3DEXPERIENCE formula for SMB and how it could be different from other PLM vendors?

3DEXPERIENCE formula for SMB and how it could be different from other PLM vendors?

My attention was caught by CIMdata commentary about expanding of 3DEXPERIENCE platform – report SOLIDWORKS World 2019. Navigate here to check more. Few key passages:

Dassault Systèmes continues to extend their 3DEXPERIENCE Platform with new coverage of MES and ERP. Mr. Bernard Charles, Dassault Systèmes CEO, talked about how the “virtual world extends and improves the real world” and is having a greater impact on how we mitigate real-world issues through virtualization and analysis.

As witnessed by many announcements during the event, Dassault Systèmes continues to expand and extend the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform to support the diverse and particular needs of the SOLIDWORKS user community. Arguably, the most important announcement was that Dassault Systèmes has acquired IQMS, which brings Dassault Systèmes fully into the enterprise platform arena, especially for those small and midsize companies who use SOLIDWORKS. IQMS’ product suite spans ERP and MES capabilities marketed to small and mid-sized manufacturing companies. According to Dassault Systèmes, sixty percent of IQMS’ existing customer base are also SOLIDWORKS customers.

CAD+PDM+MES+ERP –  a new formula for new DS strategy?

Until now, Solidworks was selling CAD and advanced PDM in professional channel (aka as Solidwroks channel). The product set was result of multi-year adoption of customers from tiny 2-3 seats of Solidworks to more advanced features delivered via Enterprise PDM. Last year announcement of SOLIDWORKS Manage was possible solution to customers demanding more advanced processes and BOM management functions. Essentially SOLIDWORKS Manage was PLM system, but my hunch  SOLIDWORKS refused to call it PLM. Historically, PLM has bad association in a mindset of Solidworks users

I’m not sure about what happened with SOLIDWORKS Manage, but I didn’t hear much about it from main stage of SOLIDWORKS World 2019. Which means DS strategic line is to bring 3DEXPERIENCE.Works. Does it include SOLIDWORKS Manage? I’m not sure about it. But ENOVIA PLM collaboration is part of new Works portfolio.

New players added to the game – DELMIA.Works (MES) an newly acquired IQMS (ERP). It brings a very interesting combination of products with rich set of functionality. I can see how DS will be attempt to connect data from CAD to procurement by integrating design data with manufacturing product planning and procurement. The data chain is very logical. However, I can see 2 fundamental challenges DS will have to solve to make it work.

1- Product and technology is a complex beast

The left side of the equation (CAD+PDM) is using traditional Solidworks desktop product and SQL server based PDM Professional (Enterprise PDM / Conisio). The right side of the formula is most probably a combination of 3DEXPERIENCE services and IQMS (which is another database driven enterprise system).

Check these two articles to get more info – Solidworks Manage and 3rd PDM revolution, Solidworks and 3DEXPERIENCE – Beyond PDM trajectories.

2- Customer and channel learning curve

Mainstream Solidworks adoption is driven by engineers using Solidworks and CAD managers and engineering IT using PDM. Resellers are very much aligned to this schema. To sell MES+ERP will introduce a big step in understanding of business and enterprise organization. It can be a complex process to sell to large companies and too much functions to sell for smaller ones. One size doesn’t fit kind of problem.

CIMdata passage explains the second challenge in the best way:

One of the keys to Dassault Systèmes’ successful business integration of IQMS will be its channel’s ability to understand and sell an enterprise platform. Many others in the software industry have tried to move from applications to solutions, and now to enterprise platforms, only to find that this is very difficult to do with an existing VAR channel. Education and patience will be required, as well as the integration of the existing IQMS channel with SOLIDWORKS.

How new 3DEXPERIENCE is different from other PLM approaches to deliver PLM for SMB?

Most of previous PLM approaches to deliver solution for mid size manufacturers were using out-of-the-box scale down model of enterprise PLM delivered integrated with CAD systems. The main value proposition to optimize business processes and integrate with downstream systems such as ERP. It was hit of miss approach. With “no headwinds and no rain”, knowledgeable PLM reseller was able to implement PLM system for the company. But probability of hiccups was too high. New 3DEXPERIENCE strategy is to bring CAD+PLM+ERP in a “single package” and focus on business values and outcomes of ERP system. It is different and it can bring all system ownership under a single umbrella. But… will new system have all needed features and also be able to provide a desired level of user experience and simplicity? That’s $1B question.

What is my conclusion? Dassault Systemes is embarking into a very interesting journey to provide solutions for medium size manufacturing companies using Solidworks. Although, DS has all functional pieces, the main question is how it will bring a desired “experience” and as a result, a successful adoption. No doubts, it will bring many changes into established Solidworks product delivery “food chain” in the next few years. Watch this space. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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.

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  • Great analysis Oleg, I wonder if the MES will be directly Flexnet from Apriso which they bought a few years ago.
    Also for SMB, I think it’s a misconception to try to have everything out-of-the-box, pre-configured. It works for a limited scope like PDM and maybe a few additionnal processes, but soon enough, users will need job-specific processes and data collectors which will 9 out of 10 times be answered by Ms Excel.
    To me the best option is still to have something very flexible, maintainable, upgradable and at a reasonable cost.

  • beyondplm

    Yoann, thanks for sharing your perspective! Until now, nobody proved on scale that flexible can work without significant amount of services and services is big no-no for SMB. I like your formula = flexible + maintainable + upgradable + reasonable cost. There are very few products that can be qualified with such combination of criterias, in my view.

  • My take on that also is, if we want new offers to match with these requirements, is there a real market that doesn’t take 20 years to make a software editor profitable? I feel like the industry requires PLM editor to make a 15-20 years bet.

  • beyondplm

    I think, current PLM paradigm is too old and cannot scale. The reality is different. So, by making “the same PLM” cheaper, faster, nicer, we won’t build a new business. We need to get back to roots – customer experience and business demands to figure out how to build product that can be successful in the market today. I’m very much biased with what I do with openbom.com :). But we don’t do PLM Editor in a way it was done for the last 20 years.