How many PDM systems does Solidworks customers need?

How many PDM systems does Solidworks customers need?


Product data management (PDM) domain is transforming these days. Back a decade ago, PDM was a system that can introduce an order into engineering chaos, helps to manage files, revisions and collaborate. Engineers didn’t like it much and considered it as a necessary evil.

As a result of such position, a large portion of CAD users are not very much in favor of using PDM. I captured an interesting tweet message from 2012 saying that 60% of SolidEdge users are not using PDM


CAD users have a choice between different solutions. These are commonly used options to select PDM – file (means no PDM), PDM system, PLM systems. The last category of systems are usually provides connection to multiple CAD systems.

I found an interesting animated video produced by Jim Brown explaining how much PDM you actually need (note – the video was sponsored by Siemens PLM) .It explores the different Product Data Management options available to manufacturers. It explains that value of full-featured PDM as a step beyond CAD File Management and a stepping stone toward PLM for more advanced capabilities as needed.


Cloud became a major disruption factor for the past few years. It changed status quo of many systems. PDM is one o them. The new technologies for cloud data management and collaboration introduced an alternative approach to solve CAD file data management problems. In a simple form, you can consider Gmail and Google Drive as your simplest CAD data management option. GrabCAD Workbench was one of the most notable products. Even more, new cloud CAD systems such as Fusion360 and Onshape are leveraging cloud technologies and providing seamless data management functions such as revision management and collaboration.

Solidworks and PDM

For many years, Solidworks was an interesting market for PDM. Large install base and high diversity of companies provided plenty of options to sell different PDM and PLM solutions to Solidworks users. As a result market end up with few options of PDM solutions available on the market. Some of them are historical and some of them are new and more strategic.

The interesting aspect of Solidworks PDM development is that all these systems are eventually owned by Dassault Systemes today. Here is the list of at least five (5) different PDM solutions you available for Solidworks customers today from Dassault.

1- PDM Workgroup (the first PDM acquired by Solidworks)

2- SmarTeam (acquired by Dassault as multi-CAD PDM and future PLM)

3- Standard and Enterprise PDM (acquired by Solidworks to expand PDM for multi-site)

4- ENOVIA (evolution of multi-CAD management of MatrixOne)

5- Xdrive (new cloud based product announced at SWW16 part of Solidworks Xdesign)

The last one was introduced few weeks ago at Soldiworks World 2016 event. I captured few tweet messages from Monica Schnitger from recent SOLIDWORKS World 2016. She made few interesting remarks about SOLIDWORKS strategy to manage files vs ENOVIA 3DEXPERIENCE strategy for data-driven environment.

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 7.51.05 AM

The following slide (the resolution is not very good, sorry) is giving you some perspective on why you might decide to use ENOVIA for SOLIDWORKS.


Back few years ago, I published my article – How to select PDM in 5 simple steps. I think, it is still very relevant. However, for SOLIDWORKS, the decision won’t be easy. There are too many PDM systems owned by SOLIDWORKS / Dassault Systemes and I guess all of them are still supported.

What is my conclusion? The landscape of PDM solutions for Solidworks is large. History is mixed with the future. All together multiplied by Dassault Systemes strategy in zero-file management and 3DEXPERIENCE platform. My hunch, Dassault Systems is also looking how to compete with cloud based CAD solutions like Fusion360 and Onshape. In my view, Dassault Systems will have to rationalize the number of PDM systems. But this is not a simple task today- there are live customers behind each of these systems. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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