box-platform

Few months ago, I speculated if Box can become a platform for PLM. Navigate to my previous article to read more details. In a nutshell, it was about aligning Box industry strategies with the opportunity to use Box cloud storage for engineering data.

Business insider article yesterday Box and VCs have created a $40 million fund for startups building on Box’s platform made me think again about the potential opportunity for Box to be a platform for engineering applications. The article is stressing the point of use storage for business applications. Here is the passage from article explaining why Box is looking for startups.

If Box wants to rule the business software market, it needs a lot of people using it. To get a lot of people using it, it needs apps that use it as the storage service on the backend. To get apps that use the service, it needs more startups willing to do it.

So, how to start? Navigate to the following TechCrunch article to learn more about Box development edition. The cost of storage is decreasing and companies like Box are looking how to create future business differentiations.

Box has recognized for some time that cloud storage is a commodity. Knowing that and noting it on stage, the company pressed its various services that it has built on top of storage, like permissions, access statistics and content management. Box Developer Edition is a bet that developers want to integrate storage and file management into their apps, but don’t want to bother with all the hassling details, something that Box has spent significant time and resources figuring out.

More details about Box development edition is here. On the following picture, you can see a possible template for enterprise application on top of Box platform.

box-enterprise-app-pattern-2

Take a look on many enterprise PLM applications and you can recognize similar pattern – groups, folders, content, permissions, collaboration.

What is my conclusion? I like the idea of turning Box towards a platform to build enterprise applications. The barrier to get in the market of enterprise applications is high. Enterprises’ preference to work with large trusted companies is well known in the market. And most of startups are dying because they cannot reach customers. Having investors and neutral horizontal service like Box as a foundation can be an interesting start for new PLM company. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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Onshape, API and cloud architectures

by Oleg on April 23, 2015 · 0 comments

cloud-API

I assume you are aware about Onshape, the new CAD software outfit founded by Jon Hirschtick and part of his old SolidWorks founding team. The software is in public beta for the moment. You can reference to my previous posts – PLM thoughts after Onshape public beta and Develop3D live set a stage for cloud CAD competition. I also recommend you Develop3D article – Onshape Beta goes live – start your engines. Navigate to the following link to discover more Onshape resources.

Integration is a very important thing in engineering application domain. Engineers and manufacturing companies are using multiple applications for design, simulation, product data and lifecycle management. Therefore, system architecture and availability of APIs is absolutely important in order to develop integrations and more specific and complex engineering data flows.

Earlier today, my attention was caught by Onshape blog by Steve Lewin-Berlin, which gives you some perspective on Onshape APIs. Onshape is using own APIs to create first integration with Graebert Drawings. Here is the passage from the blog explaining that:

I’ve been leading the development of the Onshape API for the past year. COFES was our team’s coming out party, marking the first public discussion of the API. The introduction of Onshape Drawings and our partnership with Graebert GmbH  is an important part of the story.

We decided to build Onshape Drawings on top of the same API that will be available to partners. In a classic case of “eating our own dog food,” we believe that using the API for a significant internal component validates the capability and performance of the API. This also provided a clean interface between Onshape and Graebert technology, allowing us to leverage the extensive technology available in Graebert’s core drawing engine.

As you can see in the screenshot below, Onshape Drawings run in a tab just like Parts and Assemblies, and use a native Onshape style toolbar and command structure.

onshape-drawings

Last week at COFES 2015 I spent some time learning about what Onshape is doing with APIs and integrations. You will be able to integrate Onshape using three different approaches – file exchange, live link using REST API and by creating more complex integrated cloud workflows.  Few pictures below can give you some idea about Onshape integrations (apologies for the quality of pictures. I’ve made them in standing room only during Onshape presentation at COFES).

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onshape-file-exchange

onshape2

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Onshape is promising to make APIs and documentation available to broader audience later in May.

What is my conclusion? Hybrid architecture and APIs. For the next decade we will live in the world of new cloud apps and existing desktop tools. I can see people starting to use new cloud services in parallel with existing design applications. Openness will be even more important than before. It is critical to follow open integration architecture and REST APIs to support a mix of required integrations. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Will Aras pave the road to PLM heaven?

by Oleg on April 22, 2015 · 6 comments

plm-heaven

I’m following Aras PLM annual event online this week – ACE2015. There is a moderate volume of tweets coming from Detroit. Navigate to the following link to have a look. You can take a look on the agenda here.

