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What’s Down the Road for Oracle Agile PLM?

From the beginning, Agile had a vision for the future of product lifecycle management. But did it ever get there?

The war of the old and new is never going away. Not as long as the instinct to keep innovating exists.

And just as gas guzzlers stubbornly try to hold back the age of electric vehicles, the legacy software giants will try to hold their ground. (Plus they sort of have to, being built on-premise.)

Oracle Agile Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) has long been a stalwart of the industry. Oracle acquired Agile PLM as an attempted strategic approach to manage product information, ensuring product quality and streamlining product development. 

However, as the digital landscape evolved in step with the rise of SaaS offerings, the need for more flexible and extensible cloud PLM solutions became more and more paramount. That’s when modern contenders, such as Propel Software, stepped in, promising to transform the status quo.

As someone who’s worked on the development of both platforms, it’s clear to me why Propel is the logical next step for Agile users. Let’s get into it.

Are Legacy Systems Running Out of Gas?

No one is debating that Oracle Agile PLM has been instrumental in ushering in a new age of managing product data and ensuring product quality management. With its methodology focusing on product governance, product value chains, and product cost management, plus its robust offering of modules and integration with ERP systems like SAP, it's been the go-to PLM software for industries ranging from consumer goods to semiconductors to industrial equipment. 

For all its merits, Oracle Agile is unquestionably a legacy system. Think of it as a long-forgotten, caked-in-dust Ford Mustang squirreled away in a grandparent's musty garage. What once might have been all the rage, today would pale in comparison to the sleeker, software-based Tesla. 

Considering the transition away from Oracle Agile PLM? Propel Software offers comprehensive support through the migration process and rapid user adoption – see a demo.

Headed for a Breakdown

The Agile system, while robust in its time, now grapples with an antiquated user interface, an outdated technology stack, and security issues. The very foundation it was built upon is now riddled with risk—including the notorious and newsworthy Log4j vulnerability. In the same way older cars guzzle fuel, Agile, with its difficulty integrating and version-locked issues, consumes resources without delivering optimal performance. 

So although Agile still casts a long shadow on the industry, its on-premise structure clashes with the growing demand for real-time, cloud-based, secure solutions. The user experience of Agile, though familiar, can feel dated, especially when compared to newer, more intuitive platforms. 

Businesses on Agile are hitting speedbumps such as:

  1. Outdated interface: Agile's UI may have been cutting edge in 2007, but today it’s cumbersome and unintuitive, leading to inefficiencies and user frustration. 
  2. On-Prem Limitations: Being on-prem, Agile doesn't gel well with artificial intelligence (AI), limiting the potential for advanced analytics and insights. 
  3. Reactive Rather Than Proactive: With Agile, by the time you encounter a problem, it's often too late to address it without significant disruption.
  4. Security Concerns: Aging systems can become vulnerable, posing security risks.
  5. Inflexibility: Agile's rigid nature can stifle innovation and adaptability.
  6. Stagnant Support: Despite paying for support, many users haven't seen significant updates in years.

Given these issues, the need to replace legacy systems like Agile is more pressing than ever. Not the least because there isn’t much hope of fixes anytime soon...

Coming Up On a Dead End

As robust cloud PLM software competitors emerge against the fading dream of Oracle Cloud, staying on a stagnant roadmap is no longer an option. In a recent turn of events, Oracle has signaled the end of life for Agile PLM, declaring that version 9.3.6 marks the final stop in its journey. As of October 2023, the roadmap for Oracle Agile PLM has effectively reached a dead end with no further upgrades, including the much-anticipated version 9.3.7, on the horizon.

This revelation underscores the importance of looking beyond the Oracle product landscape for a more future-proof PLM solution. It's a call to migrate towards cloud-native platforms that can navigate the entire product development process with cohesive product collaboration and streamlined project management. Businesses need to shift gears and find another route to keep up with market evolution—because it’s clear now that Agile cannot take them there.

Migration is a Long Road, but a Necessary One

Having navigated the PLM landscape for years, I've witnessed firsthand the intricacies and challenges businesses face when changing systems. I understand that migration, especially from a system as deeply embedded as Agile, is not just a technical shift but a profound transformation for an organization. 

There are plenty of common concerns going in. You may be worried about potential disruptions to existing integrations, breaking the precarious custom code your business needed to extend your functionalities, the complexity of data migration (especially extracting data from Agile), and of course, the daunting task of user adoption to a new UI.

