Why SOLIDWORKS needs one more PDM?

Why SOLIDWORKS needs one more PDM?

Almost 2 years ago I asked a question – How many PDM systems SOLIDWORKS users need? I counted five PDM systems. With coming new version of SOLIDWORKS 2018, I’ve learned about new PDM – SOLIDWORKS Manage.

Earlier this week, I’ve been watching SWW18 launch. My goal was to understand SOLIDWORKS PDM strategy and learn more about new SOLIDWORKS Manage. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn much. Check SOLIDWORKS 2018 launch recap for more information. You can clearly see Manage on the roadmap:

I didn’t find much information there. It says that SWW18 launch was too big and some products will be announced in November. Here is a passage:

That’s not all; this year’s release was too large to be covered in one day. In November, SOLIDWORKS will roll out its Distributed Data Management and Design to Analyst process solutions. In February, 2018 you’ll learn more about the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform updates and ECAD/IoT updates will arrive in May, 2018.

At the same time, Engineering.com article few weeks ago – Bring It On. SOLIDWORKS 2018 Packs in More Power shows a screenshot and table comparing different versions of SOLIDWORKS PDM.

With the new release comes a new PDM tool called Manage, which seems to be made for people who would rather not have to deal with PDM software, but still need to do what PDM software does. CAD users typically have a difficult time with managing parts, determining latest versions, large assemblies and communication such as emails. However, they’re averse to the alphabet soup of solutions: PDM, PMI, PLM, MBE, BOMs. Manage is for them. It introduces a whole level of document and part management, sparing them new methods and nomenclature, and relying on familiar tools and concepts. SOLIDWORKS Manage is said to use a Windows Explorer-like interface that, with a click, connects to the CAD model, and, with another click, the PDM system.

So, why one more PDM for SOLIDWORKS? It is hard to say. SOLIDWORKS is retiring Workgroup PDM. You can find many messages about it on SOLIDWORKS forum online here and announcements from SOLIDWORKS VARs here and here. This is not an exhaustive list of course. At the same time, SOLIDWORKS Manage role seems to be the answer on a growing list of more sophisticated requirements coming from SOLIDWORKS users.

What is my conclusion? Workgroup PDM was a working horse for many Solidworks users for more than 15 years. SOLIDWORKS is trying to unify PDM platforms by retiring Workgroup PDM, but adding SOLIDWORKS Manage with advanced features – another PDM platform for SOLIDWORKS users. In addition to that, it left many questions about new SOLIDWORKS cloud development such as xDrive and 3DEXPERIENCE integration. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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