Multi-CAD and PDM: Dead Lock?

by Oleg on February 17, 2012 · 30 comments

This post was provoked by twitter conversation between me, Jonathan Scott of Razorleaf and Brian Roepke of Autodesk. Let me give you a context. During SolidWorks World general session yesterday, Jonathan commented about coming SolidWorks EPDM integration with DraftSight – free CAD software for your DWG files.  I thought, it might be beneficial to have DraftSight integration with Autodesk Vault. However, it appears to be a mistake. Watch that…

This conversation made me think again about what happens in the space of integration of product data management products and design software. Time ago, I posted – Immersive CAD management: is it the CAD / PDM future? Another post related to the same topic was – Back to basics: Multi-CAD and PLM. Last year, I posted CAD, PDM and PLM diversity. What I found common between all these cases is that I can see more and more stable bundles between CAD and PDM systems.

I can see an increased demand for better data-management functionality in CAD systems. The integration of data-management applications increased over the past 2-3 years. Vendors started to think about PDM functionality like revision management and vaulting as a standard function in CAD applications. Dassault V6 took this process even future and introduced CATIA V6 bundled with ENOVIA server.

In my view, CAD-PDM integration played a significant role in the first wave of broad PDM adoption. Multi-CAD support was (and still is) considered as an important function of PDM (and sometimes even PLM) system. To support heterogeneous environment, pure play PDM/PLM vendors must include multi-CAD support. It happened almost to all vendors in PDM/PLM space. On the opposite side, CAD/PDM vendors decided to strength their bundles and prefer to integrate data-management systems only with their own CAD systems. In my view, Multi-CAD integration is a painful issue for pure-play PDM/PLM vendors like Arena, Aras and future others. The complexity of CAD integration with PDM and PLM systems create a significant competitive advantage for CAD vendors to bundle their own PDMs right. At the same time, PDM providers from CAD vendors are less interested to provide support for “non-home-based” CAD systems.

What is my conclusion? I can see a certain dead-lock between the need for multi-CAD PDM systems and interest of CAD/PDM vendors to protect their business. Customers are demanding PDM systems like TeamCenter, Autodesk Vault, SolidWorks EPDM to support Multi-CAD features. However, it looks more and more like a dead-lock. PDM system will be embedded into CAD environment and will become part of the whole design environment. It doesn’t mean new innovative companies won’t try to break this dead-lock. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

[Update]. I keep open conversation with participants of this tweet-chat. You can expect some updates about the topic very soon.

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