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PLM Highway

Silicon Valley is well known by the high concentration of web start-up companies. My recent conclusion about PLM Highway (Rt. 128) in Greater Boston was picked up by Boston Globe article – Carmakers flock to Massachusetts for digital design help. Navigate to the following link to read this article online. I noticed an increase in my live communication (compared to virtual blogging activities) during last time. The most notable were – Dassault ribbon cut for their new office in Waltham, MA; PTC HQ visit last week. Later, this week, I will be visiting Aras Corp. during new office launch (shh… don’t tell anybody). I’d like to thank all for the invitation and hope it will inspire me for future blogging.

Now, let’s turn to my traditional Top 5. This time, I’d like to give it in a bit extended way and to summarize top 5 topics for 2011 too. The following blogs were most readable over the past 12 months. I’m not pretending for sharp statistic, but it can give you some idea about what was on the list of interest. Of course, it provides some impression about how readers are picking up articles (in my view, this is what happened for my Aras, Dassault, PTC, Siemens post).

2011 Top 5

Aras PLM lines up against Windchill, Enovia and TeamCenter

Aras is definitely moving towards crossing paths with PLM like Windchill, Enovia, TeamCenter. Is it possible to displace large PLM system with Aras today? My answer – it depends. The PLM implementation scope is varied, and every implementation can be different. Therefore, I specially liked the community oriented approach of development. This is something that can make a difference. On the side of platforms and integrations – time will show if Aras will find a balance between throwing resources and effective delivery. This is a big challenge.

SolidWorks n!Fuze: The cloud re-make of PLM collaboration?

The collaboration topic in PLM is still a place where we will see lots of innovations. The attempt to remake some old concepts to a new reality is a good sign in my view. I can see “cloud” concepts, focus on usability and introducing of social elements as right steps toward converting n!Fuze into something useful. However, I have to note that some functionality of n!Fuze will create an overlap with existing Enterprise PDM features. Users have a tendency to push the limits of product can do from the functional standpoint, and I can see people can use n!Fuze as a basic PDM on the cloud.

PDM vs. PLM: A data perspective

The ugly truth of enterprise software – it is all about data and the control over the data. It appears in every solution. It is all about what data you manage, how do you keep your customers accessing and processing this data?. PLM is the attempt to manage data in the much broader scope than PDM. It creates lots of benefits from the standpoint of data completeness and, at the same time, created many overlaps in data management solutions in enterprise organizations.

Autodesk PLM: Fast Second?

People want to have a better way to manage their data and processes. According to Autodesk, most of PLM implementations today are about data management. Existing PLM vendors are doing mostly data management. Autodesk is doing an excellent job in data management using Autodesk Vault. So, the goal to fix processes and workflow sounds like a reasonable one. Autodesk is getting a huge advantage to research all available PLM implementations. The second-mover opportunity is on the Autodesk side. However, Autodesk will have to come with something radically different to prove their approach is better. Last, but not least – processes are tightly connected to the data in organizations. Autodesk will have to implement an efficient access to product and company data from the cloud to successfully deploy their new cloud-based process management software. Here is a challenge and a potential danger in process-oriented cloud strategy.

PLM, BOM, Excel: How to make it right?

This post was injected by Arena Solution blog giving away some BOM templates. I think, MS Excel is a big deal for PLM companies. Customers are voting for Excels. PLM vendors may understand that their previous “Export To Excel” strategy was wrong, and they need to change it now. The competition with Excel will be growing as much as PLM vendors will be trying to expand their solutions to be used by more people in companies. So, give away some Excel templates can be a very good idea.

December Top 5

PLM Highway and New Dassault Waltham Campus

Dassault new campus is interesting. You can definitely enjoy some pictures, as well as the one and the only map of PLM highway in Boston.

How to streamline PLM?

PLM was born many years to solve the problem of product development in complex defense and aerospace companies. Since that time, software vendors passed a long way developing new functionality. However, I don’t think it made solutions better. It is very hard to remove functionality for existing software. At the same time, I don’t see any alternative to that in the future.

Autodesk PLM Nexus: First Hands-on demo

Nexus PLM has nice and slick web user experience. Without practicall hands-on it is hard to say something about ease of navigation and the estimate the number of clicks you need to do to perform an action (click-per-action). These two things normally drive crazy users in data-oriented web environment. I found very positive the fact Autodesk is thinking about “insane customization”. However, it will be interested to see and experiment with how the complexity of customization will co-exist with cloud-based multi-tenant deployment. It reminds me one of my old posts – Is PLM customization a Data Management Titanic? Another critical aspect that wasn’t covered is data import or integration with existing systems (i.e. Files, Archives, Content Management, PDM, PLM, ERP, etc.). The answer Autodesk provided pointed to some internal development with Autodesk Vault as well as a future work with partners. That would be very interesting to see in the future. Overall, Nexus has a potential to disrupt. I’m looking forward to seeing how Autodesk will realize this potential.

