Aras PLM lines up against Windchill, Enovia, and TeamCenter

Aras PLM lines up against Windchill, Enovia, and TeamCenter

A week ago, I came back from ACE 2011 (Aras Community Event 2011), which took place in Detroit, MI. Let me propose a very provoking statement: Aras Innovator is on move to replace full fledged PLM products such as TeamCenter, Enovia / MatrixOne and Windchill. Over the 3 days, Aras presented technology, vision and community of people working with Aras Innovator. You can get the highlights and download presentations by navigating to the following link.

Aras: Business Changes and Customization

In the keynote session, Aras’ President and CEO, Peter Schroer, presented the vision of open PLM platform with the ability to maintain a consistent pace of changes during the implementation cycle. Changes are inevitable. For the last years PLM vendors developed strategies to provide out-of-the-box PLM implementations. Aras put focus on “supporting organizational change”.

In addition to that, Aras put a significant focus on their support of Software Customization. Customization of PLM software (and not only PLM), is an important factor impacting PLM implementation TCO. Aras is focusing on how to support customization, and it relates to the Aras Innovator platform capabilities.

Aras and Integration Stories

Integration is an important element of every PLM strategy and implementation. There are multiple aspects of integrations – desktops, CADs, PLM systems and ERP systems. Aras presented a very broad scope of integrations and integration technologies. (note: I was a bit surprised to see existing PLM systems defined as “legacy”).

Aras Innovator introduces multiple APIs and technologies to support integration with different products.

Aras Platform Vision

Started as Windows and Microsoft only, Aras is introducing a broader support of the databases, browsers and other platform-related elements.  It was presented as a mix of reality and vision, which not allows you to see what is really happening today. It is clear, Aras is moving towards Linux and broader support of browsers and mobile devices.

Aras Platform and Community

Community and collaborative development are a very interesting aspect of Aras growth strategy. Few slides below shows Aras platform strategy, vision and way to grow solutions by involvement of “community” of partners. As you remember Aras Enterprise Open Source allows to everybody to develop and deploy solutions on top of Aras Innovator. License hassle is minimal.

What is my take on ACE 2011 and Aras Innovator?

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. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclosure: Aras paid for my trip to ACE 2011.


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  • Xyzzy

    If Aras is open source, where does one go to find the source? Good luck finding it online…

  • Hi Oleg- thanks for sharing this information. For those companies that have the internal talent to combine the right components and manage them ( with Aras support) – this seems like a good model to me. The customer presentation by the Xerox printer division in Wilsonville,Oregon, on their Aras implementation, was an excellent example of this. Insitsu, in Hood River Oregon, is trying the same thing. They have a bright internal resource as well who after an attempt to implement Team Center ( Insitsu part of Boeing, hence the Team center nod) bailed on Team Center for Aras, and I think he should be able to pull it off. Internal company PLM talent – a big plus it seems when going the Aras route. Just my thoughts – Steve

  • beyondplm

    Aras defines something they call “enterprise open source”. Kinda new way to say “open” in my view. Time will show if this way will proliferate well.. Best, Oleg

  • There are several companies providing implementation and support services for Aras, just like for other PLM systems. One example is Kalypso (, a company focusing on innovation and PLM services. So even if there is no internal talent companies can go the Aras route.

  • MarcL

    Xyzzy – Can get source to Aras solutions they’re under permissive licenses, mostly BSD and Ms-PL, so no obligation to contribute if you make changes & redistribute.
    As Oleg notes, it’s important to know that we are using a mixed source format which combines open source enterprise apps with a community source framework to provide the security that large scale enterprises require. The framework is a freely available download and subscribers get source – by definition not Foss, can read more at
    By using this enterprise open source structure which mixes formats we provide global companies with flexibility & control over the data schema, business logic, workflows, screens, completely open APIs, etc and highly secure and managed infrastructure.
    For what it’s worth, most of the global companies we work with say they wouldn’t be interested if we didn’t do it this way. We believe it is the format of the future.

  • MarcL

    Steve – Couldn’t agree more. “Internal company PLM talent – a big plus” when doing any PLM initiative. In fact, probably not a good idea to do a global PLM deployment w/o it 🙂 That said, we’ve put a lot of effort into making our PLM platform more modern and flexible than any of the others.

    A company should be able to cut the resources necessary in half or more vs. required personnel for a Windchill, Teamcenter, ENOVIA or Agile implementation.

    We believe that we are putting forth a very different Vision for the future of PLM in large-scale enterprise-wide deployments than the other major providers.
    If interested, we’ll be sharing more in a couple weeks

  • @dgsherburne

    In my opinion Aras has the right combination of integration, configuration flexibility and scalability to beat the other major players in small to mid size companies. PLM has to be ubiquitous to be widely adopted across internal sites and it must include connection to global the supply chain resources to drive significant ROI. The only business model to float for us was Aras subscription. We have internal expertise being used for deployment and configuration but we are also using using 3rd party implementation services to move more rapidly. So we are taking on some risk with the platform, but this is offset by large upside benefits once the system is in place and we want to expand its use broadly.

  • beyondplm

    Andreas, thanks for your comment and link sharing. Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Marc, thanks for clarification! Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Steve, agree with you. Internal knowledge is a big plus when you are up to PLM project with any system. With other PLM companies, you would probably buy a “service package”. In case of Aras, you will have additional options, but fundamentally I don’t see a big difference. Since you are not paying for licenses, you can allocate a larger budget towards the implementation. On the other side, you can think about large PLM company developing more features dedicated for you (in case you are big OEM)… Just my thoughts. Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    David, thanks for your insight! I think you are right and there is a segment of companies that consider price point as a very important element. At the same time, they have enough knowledge, skills and resources to handle PLM implementation internally on top of Aras. As you move to smaller companies, resources won’t be there. As you move towards big OEMs, the overall price point will become more important. If I can imagine Aras’ implementation for large OEM, the TCO will be almost identical compared to large PLM players. Maybe I’m wrong… However, I’m not sure we have numbers to prove it. Just my thoughts… Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Hi Reinhard, thanks for your story and sharing of experiences. I’d comment – readers will make their decision and choice. Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Satish, Thanks for your comments! I tend to agree. Consulting services are expensive. For bigger companies, to hire an external resource won’t be a problem. In my view, smaller companies just cannot do it. Best, Oleg

  • Satish Jay

    I had always thought about how customization could provide the competitive edge for companies and wondered why no one was advocating it. The word customization has earned a bad reputation with the IT Management. To them, it means more cost in maintaining the software. However as I started participating in business meetings, I realized the need for following standard configuration management practices. If you take Finance as an example, the process and terminologies are same for all companies. It eliminates confusion and new employees can get to their work straight away, without additional training. If you apply the same concept to PLM, there are standard practices recommended by CMII. If companies do not follow these standard practices, they should be really good in assessing the full impact before customizing it to their needs. I have seen companies where non-standard practices had led to confusion between different departments and resulted in more manual work.

  • beyondplm

    Satish, Thank you for your comment! I think you raised an important point.  Finance is a good example where standardization does work. The idea of “standard deployment” was a dream for PLM companies for many years. They succeeded to find how to implement PDM for simple cases (vaulting, revisions, etc.) However, on the broader range in PLM, all trials to apply “standards” here failed. The main reason is a big diversification in how manufacturing companies are running their businesses.. In engineering and manufacturing, processes are different between companies. Best, Oleg

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