Dassault PLM for next generation – zero files and cultural change

Dassault PLM for next generation – zero files and cultural change


Usually, it takes time and money to implement PLM system for a large company. This work requires understanding of customer business processes, learning about problems, establishing strategy and making actual implementation. This is what many people implementing PLM is calling – business transformation. It takes time to people to adopt to a new way of work and new product development processes.

I have mixed opinion about business transformation. It is clearly good thing- to establish new and clean way to manage product development. However, it comes together with price tag of implementation complexity – a result, PLM stuck to provide solution for SME. As we speak, many manufacturing companies are looking for agile alternative of complex and expensive business transformation PLMs.

The new buzzword of modern technological reality is “experience”. We don’t develop software application any more – we design experience. This is a nice term and it clearly came as a result of modern software web and consumer oriented platforms. Apple and some other companies played a significant role in that change. Changes are coming to PLM world as well.

I just learned, about future Dassault System plans to re-invent PLM with 3DExperience. I’ve been reading Engineering.com PLM/ERP article – “Demolish the silos in PLM”: Why Dassault’s Bernard Charles believes in the 3D Experience. Have a read – this is an interesting article about future DS plans.

So what I found there? Cultural change. Not more and not less. New Dassault PLM platform will will demand cultural change. Well, what does it mean practically? It is not clear yet. I found few passages that brings some engineering language about meaning of 3DExperience.

“The zero error BOM (Bill of Materials) demands a zero file solution. 3DEXPERIENCE brings the zero file world into the engineering environment; what we do is to connect directly to product data, not to files”.

“CAD for instance, has been a separate world all these years, where you’ve been collecting requirements from disconnected environments, and the same types of barriers surrounds the job all the way through product development to manufacturing.”

The main idea behind DS’ 3DExperience is to provide the IT tools needed to break down the silos and connect the development work not only to software, electronics and manufacturing, but also to the end-customers.

Breaking silos was PLM objective for many years. I’ve been discussing it on my blog before. For example, take a look here –PLM, Organization and Information Silos: Good, Bad and Ugly. Bill of materials solution has also very siloed organization – PLM: Bill of materials and silo syndrome. For the last 20 years, breaking organizational silos was always IT task focused on information integration. I remember few successes, but it was a very complicated and tedious work. Will 3DExperience do it differently? Who knows. The jury is still out to watch it.

What is my conclusion? I think, the key question is related to cultural change. How new 3D Experience platform will support the way organizations are transforming into horizontal, flat and connected structures? If the process of natural organization transformation will match new concepts and philosophy of 3Dexperience platform, we might see some good outcome. The biggest problem of PLM for the last 10-15 years was adoption that required organizational transformation. If cultural change will eliminate the need of PLM to fight for organization change, we can see the adoption level of 3DExperience system skyrocketing in the future. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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  • bausk

    What does “connecting to data” even mean? Is that data magically floating in the sky? Or did Dassault invent databases again?

  • My two penneth Oleg…

    The Dassault paradigm may indeed require a cultural change, but being a single vendor offering makes some user companies nervous. The file-less scenario of DS’s experience is a good way to derive more intimate integration, but once bought in, there’s limited exit strategy if something goes wrong and hence may be perceived as an increased commercial risk to the purchaser.

    Also, the DS paradigm may arguably be being viewed as being more difficult to embed in a multi-vendor environment as is often the scenario in large companies. Historically, Dassault (and indeed others) haven’t helped themselves on this concern in the fact that they’ve been seen as somewhat slow (one might even say sometimes reticent) to providing a open platform that encourages co-existence and integration at the early stages of a companies transition to the 3D experience platform.

    On the topic of cultural change and organization transformation of companies. I believe you’re right. If the glove fits, it’ll do well. The challenge of acceptance may arguably be down to the fact that the IT could be seen by companies (and personalities) as a driver of change to suit a particular vendors software paradigm. Companies might be more likely to transform based on accepted or emerging methodologies that make sense for their ambitions, and where they see a means to employ IT solutions that support these, not the other way round?

    just my thoughts… (great phrase BTW)

  • beyondplm

    Bausk, thanks for asking! I think, in that context it means “anything else, but not to files”

  • beyondplm

    Allan, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I can see two separate issues here.

    First is related to what called “vendors lock-in”. The opinion for the last 5-7 years is that file-less scenario will increase the chance to lock into vendor There is a potential risk, but as far as we move into more “cloud-based” scenarios, the solution similar Google Takeout (https://www.google.com/settings/takeout) will become a norm. So, the danger to lock data in a specific file-less bundle is less.

    The second is cultural change. It will take time. I don’t think DS (or anybody else) will be able to find how to accelerate it beyond the speed of changes supported by overall technological environment and IT. Remember, 10 years is a good time to make a change in habits, like we did with e-commerce and mobile. We shifted towards a complete acceptance of “touch” in 5-7 years. As we know 5-10 years is not a long time for manufacturing programs :).

    Thanks again for your insight and discussion support!
    Best, Oleg

  • Sami Kentta

    I have a problem with “3D experience”. To me only physical parts&assemblies benefit of 3D representation, e.g. technical documentation and software are not “3D”. Same actually applies to HDPLM, don’t like that either… I mean, how can an embedded software I put in the product be developed be “High definition”? Of course, kind of understand what DS or SPLMS tries to communicate, but doesn’t work with me. Sorry marketing! 🙂
    But, working with zero files would be great! I could see benefits in couple of areas, first – making PLM more transactional, dealing with only data and forgetting files would help us to transfer information between enterprise applications. At the moment we hide the information into files because it is too easy. Then we do full text search in datasets to find it again. Secondly, making industrial internet to happen and developing m2m interfaces requires machines and sensors to tell more about themselves – PLM plays a big role there and it can’t be done via files.

  • beyondplm

    Sami, thanks for your comment and insight!

    3DEXPERIENCE and HD PLM is about the same – how to create highly integrated product development environment with strong focus on visual elements (CAD roots play here :)). The tactics of both DS and SPLM can be different, but the end game is the same.

    Files is an interesting story, in m view. In my view, this is an intersection between tactics and strategies. Long term we don’t have files. However, it won’t happen overnight. So, tactical interests are coming here. DS has a need to make their data management platform stronger. Therefore, DS is trying to eliminate files earlier in the process. SPLM has strong Teamcenter base. So, they can survive more with file-based tactical approach and gain more.

    Just my thoughts…