I’d like to continue Autodesk PLM story I started in my previous post and share some of my thoughts based on hands-on experience with Nexus PLM. The demo was provided by Brian Roepke, Autodesk Product Director responsible for Nexus PLM.
Nexus PLM Architecture
Not much been said about Nexus PLM architecture, except of saying it is on the cloud. I haven’t seen Nexus PLM architecture charts during AU. From the conversation with Autodesk people, I can drive the following conclusion about how Nexus PLM is built. Nexus cloud is running on Amazon (AWS). The storage is SQL-compliant database (I can guess it is MySQL or Oracle) via Amazon RDS. As it was explained Nexus separates databases per customers in the cloud, so customer data is separated. It indeed provides some advantages related to the perceptions of the security. However, in my view, it creates some disadvantages when it comes to cross company usage of data. The last one can be a very interesting use case of global collaboration organization.
Autodesk is planning to release lots of applications using Nexus PLM platform. Initial focus is on the following five applications: new-product development, Program and process management, Quality and compliance, Supplier and partner management, Maintenance and services. The total amount of applications available on Nexus now is about 140 (this number probably includes Buzzsaw apps).
Below you can see few screenshots of Nexus PLM. You can see the main user dashboard appearance and how Nexus gives you the access to object information (i.e. project).
The following pictures will give you a glimpse of how Nexus Project and Program management app works. It includes also scheduling module as well as elements of reporting and navigation.
Autodesk claims Nexus PLM to be “insanely configurable”. What does it mean? According to the what I’ve heard everything can be customized. Well, this is probably too broad. From what I’ve seen user interface appearance, names and many other elements can be changed. During the demo, the flexibility of workflow was presented. It was related to the ability of flowchart and logic changes. It also includes the example of Java scripting.
Autodesk claims “everything can be customized” in Nexus PLM. The examlpes they presented related to workflow, rules and user interface appearance is great. However, I’d love to have a deeper look on these abilities when software will be available.
What is my conclusion? Nexus PLM has nice and slick web user experience. Without practicall hands-on it is hard to say something about ease of navigation and the estimate the number of clicks you need to do to perform an action (click-per-action). These two things normally drive crazy users in data-oriented web environment. I found very positive the fact Autodesk is thinking about “insane customization”. However, it will be interested to see and experiment with how the complexity of customization will co-exist with cloud-based multi-tenant deployment. It reminds me one of my old posts – Is PLM customization a Data Management Titanic? Another critical aspect that wasn’t covered is data import or integration with existing systems (i.e. Files, Archives, Content Management, PDM, PLM, ERP, etc.). The answer Autodesk provided pointed to some internal development with Autodesk Vault as well as a future work with partners. That would be very interesting to see in the future. Overall, Nexus has a potential to disrupt. I’m looking forward to seeing how Autodesk will realize this potential.