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SolidWorks and PLM Story

Thanks to Oleg Shilovitsky for this story

I’m attending SolidWorks World these days in a sunny San Diego, California. If you are in the engineering and manufacturing, it is probably “must go” event for you. Of course, if you are using SolidWorks and Dassault software. However, even if you’re not, it is a great place to see people and have some hands-on technology. I’ve been told by SolidWorks exec that SWW 2012 is expecting to have 5500 registered attendees this year and also few hundreds of “walk-in” visitors. As I promise, I will be following up SolidWorks World with my “PLM eye” to see what is going on and what PLM technologies and products you can expect to see here.

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SolidWorks and Data Management… Meh?

Long time ago, I had a conversation with former CEO of SolidWorks John McEleney, who said – data-management pain is what slow down every SolidWorks deal. By the way, I still agree with John – along all these years, SolidWorks was very careful with regards to what data-management technology (PDM, PLM) is used by SolidWorks customers and sold by SolidWorks partners. Both PDM products SolidWorks used to have (and still selling with SolidWorks) are PDM Works Workgroup and Enterprise PDM are the result of acquisitions. SolidWorks selected these products carefully after ensuring that products fit customer needs.

Who is doing SolidWorks PLM today?

There quite many companies these days selling PDM/PLM solutions for SolidWorks. You can see them all on the list SolidWorks Partners (filter for Data Manageemnt and PDM / PLM). Some interesting development was done recently by Aras PLM providing product called EPLM and connected to SolidWorks Enterprise PDM. Read my previous post – Aras, SolidWorks and Disrupting PLM strategies.

SolidWorks and Big Dassault Brother

SolidWorks (oops… Dassault Systems SolidWorks Corp) has deep roots and connection with PLM technologies developed by Dassault and specifically Enovia. Back in 2010 we’ve seen the announcement of SolidWorks claiming development of new products based on Enovia V6. Earlier in 2011, SolidWorks released n!Fuze – first product to do some work between SolidWorks and V6. However, this product was far from full-blown PLM system. You can read my previous post about that – SolidWorks n!Fuze: The Cloud Remake of PLM Collaboration?

SolidWorks World 2012 PLM partners

Who is exhibiting PLM-related stories at SolidWorks World 2012? I found classification of partners is a bit confusing (which is not surprising in PDM / PLM domain). The relevant categories are Data Management, PDM, PLM, Data Interoperability.

Interesting enough, there are only two (!) companies listed in PLM category in SolidWorks partner’s pavilion – Dassault System (link leads us to www.3ds.com) and Kenesto. Kenesto is a new company focusing on Process Management for manufacturing. (disclose – I’m on the advisory board of Kenesto). The CEO of Kenesto, To say that Mike Payne, Kenesto CEO is well-known in CAD industry is probably equal to say nothing (:)). More about Kenesto will be coming later on my blog. Nine companies listed in PDM category (including SolidWorks and Dassault Systems). I’ve seen most of them from the previous years. CIDEON America, Inc.,  keytech GmbH,  MechWorks, SofTech, Inc.,  SolidPartners, Inc.Synergis SoftwarexPLM GmbH. Six companies listed as data management. Among them, Aras PLM is clearly PLM vendor. I have to mention Inforbix (disclosure – I’m co-founder). Inforbix provides applications helping people to access product data located in many enterprise systems (e.g. PDM, PLM, ERP) and files (CAD, Excel, PDF).

Separately, you need to take a look on companies providing consulting and implementation services in the manufacturing domain. At the same time, these companies are selling software they develop. In many cases, it is hard to differentiate between software and services they sell. Here is the list of companies from the list of presenters associated with PLM: Datafrond, Infotech Enterprises, Razorleaf Corporation, Zero Wait-State. I hope to learn more about what they offer this year and report on my blog.

Why SolidWorks PLM becomes attractive?

There are few factors that potential can make PLM for SolidWorks story attractive these days. First of all – PLM is getting traction. Five years ago, when you talk with people about PLM, you might be hearing “why” question. These days, the question you can hear is “how?”. I think it makes a difference between 2007 and 2012. Another aspect is a competitive landscape. Long time SolidWorks rival Autodesk is coming to PLM. As you probably read before on my blog, Autodesk is about to release their Nexus PLM on the cloud very soon. In my view, it creates another level of pressure on SolidWorks execs and an opportunity for customers to come with compelling SolidWorks PLM story.

What is my conclusion? I expect to have more conversation about PLM and SolidWorks in coming days. Stay tuned to my blog and twitter. I’m looking forward to giving you more information and updates about what will happen in coming days in San-Diego.

Best, Oleg

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