Listen, there’s no denying it—and I’m not here to sugarcoat. A monumental task like transitioning from a system as entrenched as Agile is not for the faint of heart. But much like heart surgery, migration both poses risk and is also undeniably necessary for a healthier future. 

The good news? Propel isn't just a theoretical successor to Agile; it's a proven one. Numerous Agile customers have already made the switch, and the feedback is consistent: Propel feels familiar, yet superior.

Let Experts Take the Wheel

So how can I get out of this cycle with legacy systems? How can my company migrate without sacrificing too much data, processes, and functionality during the transition? How do I tackle the problem of user adoption?

At Propel, we know risk mitigation is the primary concern in a major implementation project and we hear these questions all the time. That’s why we’ve built specific and prescriptive strategies to hold your hand through the transition, whether you’re looking to:

  1. Lift and Shift: Just fed up and ready to do a full-scale changeover? Propel can help you move over all at once, using a strategy to handle all the process extensions and working with stakeholders to configure workflows and specific needs. Plus, Propel is currently developing an Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) tool to make data migration easy and reliable.
  2. Side-by-Side: Want to take your time migrating? You can keep Agile as long as needed while building a bridge to move over data to Propel in real-time.

When considering the very real concern of user adoption, familiarity is crucial. Transitioning from Agile PLM to Propel feels natural—at least according to the many customers who’ve already done it. 

Familiar workflows like bill of material (BOM) management, regulatory approvals, change management, and product lifecycle analytics are all present, just modernized with enhancements—such as automation and no-code composability. 

Watch the Webinar: “How to Build Composable User Experiences Using Clicks, Not Code.”

How Propel Drives Differentiation

While Oracle is making strides to bring PLM to the cloud, Propel's intrinsic cloud-native structure on the Salesforce platform gives it an undeniable edge for product companies trying to compete in today’s ever-evolving market. 

Propel knows that successful products aren't simply a function of good product design. Instead, the means for continuous product quality and effective product commercialization must be assured. As the only platform that connects PLM, quality management (QMS), and product information management (PIM), Propel’s solution ensures that the entire organization, from design to supply chain all the way to commercialization, has real-time access to product data. 

This democratization of data creates a truly complete product record, housed on the most collaborative platform available today. The combination of collaboration, data visibility, and workflow automation enhances product quality and speeds time to market. It maximizes the power of the value chain, with benefits such as enterprise visualization and simplified omnichannel delivery for regional formats.

  1. Security: Salesforce has a reputation for providing the most advanced internet security available today. Being built on the Salesforce platform, security is a given for Propel.  
  2. Scalability: Propel's cloud-based solution ensures scalability, both in terms of the number of users as well as data capacity.
  3. No More Version-Locked Issues: With Agile, there's always the fear of breaking something. Propel eliminates this concern as all system upgrades undergo validation and are ready to use right out of the Sandbox.
  4. Leveraging the Latest Tech: While Agile users haven't seen new features in years, Propel introduces three major releases annually so users are always using the most advanced technology possible.
  5. Modern APIs: Propel boasts modern, standards-based API technology which makes integrations with other applications seamless and unaffected by system updates.

Moreover, Propel PLM already includes integrations with widely used solutions like Netsuite and cost-saving innovations like SiliconExpert, which provides real-time component and part information (such as risk and availability) directly in the BOM view. Business process enhancements like these ensure product portfolio management is efficient and aligned with profitability goals. 

Leaving Agile in the Rear View

As businesses look to enhance product quality, streamline product development, and ensure profitability, the choice of PLM software will play a pivotal role. While Agile served these purposes well a decade ago, the future demands a shift. 

Propel Software, with its blend of familiarity and innovation, stands as the inevitable choice for those seeking to move forward. It's not just about choosing a new system; it's about choosing progress.

Explore the solution.

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Post by
Kishore Subramanian
CTO, Propel

Kishore hails from Google, where he was a Sr. Software Engineer. At Google, he most recently worked on a Java/Kotlin library for the Google Assistant and led key areas for the Files Go Android App and Google Web Designer. His previous experience includes senior engineering roles at Motorola Mobility, JackBe and Agile Software.

Fun Fact: Kishore led the team that built Agile PLM's first web-based user interface.

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Kishore Subramanian