I think, 2012 will become a year of cloud. Arena Solutions is not a new kid in the block. The company was pioneering On-Demand, SaaS and recently cloud technologies for the last decade. My attention was caught my Arena’s press release yesterday – Arena Launches New Products to Help Engineers Go From Prototype to Production. In a nutshell, Arena is releasing a new tool (called PartLists). Here is how it explained in the press release:
PartsList is a lightweight BOM management app, and PDXViewer is an easy-to-use build package viewer. Using PartsList and PDXViewer together, engineers can import designs from ECAD, automatically complete documentation, then share completed BOMs or PDX build packages with anyone.
A couple of months ago, I had a conversation with Arena product and marketing people about this tool. Back that time, the product name was PDXViewer. It took some time to Arena to bring this tool to the market. Name was changed as well as some additional features were added
PLM and Simplification
What is interesting in Arena PartList is that confirms the idea of simplification as one of the fundamental innovation drivers these days. Arena dropped PLM from the name, back to basics of BOM and introduce the tool that can be used by everyone immediately.
Integration is a key.
One of the painful elements in the work of engineers is when they need re-enter information twice. This is the most stupid thing and software vendors need to solve it. Arena allows to connect to part catalogs of suppliers as well supports importing tools. In my view, it is not enough. In the past, Arena Solution was troubled by CAD-PLM integrations. To integrated CAD and On-Deman PLM wasn’t simple back in 2000s. But today, it is different. I want to see more how Arena PartList solves integration challenges to prevent engineers to re-enter information to their Bill of Materials. PartList proposed import/export using excel and CSV files. However, it sounds ’95 and way too complicated for web solution.
What is my conclusion? I think, simplification is a key. Arena PartList is cool and great from that standpoint. It reminded me one of my Google-related posts. I can almost use Google spreadsheets (sorta-Excel-in-the-cloud). The ability to bring CAD bill of material in and massage until it becomes real Bill of Material is one that probably missed. Just my thoughts…
Freebie. Arena didn’t pay me to write this post.