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ASP Touts Rewards of PLM

It looks like PLM (product lifecycle management) may be about to join the list of trendy application abbreviations. In fact, IDC predicts that by 2006 the PLM solutions market will reach $11 billion and that PLM services spending (consulting, implementation, management, training and support) will hit $5.5 billion.

Arena Solutions Inc., an ASP that specializes in PLM appears to be cashing in on that growth. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company reported yesterday that its first fiscal quarter of 2003 (which ended on March 31) was the most successful in the company's three-year history and fifth consecutive quarter of increased sales with more than 50 percent quarter-on-quarter compound average growth.

Arena Solutions' Web-based applications are designed to provide a centralized record of a company's products, integrating data from design and manufacturing applications and providing a view of all of product components, costs, suppliers, manufacturers, change orders and other critical product data. All this is designed to drive down the costs of product development and manufacturing, speed time-to-market and improve product quality.

"PLM is a system of records that defines a product. We collect all the information into a single repository," said Michael D. DeLapa vice president, business development at Arena Solutions. For example, if anything changes in the supply chain — parts become obsolete or prices change — it is changed in the central repository. Delapa said PLM also allows suppliers and product designers to collaborate and share information.

"Client-server works within one organization, but the supply chain is now global," Delapa told ASPnews "Arena consolidates all of IT on one co-located database, similar to Salesforce.com or NetLedger.

Some analysts predict PLM could eventually top enterprise resource planning ( ERP) in revenue because it has the potential to change the way any type of product is designed and built.

"We are benefiting from the emergence and convergence of two explosive new software trends: PLM and Web-hosted software services," said Bill Robertson, Arena Solutions' chief operating officer.


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