a collaborative solution
that covers all stages
of the product lifecycle.
A collaborative retail business network, enhancing communication so companies can create innovative products, boost efficiency and delight consumers.
Discover Trace One marketplace, the one-stop shop for brands onwners and retailers.
Trace One Insight removes data silos, improving efficiencies, time to market and business performance.
Collaboration, innovation, transparency.
Discover the key challenges addressed
within the Trace One Network.
Growth, regulatory compliance, cost control.
The Trace One Platform delivers
concrete benefits for all stakeholders, whether
retailers, brand owners or manufacturers.
Trace One serves the world’s leading global retail brands and a network of over 20,000 manufacturers. Read some of our customers’ thoughts.
Selecting a Software as a Service (SaaS) vendor for a Product Lifecyle Management (PLM) solution goes beyond just looking at application features.
Functionality is maybe only 50% of the overall value proposition. While it is important that the solution meets the businesses core needs, IT directors need to help the business choose the right solution based on technology aspects of the SaaS vendors as well.
1. I could develop a solution in-house, why should I go to an external SaaS provider?
In house development is always an option for organizations with a strong internal IT team. After all, who knows your business better? However, there are a several critical observations to take into account, particularly when sourcing a PLM solution.
2. I could develop a solution in-house, why should I go to an external SaaS provider?
Functionality to support the business team’s requirements is still the major decision point when purchasing any kind of software. Will “Out of the Box” functionality meet all of my business’s needs? Maybe not, but the following considerations should be taken into account before a decision is made:
3. What security and governance issues should I focus on with a SaaS solution?
The following are key areas to resolve when assessing the security of SaaS vendors and solutions.
4. Should I integrate PLM with my existing enterprise applications?
Complex integrations inevitably lead to longer deployment projects and higher implementation costs. A full cost/benefit analysis should be conducted before deciding to include integrations in the scope of implementing a SaaS and/or PLM solution within your organization. Each intended interface should be considered against the following:
If the data transfer need is daily rather than per transaction / user action then consider batch file transfer, particularly if the data flow is in only one direction (inbound or outbound, not both). Should you even be trying to integrate solutions when the data need is not transactional? Perhaps integration at the data warehouse level for analysis and reporting would be more appropriate.
Real time interfaces will need API’s and Web services. Many SaaS solutions offer a set of “standard” API’s but will these actually meet your needs. Some configuration or even development may be required to accurately map business rules and provide the required data content. This should be identified and scoped early on, and a review of the security protocols used for the API’s.
5. Will a SaaS solution meet my businesses reporting needs?
IT directors often ask this question. With data being hosted outside of their organization, there is a fear that they will not have the ability to access it for reporting. A SaaS solution should provide both decision support reporting (operational) and business intelligence reporting (strategic).
You need to assess the solutions ability to provide flexible decision support. Does the solution allow users to create their own reports? Can parameters be set to filter the results? Can the results be displayed in graphs and other visualizations? You don’t necessarily want user to have to resort to business intelligence for answers to quick questions.
Conversely when assessing how the solutions data can support more strategic analysis, you must ask yourself if the data it provides enables full business intelligence. The answer is probably not. You may want to get the data out and combine this with other corporate data to really be able to make strategic decisions and assess your organizations performance. Typically, this is done through some form of data extraction process into your own data warehouse as the SaaS solution is hosted externally and the sensitive data you need is inside your firewall.
6. What does a SaaS PLM solution really cost and how is the pricing scoped?
SaaS solutions are usually based around an annual subscription cost. What this cost covers and the basis of scoping the cost will depend on what the solution provides and the vendor. At Trace One the cost of our PLM is based on the value that the client receives. This is calculated using the number of products and suppliers the solution is used to manage. The subscription includes all upgrades, maintenance, and support.
Perhaps a more interesting question should be how the solution is funded (i.e. who is paying for the service). Both retailers and suppliers get benefits from a collaborative PLM solution, particularly if collaboration services to create strong partnerships are included. In this case a hybrid funding model may be an option, with both the retailer and their suppliers paying for the solution and services that are being received.