If you follow Siemens PLM Solid Edge, you might noticed another turn in a history of data management (PDM) development. Recent Develop 3D article – Solid Edge ST10 review can give you an idea about transformation of data management. Here is the passage:
Those that are familiar with Solid Edge’s development will know that, some time ago, the default data management solution was built on Microsoft SharePoint. This changed in the last release (ST9) with Siemens introducing a set of tools that enhanced the indexing tools native to Microsoft Windows to add in some CAD flavoured knowledge.
The result was a basic data management system that worked, out of the box, without any special server requirements and was just as applicable to the smaller workgroup using a network drive arrangement as it was to the sole trader just working with their file system.
This continues for this release with extra sophistication added to those tools focused around enabling teams to ensure that they’re both working on the same, up to date data, as well as managing file duplicates across projects (which has the benefit of reducing repetitive work and potential inventory) using a new Design Manager utility.
While the built-in data management tools are the entry-level in the Solid Edge range, there’s also a good level of integration with Siemens’ Teamcenter PLM system. This release sees the ActiveWorkspace technology from Teamcenter integrated into SolidEdge, which offers a pretty slick gateway into the PLM world.
The trajectory of Solid Edge data management is really interesting. Started early as Solid Edge Insight fully on top of SharePoint, it was transformed as Solid Edge Insight XT and then later abandoning SharePoint in ST9 and introducing simple data management using Microsoft desktop technologies. ST10 seems to be developing Solid Edge proprietary desktop technology and at the same time integrating with Teamcenter.
It made me think about an interesting state of Solid Edge development. Solid Edge was relying on SharePoint for simple data management, [but it didn’t work out] *** read my update below. SharePoint became really complex and Solid Edge wasn’t only PLM company that left SharePoint infrastructure. You would expect Solid Edge to embrace Teamcenter to provide to Solid Edge users a continues path to PLM. But it seems to be only demanded by small number of large companies. All other Solid Edge companies are looking for something simple. Or, in other words, how to have transparent data management (a-la Solidworks PDM). So, Solid Edge looks like catching up on independent PDM development. You can clearly see how Solid Edge is development CAD-PDM bundle I described 5 years ago in my Multi-CAD PDM integrations – yesterday, today and tomorrow.
What is my conclusion? Options can create a decision process complexity. Solid Edge data management is staying on desktop and relying on Windows data management and indexing. It is reminding me Workgroup PDM (which is Solidworks will be phasing out next year). At the same time new functions will be coming from a new cloud portal and Teamcenter. In addition to that, Solid Edge PDM plug-ins for few other PDM systems. I wonder how all these options will co-exist and support simple data management decision process for Solid Edge users. Just my thoughts…
Update [15-Sep-2017]. I had a chance to discuss Solid Edge data management strategy with Dan Staples, Vice President, Mainstream Engineering at Siemens PLM Software. My *original statement* about SharePoint strategy must be clarified. What I meant by “didn’t work out” was related to the fact SharePoint became really complex to manage and rely on for Solid Edge data management. Which lead Siemens PLM to move on and to develop new embedded data management solution for Solid Edge.
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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.