Autodesk, Aras and integrated PDM/PLM story

PDM / PLM integration looks like an interesting trend. We are going to see to see more examples, in my view. What is the fundamental reason behind it? I think many companies are having trouble to drive their IT infrastructure towards unification. It requires longer projects and expanded budgets. If PLM companies find an efficient way to integrate and access data between systems, it can definitely provide a competitive advantage on the market. Last one cannot be guaranteed, but it sounds as an interesting opportunity.

How do you know your PLM project in trouble?

The five symptoms I figured out, probably will be true not only for PLM, but for a broader range of enterprise software. However, as you probably know, in PLM and enterprise, one size doesn’t fit all. You need to have a diversity of knowledge and experience to make thing work.

Have enjoyable and successful 2012!

Best, Oleg



Remember my post few weeks ago about PLM highway? Boston is certainly a place where you can see a concentration of major CAD / PLM companies. As part of my blogging activity, I’m leveraging the advantage of living in a close proximity to these companies. It gives me an opportunity to visit offices of these companies and have less formal conversation with people there.

PTC office is actually the closest office to my place. Literally, it is 10 min drive. I had a chance to spend my morning today at PTC talking about different product topics – Social Link, anyBOM, Mobile Apps and some others.

Windchill Social Link

I’ve got a deep dive in Social Link from David Blair, VP of Social Product Development. I have already seen few presentations of this product so for me, it was a good opportunity to ask more questions and discuss various aspects of PTC social product development strategy. If you have never seen Social Link, navigate to the following link to see some basic presentations and videos. Social Link is about communities. There are three types of community supported – practices, product and innovation. You may ask what is the difference? Here is the deal – social link is connected to various PTC application events. Each type of community provides a specific configuration of events. Obviously, you can re-configure all events. The underline technological platform of Social Link is Microsoft SharePoint.

PTC and Mobile

Mobile is clearly trending. 1-2 years ago, the main question people asked about mobile was “do we need it?”. Today, most of the people are asking two questions – 1/when? 2/what platform to support first? So, PTC is coming with more mobile applications. Soon, we are going to see Windchill Mobile, Arbotext Mobile on iPad and maybe few more experimental apps.

anyBOM Assembly

To switch gears from technology, social and mobile, I have an interesting conversation with Brian Thompson about coming release of Creo Option Modeler in coming Creo release. In a nutshell, anyBOM technology supposed to provide a support for top down design of highly configured products with the ability to define configuration rules based on the information coming from business aspects of product development. I cannot share all details of this conversation before Creo 2.0 release. If you haven’t chance to see anyBOM presentation last year during PTC Creo Launch.

3D Demo Theatre

I spent some time in PTC 3D presentation theater. One of my points of interest was to explore what PTC did with regards to Windchill usability in their last release. (Windchill 10). In addition to having Windchill 10 on an enormously huge cinema screen, I had a chance to play with 3D simulation software. Look on few pictures below.

What is my conclusion? You are probably familiar with statements “beavers do what beavers do”. Don’t expect beavers to build PLM. Beavers build dams. So, PTC is a “beaver type” company. PTC builds Product Lifecycle Software. Don’t expect them to build something else. They will talk to you about CAD, BOM, Parts, Assemblies, Configurations. The biggest question – will PTC shake the industry with Creo – is still not answered, in my view. They are clearly moving towards that goals. However, the speed is important. Just my opinion…

Best, Oleg

Freebie. PTC didn’t pay me to write this post. I enjoyed PTC coffee, and some PTC branded marketing stuff.



I’m sure, you are familiar with highway 101 crossing Silicon Valley. However, you probably never heard about PLM Highway in Boston. After last week Autodesk PLM announcement and Dassault System move to a new campus in Waltham, I think we can officially suggest to rename Massachusetts Route 128 (also known as Yankee Division Highway) to PLM Highway. The map below prove it. PTC, Dassault, Autodesk, Siemens, SAP, Oracle. These are top six providers of PLM software with offices located along Rt 128.

As a blogger, I was invited by DS to visit their new office and to attend ribbon cut ceremony. Bernard Charles, DS President and CEO and Al Bunshaft hosted this event for media and  journalists. After short briefing and visiting virtual reality presentation room, we’ve been taken to the campus tour. I’ve honored by having Jeff Ray walking together with our group and providing explanations about the building.  Below you can see few pictures I made during this event.

You can find more pictures on DS Campus Tumblr page.

Best, Oleg

Freebie. Dassault didn’t pay me to post about Ribbon cut ceremony.


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