In the civilized world, it is almost impossible to escape cloud computing. Today, much of our business and personal lives are mediated by the cloud, a trend noted by the German government that is central to the Industry 4.0 vision driving investment in our increasingly smart and connected world.
Cloud is also powering a revolution in enterprise software to cloud-based SaaS. Cloud-based solutions offer a wide range of benefits, including reducing or eliminating capital expenses, greatly simplify operating expenses, and letting companies of all sizes leverage an up-to-date technology stack. Companies like Salesforce in the customer relationship management (CRM) software domain and NetSuite in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software domain are leading that push.
In 2017 and again in 2021, CIM data led research on cloud PLM in collaboration with some of the leading PLM solutions providers. In the 2017 study, there was some interest but there were not that many offerings in the market. Since then, a number of new, innovative firms have entered the PLM market segment and in the 2021 survey CIM data saw a great uptick in both interest and adoption. Barriers to entry to create scalable enterprise systems are lower than ever before. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers offer proven capabilities on which to leverage business and process knowledge to create new solutions. Cassini is one such recent market entrant.
Cassini: Spanning the Digital Thread on the Cloud
Started by PLM and software industry veterans, Cassini is a small company with a very expansive vision. Founded in India in 2015, company leaders felt there was a better way to support the end-to-end product lifecycle, and built a cloud-native SaaS offering that targets small- and medium-sized businesses. While founded in India, the company serves customers in India, Germany, and the United States, with local offices in each region.
Cassini is leveraging modern technologies to build out a platform that spans from idea through life, as shown in Figure 1. Cassini is a comprehensive solution that provides a unified, integrated platform for Product Engineering, Product Manufacturing, Product Quality, and Product Service modules, as shown in the corners of the figure. The company believes that this seamless integration across the product life is their key differentiator. CIM data agrees that this expansive vision is particularly suited to supporting the SMB market, and is even broader than the offerings of many of their much larger competitors. To support product engineering within their customers, Cassini offers direct integrations with many commercial mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) solutions including SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, NX, Onshape, and Autodesk Inventor.
Figure 1—The Cassini Platform Spans Idea Through Life
(Courtesy of Cassini)
As documented in our global PLM market research, the leading PLM solution providers have always struggled to effectively serve the SMB market. Their solutions are often too complex and too expensive for SMB needs and budgets. The Cassini team lived in this world and focused the design and implementation of their innovative solution on slashing the long deployment cycles typically found in the PLM market. As stated earlier, making PLM an OpEx instead of a CapEx is a great benefit to companies of all sizes, one that Cassini believes is especially important to SMB firms.
Their cloud-native offering includes templates for many common processes as highlighted in Figure 2. The out-of-the-box (OOTB) templates provide a great starting point for adopters to tailor their own company-specific processes. This is a common practice among PLM solution providers and should work well for Cassini’s target clients. The company’s near-term plans include building out industry-focused templates, often in collaboration with partners. Again, this is an important approach common in the PLM market, one that helps companies more rapidly adopt such offerings. Their product development roadmap includes IoT integration through a strategic partnership to support the management and analysis of machine data and provide digital twin functionality accessible from their core platform.
Figure 2—Cassini Offers a Wide Range of Process Templates
(Courtesy of Cassini)
Cassini is available in public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. Cassini offers one major release and one minor release each year, a slower pace than some other providers but one that offers a good balance between functionality enhancements and the ability of customers to consume them. Their near-term plans for their platform include the introduction of low-code/no-code capabilities, launching an App Store for ecosystem partners to sell applications built on top of Cassini, and the continued expansion of their partner ecosystem. Low-code/no-code development is a hot topic in the PLM space today, one that offers companies the ability to greatly extend a solution’s capabilities to meet company-specific needs without customization or the use of solution-specific coding techniques common in this market segment. Today, almost all software companies strive to be a “platform” at the center of, hopefully, a growing ecosystem of software and service providers. Of course, companies want to be on platforms that they believe offer great business benefits, as we have seen in the explosive growth of the Salesforce platform and ecosystem. This is a trend that bears watching.
Cassini claims early successes with customers in the United States, Germany, and India. Based on the customer examples provided to date their customers often start with one module in the a corner of Figure 1 and then expand to others over time. While their focus is on the SMB segment, they claim strong interest from larger companies higher up on the value chain. To serve all of these markets, and to expand into new ones, Cassini plans to develop strategic partnerships with information technology (IT) services and leading consulting companies. The same phenomenon is true of growing service partner ecosystems: people will flock to platforms that they believe can help their business. Cassini is just starting their App Store and partner ecosystem journeys and CIM data is excited to see how this plays out in the market.
The Cloud is driving the world today, and the PLM market is growing its offerings and seeing increasing interest in moving to cloud-based offerings to support the product lifecycle from idea through life. Many new entrants have entered this market in the last five years, drawn in by the business opportunities and powered by new development approaches and cloud infrastructure. Cassini is one of those companies and has a vision as broad as many companies at the top of CIM data’s ranking of leading global PLM solution providers. Their focus on SMB is a good choice, as this is a market that those large companies struggle to profitably serve, and their broad vision is spot on to support product companies looking to find their place in this smart, connected world. As CIM data has learned during our nearly 40 year history, smaller companies have the same PLM needs and challenges as large ones, but do not have the financial resources or expertise to readily consume offerings from the larger solution providers. Cassini’s unified platform approach and the ability for customers to start with a module addressing their most pressing challenges and easily expand into other areas will serve them well with customers of all sizes. CIM data looks forward to seeing how well their platform supports their growing customer base and how the company grows their technology and service partner ecosystem to support their broad vision and goals.