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enterprise pdm

Monday was my second day in San-Diego. SolidWorks World 2012 was officially launched with general session with presentations of SolidWorks CEO Bertrand Sicot and Dassault CEO Bernard Charles. Yes, it is the coolest show in the town. 5500 attendees, 110 companies in the partners pavilion. I think, SolidWorks beat all scores in absolute and relative numbers. According to SolidWorks people, this is the biggest SWW show ever. In addition to that it made me think about the following comparison with SolidWorks rival – Autodesk. Autodesk University 2011 two months ago in Las Vegas gather about 8000+ attendees. However, AU included AutoCAD, AEC and other businesses. On the picture below Bertrand is dancing on stage during the kick of SolidWorks World 2012

The power of community

Solidworks clearly has the best community on the market. The following numbers (I haven’t had a chance to check them) shows SolidWorsk jobs market on US website monster.com compared to SolidWorks competitors – PTC, Siemens and Autodesk.

SolidWorks Future Versions

This is the picture that was presented by Bertrand Sicot when he talked about future SolidWorks V6 (or maybe it will be called differently) version. Bertrand mentioned “next year” as a target date for future version. The target is moving, which doesn’t mean necessarily bad thing. However, SolidWorks clearly misscommunicate this issue from 2010. On Wednsday, SolidWorks will be presenting future of SolidWorks 2013.

SolidWorks PDM and PLM opportunity

No big news here. As far as I know, SolidWorks is not introducing new products. SolidWorks EPDM and SolidWorks n!Fuze remains two products in the focus. It seems to me SolidWorks is focused on EPDM and sales of this product are growing. At the same time, this product requires some re-architecture to support the reality of today’s business and technological environment. n!Fuze, the product first introduced last year, is going through the turbulent time. Gian Paolo Bassi (SolidWorks new VP R&D) mentioned that some mistakes were done at the release time. He hinted on two aspects – pricing and usability. So, we can expect the next gen of n!Fuze in the second half of this year. There are also no news about future PDM / PLM products on top of Enovia V6. The joke I shared with my community on tweeter about EPDM V6 is that SolidWorks is still running on 4 cylinders V6 car will come later…

What is my conclusion? I think SolidWorks community has an incredible power. When you can see how many people are united by SolidWorks (or how Bertrand called it “united by design), you can understand what potential it contains. The development story of SolidWorks today can be summarized in a single word – transition. n!Fuze, the future of SolidWorks on V6 – the time to judge will be in one year when a new team and leaders will be able to show results. For the moment, they can only promise. If you have customers and revenues, you can fix the rest. So, in my view, the potential of SolidWorks community for PLM is not realized yet. This is a white space, opportunity for DS R&D and an open call to competitors and partners. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclosure: SolidWorks sponsored my registration fees, lodging and some meals during the event.

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August is a typical vacation time. At least, I was thinking so… Not any more. Today’s news brought me at least two acquisition notices. One from Autodesk about their acquisition of Instructables – a popular online community where people can upload, discuss, rate and collaborate on a wide variety of do-it-yourself (DYI) projects. The second one, maybe less notable compared to Autodesk, but very interesting in the context of PDM and PLM - Razorleaf acquired Office2PDM product from Extensible CAD. Razorleaf is a small outfit in PDM/PLM world providing services focuses on the implementation of design automation, SharePoint, Product Data Management and PLM solutions.

So, what happened? Razorleaf acquired Office2PDM – a suite of products that better connects SolidWorks Enterprise PDM to Microsoft Office products. Read full text of Razorleaf announcement here. Here is the the top quote:

Office2PDM offers a seamless integration between Microsoft Office products and SolidWorks Enterprise PDM (EPDM).  EPDM Dashboard provides real-time access to Enterprise PDM vaults, right from Microsoft Outlook, for monitoring the status of documents and workflows.

In a nutshell, Office PDM is for people that are spending their lives in Microsoft Office products. To have an ability to seamlessly accessing EPDM data is important. Take a look on following two videos.

Razorleaf published on their blog an additional information about their intents related to the future of Office2PDM:

Razorleaf plans to extend and enhance EPDM Dashboard and Office2PDM, as we strive to deliver on its pomise of making PLM tools work better for our clients.  Office2PDM and EPDM Dashboard are SolidWorks Partner Products, offering one of the highest levels of integration for access to the Enterprise PDM system.  The transition from Extensible CAD to Razorleaf should be transparent to existing customers, and a net benefit given Razorleaf’s long history  with Enterprise PDM and its predecessor, Conisio.

SolidWorks EPDM and Office

Razorleaf acquisition made me think about some interesting aspects of PDM and PLM implementations related to Microsoft Office. The connection of EPDM and Office is a big deal, in my view. Email and Office are mainstream tools that used by all manufacturing companies implementing SolidWorks and EPDM. Seamless Office integration is a key functionality that expects to be highly demanded by everyone in SolidWorks customer community.

What is my conclusion? There is one question I have not answered reading Razorleaf announcement. What happens with V6 Enovia cloud tools and SolidWorks PDM? SolidWorks n!Fuze is the newest DS SolidWorks product on the cloud. Dassault just released n!Fuze a month ago. n!Fuze supposed to provide a first step into the future of SolidWorks data management and collaboration tool on the cloud. How fast SolidWorks EPDM will be replaced by V6 on the cloud? In my view, Razorleaf is clearly saying – Focus on Office. Cloud? Meh… Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg
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