5 Dimensions of OpenBOM SaaS PLM Flexibility

Oleg Shilovitsky
Oleg Shilovitsky
29 September, 2021 | 4 min for reading
5 Dimensions of OpenBOM SaaS PLM Flexibility

One of the most critical elements of any data management platform and application that’s used in engineering and manufacturing is its flexibility. Every company in the manufacturing space is slightly different, has specific requirements, history, existing tools, and conditions. An attempt to deliver predefined and restricted applications (it is historically called out-of-the-box applications) will eventually fail. Therefore engineering teams and manufacturers are looking for flexible platforms that are capable of stretching their capabilities and adapt to the needs of the companies. 

Is SaaS limiting flexibility? 

This is a question that I often hear from prospects and industry analysts. The assumption that SaaS has limited flexibility is historical and leads back to a decade ago when PLM vendors were on their first exploration course of cloud software. The industry was moving towards cloud software and existing software vendors were scratching their heads thinking about how they would be able to deliver cloud software fast without big overhead. 

Back in that time, the main idea of CAD/ PLM vendors was that it is possible to take existing PLM systems and host them using cloud infrastructure. While the idea was good in theory, many software products were not ready for such a role because of the variety of limitations. One of the most critical is administrative limitations and the ability to customize the system core – database. That was an easy tradeoff. Vendors took existing tools, cut the customization capabilities, and hosted them using IaaS providers and data centers. The pioneers in this field were companies like PTC that hosted their Windchill system in the cloud using IBM services and a few others. 

Later on, developers of new PLM systems wanted to jump the cloud bandwagon and deliver quick solutions using cloud infrastructure. That was another wrong attempt to create a scalable and robust infrastructure for cloud and SaaS. These two events created a myth of SaaS PLM limitations. In fact, the limitation is not in SaaS, but in specific implementation of SaaS using existing PLM technologies. At the same time, new architectures and data management provides a wide range of capabilities to make SaaS systems very flexible. 

How Different Is OpenBOM? 

From the early beginnings of OpenBOM, our team took a completely different approach when building the OpenBOM platform and application. Our starting point was the flexibility of Excel. We’ve been inspired by Spreadsheets as a paradigm and we’ve been researching a lot to understand why and how Spreadsheets created such a strong reputation of flexibility and ease of use. We applied it when we started to build OpenBOM to create the first fully flexible multi-tenant SaaS PLM solution in the market. 

In my blog today, I want to touch on 5 dimensions of OpenBOM flexibility: 

  1. Account 
  2. Data Model 
  3. Data Sharing and Collaboration 
  4. Revision and Change Management  
  5. Open API 

Account and Registration 

Everything starts from the account in OpenBOM. Your account is your record in OpenBOM’s cloud which allows you to create data online using OpenBOM applications and integrations. You can create an account or it can be created on your behalf by a Team or Company administrator. 

Flexible and Dynamic Data Model 

OpenBOM data model contains a set of object types (classes) that can be used to create data objects. Each data class and data object can be individually customized to include any set of attributes. OpenBOM’s reference-instance and product structure mode allow you to customize both item and instance attributes in the product structure. OpenBOM provides embedded data types, allows you to create data model templates, and imports data from external sources. When data is imported, the data model is created on-demand. 

Data Sharing 

OpenBOM multi-tenant data architecture allows you to share data instantly with any OpenBOM user. The data can be shared manually or automatically with applications of access control rules. These rules can be applied automatically (Role-based) or manually (sharing and user-defined views). 

Revision and Change Management

OpenBOM provides 3 levels of change management mechanism – history change tracking, revisions, change request/ approval mechanism. You can flexibly define revision schema, support on-demand revision creation, which allows structured revision tracking as well as defines rules for how changes will be approved. 


To maximize the flexibility of the system and make data access ubiquitous and seamless, OpenBOM provides REST API allowing you to retrieve and store data in OpenBOM using programs and applications written in any programming language supporting RESTful APIs. 

One more thing…

We are continuously expanding OpenBOM and new releases are coming every 3-4 weeks. This means OpenBOM is flexible to provide you a fix or new feature with the highest level of frequency. Check out  OpenBOM G2 Reviews to learn more about what customers are saying about us. 


Flexibility is a fundamental element of OpenBOM’s architecture and it allows you to adapt OpenBOM to customer requirements to manage data, exchange information with other applications using OpenBOM Integrations, and modify OpenBOM solutions with new modules and features continuously. 

Curious about what OpenBOM can do for you? REGISTER FOR FREE and start your 14-day free trial of any professional subscription feature of OpenBOM. 

Best, Oleg

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