Aras is probably doing something right. At least this is an immediate thought that comes to my mind when I see a line of press releases with announcements about significant deals or agreements. The last one about Aras and Airbus partnership just came few days ago – Airbus and Aras sign Strategic Partner Agreement to use Aras Innovator for enterprise-wide Engineering Business Processes beyond 30,000 Users. The announcement outlines list 5 topics that potentially differentiated Aras from other PLM platforms. Here is the passage from press release:
Several PLM Platforms were evaluated by Airbus for the ability to enable simple, agile solution delivery, and Aras was retained as the preferred platform based on: 1/ Significant coverage of expected scope; 2/ Open architecture with high-end data modeling “on the fly”, no development involved; 3/ Upgrade services for customizations included as part of subscription; 4/ Easy integration & handling; 5/ Long term viability and total cost of ownership
Four years ago, I attended Aras event – ACE 2011 in Detroit. You might remember my article – Aras PLM lines up against Windchill, Enovia and Teamcenter. I can see a connection between topics from Aras-Airbus announcement and my 2011 blog post – platform flexibility, customization, integration and low TCO.
Aras announcement made me think about what happens with Aras for the last 4 years. Here is the list of my thoughts.
1- Aras is probably coming to the right combination of functional maturity and cost that allows to be disruptive for larger deals against top 3 leading PLM vendors (Dassault Systems, Siemens PLM and PTC).
2- Aras architecture can scale to the level demanded by enterprise IT of large organizations thinking about 10’000s users. Aras sent a strong message last year (backed up by Microsoft) about 1 million PLM user scalability test on Microsoft SQL server, which potentially created a confidence for IT organizations.
3- Aras removed one of the most complicated questions related to upgrades and continues support of new revisions. Aras is committed to support “free upgrade services” for subscription customers. It allows to IT managers not to be very concerned by a potential “version lock” when organization is forced to pay a significant amount of money for services to migrate to the latest PLM software version.
So, how does it impact PLM industry? For the last 10-15 years, nobody created a significant competition to the top 3 largest PLM software outfits – Enovia, Teamcenter, Windhcill. But, here is the thing – traditional PLM software reached their limits and many organizations need to consider what to do next. The ROI is slow and upgrade to next versions of PLM platforms is questionable.
What is my conclusion? It looks likes Aras has a potential to change a status quo among top tier of PLM providers. You can think about Aras as a “pain relief” for companies thinking how to grow their PLM development and concerned about a ROI speed. Here is my formula of what happened: ARAS SUCCESS = MATURE PLM FUNCTIONS + STABLE ARCHITECTURE – HIGH LICENSE COST + ALL INCLUSIVE UPGRADE SERVICES. So, what about risks of switching to Aras? The potential risks for Aras can come from growing development and support effort that will force Aras to raise subscription cost. I see it as a challenge for Aras team. But, by that time, Aras can potentially disrupt large enough number of manufacturing OEMs to become 4th major PLM provider. It looks like next few years we will see a growing competition between existing PLM vendor and Aras, which is on mission to disrupt PLM industry status quo. Just my thoughts.