things the way you would inside a corporate environment? Absolutely. Should we have some way to…essentially [create] a plug-in of TeamCenter and SharePoint? Should there be a way for people to do that where TeamCenter is itself also hosted or TeamCenter perhaps is not hosted, but the SharePoint site that people use to collaborate [is], so all of the design data may live inside GM—but they have some hosted collaboration sites for their design chain partners. Should that work? Absolutely. The security model has got to work. I want to let Charlie at this vendor participate in the PLM workflow. But I dont want to let Harry. So youve got to have a trust environment…We talk about our Information Rights Management technology. Is there a collaboration that should work, should work in the cloud, should work securely, should be built on this trust relationship? Absolutely. Ziff Davis Media eSeminars invite: Join us on May 10 at 11 a.m. ET to learn how to bring your investments to life by providing rich visualization and business insight through reporting, query and analysis, and performance management. There are scenarios where you want the things living out in the cloud, and a lot of the same core technologies essentially have to be hostable at low cost and in such a way that they can be programmed. If everybody runs their own instance with TeamCenter, you dont have to worry about my instance screwing up somebody elses instance. If its SharePoint or TeamCenter or anything else running out in the cloud, you need a different kind of operating system, lets just say, to manage resource contention amongst all these things that are running up in the cloud at low cost. Thats kind of what were trying to get done. All of that infrastructure is kind of what were trying to get done as part of our Live initiative. And, oh, by the way, theres an end-user site called that happens to use all of the hosted infrastructure. With Live, Ive read a couple reports that it sort of missed the mark. Do you agree with that? Ballmer: No [laughs]. I havent read the reports, so I dont know what they say were missing the mark on. I mean, were early. Guru Jakob Nielsen offers advice on designing applications for usability. Click here to watch the video. There are sort of two different issues. Somebody can say are we getting the core platform wrong…Id say were [in the] very early days. So its interesting to me to know how anybody would make the evaluation of anything other than the fact [that] were early. From an end-user perspective…the first applications were building on, Windows Live and Office Live, that use this Live infrastructure. I think most people have been giving us pretty good kind of reviews on both of those things…Weve gotten a lot more buzz on kind of up on the net on what were doing with Windows Live than a lot of things. It seems to me that customers are really looking for application-specific functionality as a service. Maybe thats part of missing the mark – where MBS fits in with Live? Ballmer: Youll see us have things hosted when they make sense and when we can get them implemented…Some things may make sense before they get implemented. Heck, some things might even get implemented from time-to-time before they make sense. But obviously to have a line of business applications appropriately be hosted out on top of this cloud infrastructure is important. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.


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