Siemens Aiming to Place Quality Management in the Cloud

Joint developments with Microsoft include Tecnomatix quality software running on Windows Azure platform.

Siemens PLM Software recently detailed a joint development project with Microsoft Corp. that it expects will establish a “cloud computing” platform for quality management software — potentially accelerating the availability of advanced product lifecycle management (PLM) tools to manufacturing organizations regardless of size or footprint, cost effectively and on an as-needed basis.

The “solution” will use the Microsoft Windows Azure platform cloud computing services to run Siemens PLM Software’s Dimensional Planning and Validation (DPV) application. The partners made the announcement at the Microsoft World Partner Conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. It is one of several projects that Siemens PLM Software and Microsoft are pursuing, “to test and validate how cloud computing can be successfully used with PLM to create value for the global manufacturing industry.”

The “cloud" refers to an expanding concept of computer programming, in which software and other applications are stored in a Web-accessible network. Thus, the user accesses the needed applications in the way that electricity is accessed from a grid.

According to Microsoft’s corporate vice president, Enterprise and Partner Group (EPG), Simon Witts: “Delivering world-class cloud computing solutions is an important part of Microsoft’s commitment to ensuring that our enterprise customers realize the maximum business value from their IT investments.

“Our success in honoring this commitment is based not only on our ability to establish strong and lasting relationships with our customers, but also by partnering with respected industry leaders like Siemens PLM Software who share our dedication to customer success,” Witts continued.

DPV is a core element of Siemens PLM’s Tecnomatix® digital manufacturing software, which it says is the industry’s first PLM-based “closed-loop quality system.” It collects, manages, analyzes, and reports quality measurement information, with real-time results.

Tecnomatix DPV works with Siemens PLM’s widely adopted Teamcenter® software, so many users will be able to coordinate real-time production quality data with existing quality control architecture, the same platform they’re using to manage product, process and manufacturing data.

Some organizations may not require a full resource infrastructure, Siemens PLM explains, but can benefit from cloud-based quality management technology. Through their partnership, Siemens PLM and Microsoft are creating “an environment” in which Tecnomatix DPV and Teamcenter will run in the cloud with the Windows Azure operating system, and use the SQL Azure relational database. Even if an organization has no enterprise IT system, they will have secure, PLM-based quality management available to them.

“Using the Windows Azure platform to harness the power of cloud computing provides organizations with the ability to significantly reduce in-house infrastructure and support costs,” stated Microsoft’s Sanjay Ravi, managing director, Worldwide High Tech & Electronics Industry.

Together, Siemens PLM and Microsoft are developing other cloud-based applications, too. For example, they recently demonstrated an ability for OEMs and its suppliers to share 3D product information securely and automatically using to the standard JT data format and PLM XML data format on the Windows Azure platform.

“We believe the power and potential of cloud computing, properly leveraged and deployed, can have a significant impact on the PLM industry,” said Siemens PLM exec. vice president or Products and CTO Chuck Grindstaff. “That is why we are working closely with leaders in this area, like Microsoft, to explore a variety of promising applications for PLM in the cloud. We are proud that our strong relationship with Microsoft, which enabled Siemens PLM Software to be the first in our field to support SharePoint, has now made it possible for us to be the first PLM software supplier to demonstrate cloud computing concepts on the Windows Azure platform.”

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