Interesting things are happening with Solidworks PDM these days. I’ve been following Solidworks World 2017 event earlier this week in Los Angeles. I was caught by the news – Solidworks is introducing new package (system) of Solidworks PDM called Solidworks Manage. Solidworks already has PDM Standard and PDM Professional. Last year, I published a blog with a question – How many PDM systems Solidworks customers need? If I include discontinued systems (Workgroup PDM) that still used by customers and some future systems (such as Solidworks xDrive), I can count 5 PDM systems available for Solidworks users. So, here is a new one – Solidworks Manage.
Solidworks SolidApps blog brings a recap of SWW17 day 3 including the following note about what Solidworks Manage will include.
Data Management. The SOLIDWORKS data management ecosystem products have broad multi-discipline appeal within organizations because of their ease of use and familiar Windows explorer interface, which provide fast access to relevant data not achievable with generic network shares. New for SOLIDWORKS 2018 is SOLIDWORKS Manage, which adds new capabilities including: Project timelines and resources; Complex business processes; Advanced Item Management; Dashboard and reports for critical data
I captured the following 2 slides from #SWW17 twitter stream.
From the slide it might look like Solidworks is building an extended PDM functionality, which is in a traditional view very much associated with PLM portfolio. However, the interesting thing in the slide above – Solidworks ENOVIA connector. First, I thought Solidworks Manage is an extension of Solidworks PDM with functional capabilities of ENOVIA, but I didn’t find any confirmation to that. Indeed, Solidworks Manage looks like a functionality dedicated for Solidworks PDM. In that case, is there an overlap between Solidworks Manage and ENOVIA?
Last year Inceptra blog – Managing your SolidWorks data and more, with 3DEXPERIENCE brings a perspective how to extended Solidworks PDM with additional capabilities with ENOVIA platform, Here is a passage:
Completing the PLM Vision. As most companies’ processes mature, and basic PDM needs have been met, they begin to look at how to leverage their CAD data and existing systems even further. We’ve found the most common next steps are engineering BOM management, formal change processes, program management, and requirements management, although many other processes are available.
Here is a picture that presents solution scope and processes supported by ENOVIA.
The landscape of Solidworks PDM and extended PLM solutions for Solidworks available in Dassault Systemes portfolio is large. History is mixed with the future. All together can be combined with Dassault Systemes strategy for zero-file management and 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
In my view, Dassault Systems will have to rationalize the number of PDM systems. But this is not a simple task today. My hunch, Solidworks customers are growing and there is a demand for project management, BOM management and more advanced process management compared to document lifecycle available in existing Solidworks PDM (which was originally developed by Conisio). So, here is a result – an additional package from Solidworks PDM with new modules.
I’m also curious about future strategy Solidworks related to foundation of new distributed data management. The slide above brings a new nam – Global File Management. Does it mean Solidworks is building a distributed file management foundation (platform?) to support existing file-based systems? It can be similar to existing Autodesk Fusion360 with files sync. But, at the same time, 3DEXPERIENCE ENOVIA platform is strongly against files (zero-files in the future). Outside of Dassault Systemes, cloud based CAD systems such as Onshape and high-frequency data management in Autodesk Forge platform is advocating against files.
What is my conclusion? One size doesn’t fit all. It seems like Solidworks user landscape is growing and these users are demanding an extended set of features and functionality. It will be very interesting to see how Dassault Systemes will manage the overlap in functionality of Solidworks Manage and ENOVIA and will introduce an appropriate synchronization, integration and upgrade modules. To rationalize Solidworks and ENOVIA PDM-PLM sooner then later can be a good idea, in my view. Data management platform is the area where I have the most of unanswered questions. Will Solidworks build a foundation using 3DEXPERIENCE platform or Global File Management is a new platform future for Solidworks? In the last case, what will be the data management foundation for Solidworks beyond files? How projects, bill of materials and processes will be managed in Solidworks xDesign, which is not file based as far as I can see? I need to learn more what is Solidworks Manage and how it will be interconnected with rest of Dassault Systemes strategies. Just my thoughts…
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Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased