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SolidWorks PLM

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 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.


1 comment

SolidWorks and PLM Story

by Oleg on February 13, 2012 · 2 comments

I’m attending SolidWorks World these days in a sunny San Diego, California. If you are in the engineering and manufacturing, it is probably “must go” event for you. Of course, if you are using SolidWorks and Dassault software. However, even if you’re not, it is a great place to see people and have some hands-on technology. I’ve been told by SolidWorks exec that SWW 2012 is expecting to have 5500 registered attendees this year and also few hundreds of “walk-in” visitors. As I promise, I will be following up SolidWorks World with my “PLM eye” to see what is going on and what PLM technologies and products you can expect to see here.

SolidWorks and Data Management… Meh?

Long time ago, I had a conversation with former CEO of SolidWorks John McEleney, who said – data-management pain is what slow down every SolidWorks deal. By the way, I still agree with John – along all these years, SolidWorks was very careful with regards to what data-management technology (PDM, PLM) is used by SolidWorks customers and sold by SolidWorks partners. Both PDM products SolidWorks used to have (and still selling with SolidWorks) are PDM Works Workgroup and Enterprise PDM are the result of acquisitions. SolidWorks selected these products carefully after ensuring that products fit customer needs.

Who is doing SolidWorks PLM today?

There quite many companies these days selling PDM/PLM solutions for SolidWorks. You can see them all on the list SolidWorks Partners (filter for Data Manageemnt and PDM / PLM). Some interesting development was done recently by Aras PLM providing product called EPLM and connected to SolidWorks Enterprise PDM. Read my previous post – Aras, SolidWorks and Disrupting PLM strategies.

SolidWorks and Big Dassault Brother

SolidWorks (oops… Dassault Systems SolidWorks Corp) has deep roots and connection with PLM technologies developed by Dassault and specifically Enovia. Back in 2010 we’ve seen the announcement of SolidWorks claiming development of new products based on Enovia V6. Earlier in 2011, SolidWorks released n!Fuze – first product to do some work between SolidWorks and V6. However, this product was far from full-blown PLM system. You can read my previous post about that – SolidWorks n!Fuze: The Cloud Remake of PLM Collaboration?

SolidWorks World 2012 PLM partners

Who is exhibiting PLM-related stories at SolidWorks World 2012? I found classification of partners is a bit confusing (which is not surprising in PDM / PLM domain). The relevant categories are Data Management, PDM, PLM, Data Interoperability.

Interesting enough, there are only two (!) companies listed in PLM category in SolidWorks partner’s pavilion – Dassault System (link leads us to and Kenesto. Kenesto is a new company focusing on Process Management for manufacturing. (disclose – I’m on the advisory board of Kenesto). The CEO of Kenesto, To say that Mike Payne, Kenesto CEO is well-known in CAD industry is probably equal to say nothing (:)). More about Kenesto will be coming later on my blog. Nine companies listed in PDM category (including SolidWorks and Dassault Systems). I’ve seen most of them from the previous years. CIDEON America, Inc.,  keytech GmbH,  MechWorks, SofTech, Inc.,  SolidPartners, Inc.Synergis SoftwarexPLM GmbH. Six companies listed as data management. Among them, Aras PLM is clearly PLM vendor. I have to mention Inforbix (disclosure – I’m co-founder). Inforbix provides applications helping people to access product data located in many enterprise systems (e.g. PDM, PLM, ERP) and files (CAD, Excel, PDF).

Separately, you need to take a look on companies providing consulting and implementation services in the manufacturing domain. At the same time, these companies are selling software they develop. In many cases, it is hard to differentiate between software and services they sell. Here is the list of companies from the list of presenters associated with PLM: Datafrond, Infotech Enterprises, Razorleaf Corporation, Zero Wait-State. I hope to learn more about what they offer this year and report on my blog.

Why SolidWorks PLM becomes attractive?

There are few factors that potential can make PLM for SolidWorks story attractive these days. First of all – PLM is getting traction. Five years ago, when you talk with people about PLM, you might be hearing “why” question. These days, the question you can hear is “how?”. I think it makes a difference between 2007 and 2012. Another aspect is a competitive landscape. Long time SolidWorks rival Autodesk is coming to PLM. As you probably read before on my blog, Autodesk is about to release their Nexus PLM on the cloud very soon. In my view, it creates another level of pressure on SolidWorks execs and an opportunity for customers to come with compelling SolidWorks PLM story.

What is my conclusion? I expect to have more conversation about PLM and SolidWorks in coming days. Stay tuned to my blog and twitter. I’m looking forward to giving you more information and updates about what will happen in coming days in San-Diego.

Best, Oleg

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