For the last few years, Aras is developing as a very interesting story. Do you remember my post back in 2011 – Aras PLM lines up against Windchill, Enovia, and TeamCenter. If you listen to updates coming from Aras, this is actually coming truth and I’ve seen presentations made by few customers explaining how Aras is replacing existing PLM implementations or co-exist with PDM implementations from Enovia, TeamCenter and Windchill.

The following slide caught my attention yesterday. It was part of Sonnax presentation at ACE2015. It gives an interesting definition of PLM nightmare vs. PLM heaven.

aras-plm-heaven

PLM Nightmare

Spreadsheets, Workflow software and Activity database. I can see a point of spreadsheets. Especially after my yesterday blog referencing complex automotive configuration environment made of Excel. However, the sense of nightmare with workflow software and activity database was a new thing for me. If I think about each PLM software, workflows and activities is an essential part of every PLM platform. My hunch is that PLM workflows are complicated and hard to implement. And it makes terrible experience for users.

PLM Heaven

Flexible, accessible by all and dollar doable. I found this combination interesting. It clearly shows the level of concern manufacturing companies have with software licenses cost. Flexibility is something that often associated with spreadsheets, but I can see a point of configurable flexible data models. Accessible by all is the most important. And this is, in my view, it is a combination of technology and license cost. Cloud, web and mobile are technologies that can make PLM software accessible. However, it should come in the package with business models allowing to all parties to be connected.

It made me think about accessibility of PLM solution as a key component of a successful PLM software. PLM software must be available to every person in manufacturing companies and connected eco system of suppliers, contractors, service providers and (probably) customers. Without that, PLM will be in a danger to stay a database of engineering change workflow and manage revisions of CAD files.

What is my conclusion? Aras is using tagline “Rethink PLM“. Actually, I like it very much. Coincidentally, I  posted about it – Cloud is not the way to rethink PLM. Then what? We can see lot of disruption these days in many industries – communication, transportation, connected devices, home automation, mobility. So, rethinking will be coming to PLM too. But, the meaning of “rethinking” is tricky and should be filled with clear differentiation supported by 10x better technologies, new business models and use experience. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

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The role of Bill of Materials (BOM) in PLM competition

April 21, 2015

It is hard to overestimate the value of bill of materials (BOM) in product design, engineering and manufacturing. It is everywhere – product design and configuration, engineering, manufacturing, operation, etc. BOM is equally important and complex. In my earlier articles, I touched multiple dimensions of BOM complexity - disciplines, product lifecycle, changes. PLM vendors are focusing […]

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COFES 2015: PLM and the cloud briefing

April 20, 2015

Last week at COFES 2015, I shared my thoughts and opinion about what happens between PLM and the cloud for the last few years. That was a teaser of my COFES session in the agenda: As recently as three years ago, the cloud was viewed as a differentiator for some PLM vendors. The PLM world […]

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COFES 2015: Product Lifecycle, Supply Chain and Data Networks

April 17, 2015

I had a chance to share my thoughts about complexity of product lifecycle in supply chain at COFES 2015 Design and Sustainability symposium. Manufacturing companies and software vendors are facing new enterprise reality these days – distributed environment, connected work and cloud software. On the other side we have skyrocketing complexity of products. Each product is a […]

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Can we see CAD-PLM unicorns on a horizon?

April 16, 2015

I’m on my way to COFES 2015 - annual gathering of people discussing a future of engineering software in Scottsdale, Arizona. It made me think about an intersection of startup and engineering software world. Last year I shared my thoughts about a potential surge of CAD / PLM startups driven by new cloud technologies, web, open source and […]

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Personal SWOT for PLM professionals

April 15, 2015

Engineering and manufacturing software industry is well known by very high barrier to entry. It is related to specific professional manufacturing knowledge as well as experience with software products – CAD, PDM, PLM, etc. It is not easy to make a decision about what tools to learn and what job to accept. I’m getting requests […]

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How to sell PLM to big companies

April 14, 2015

PLM sales is not an easy job. PLM is usually “sold” to companies… or actually sold to people running product development and manufacturing in these companies. I shared some of my thoughts about PLM sales in my previous posts – PLM Sales Cheat Sheet and Why hard to sell PLM ROI? However, I want specially reference […]

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PLM PaaS may not happen after all

April 13, 2015

Platform is such a lovely word. Software vendors like platforms because it gives them an additional capability to partner with a community of developers. In cloud era, platform is often associated with PaaS (platform as a service). For the last few years, PaaS was mentioned as a next step in developing of cloud platforms. PaaS […]

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