Solidworks Manage –  does it look, swim and quack like PLM?

Solidworks Manage –  does it look, swim and quack like PLM?

I’m learning new things about Solidworks 2018 and coming new product – Solidworks Manage. You probably had a chance to read my articles – Solidworks Manage and 3DX PLM: Clash or co-existence back to SWW 2018 and Why Solidworks needs one more PDM? Solidworks is coming with a new name or strategy called “Distributed Data Management”. Read more here on Solidworks blog.

A new publication about Solidworks Distributed Data Management caught by attention earlier today – Distributed Data Management: Simplifying Data Management with Solidworks Manage. I found it first on Solidworks website, which require registration to get it downloaded. By then I found the following link from Hawk Ridge Systems website, which gives it away for free. By the time I’m writing the article document is available for download.

According to this document, Solidworks Manage is an enterprise solution connecting internal and external users. It is compatible with any device with browser and internet connection and, at the same time, combines ease of Windows File Explorer interface with complex business processes and other sets of information. Here is the passage:

Distributed data management enables both internal and external users to access and edit the most up-to-date files, including Bills of Materials (BOMs), project timelines, and processes, from anywhere and on any device with a browser and internet connection. With the introduction of SOLIDWORKS® 2018, distributed data management is now an integrated part of the extended SOLIDWORKS ecosystem. SOLIDWORKS Manage combines the ease of use and familiar Windows® Explorer interface of SOLIDWORKS PDM with advanced capabilities that allow teams to manage project timelines and resources, complex business processes, and advanced item management. SOLIDWORKS Manage takes the place of the separate disconnected tools that an organization might use to manage engineering resources and processes. It is compatible with many existing tools, and works to more efficiently and effectively maintain the integrity of enterprise information.

However, my favorite passage in the document is about relationships between Distributed Data Management and PLM. Read it below.

IT’S A SINGLE SYSTEM TO STORE AND MANAGE DESIGN DATA For manufacturers using a Product Data Management (PDM) system, it isn’t unusual to supplement it with other systems or applications, like Excel, to manage BOMs or project data. This fractured approach is messy and error-prone and can easily result in lost data or specs. SOLIDWORKS Manage addresses this problem by providing a single system that connects file-based product data with more advanced capabilities. Manufacturers invested in broad Product Life Management (PLM) solutions to help bridge the gap, but have found their investment isn’t paying dividends because of the high cost. SOLIDWORKS Manage is an ideal alternative to underutilized PLM systems, because it provides a simplified data management toolset that’s easy to implement and use. For current SOLIDWORKS PDM users, the transition to SOLIDWORKS Manage is quick and easy because there are no data migration hassles.

So, what is Distributed Data Management according to Solidworks? The following picture is probably the best explanation of what Solidworks strategists thought about it. It is a tool combining silos of information such as Engineering, Manufacturing, Sales, QA, Purchasing and Marketing in a single dashboard and smarter data management. Which left an open question how is it different from PLM.

What is my conclusion? If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Solidworks Manage does many things you expect to see in PLM tool, but doesn’t call it PLM. I can see a point here. Solidworks has to have something different from PLM. Solidworks users doesn’t like PLM complexity and won’t buy PLM product. Solidworks Manage is an attempt to create a distance between Distribute Data Management strategy and PLM, which has ROI problems according to Solidworks publication. I can easy put “PLM” tag on the picture above, but Solidworsk put there an earth symbol, which hints the system is global and available everywhere. It would be interesting to see more information about system architecture when Solidworks will publish more details about it. . Solidworks Manage will have to carve a space between Soldiworks Enterprise PDM (previously acquired  Conisio) and ENOVIA PLM while running everything similar to Windows File Explorer and globally via browser. A very interesting balancing act to keep. 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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