Will Aras lose its mojo or develop a new way to acquire companies?

Will Aras lose its mojo or develop a new way to acquire companies?

The news just came – Aras is acquiring Comet Solutions. Check Aras press release for more details. Here is a passage from the article:

Aras, the leader in open product lifecycle management (PLM) software for the enterprise, today announced that it has acquired Comet Solutions, Inc., a provider of best-in-class software for simulation process management. Using Comet’s technology, manufacturers are able to reuse complex simulations in order to scale the application and use of simulation results. The addition of Comet’s capabilities to the Aras PLM Platform provides a way for organizations to connect simulation – and simulation experts – to mainstream engineering processes for traceability, access, and reuse across the product lifecycle.

Comet’s capabilities for managing mixed fidelity models, different data types, and various representations of the same product or assembly for simulation purposes are an important aspect for simulation management across systems engineering disciplines. The ability to extract intelligence from simulation models and results – rather than simply managing data at the file level – is also a significant benefit above and beyond that of other SPDM systems on the market.

In a nutshell, Comet Solution is developing simulation apps, extracting data from CAD systems and allowing to create simulation model. Here is a passage from Comet Simulations website

The key Comet framework capabilities that unlock this power are the Abstract Engineering Model (AEM®) and Intelligent Templates. Using purpose-built templates and parametric analysis models, we build and deploy solutions that capture and globally roll-out your simulation best practices; automating repetitive and tedious tasks, while putting the power of sophisticated simulation (CAE analysis) robustly and safely into the hands of both experts and non-experts alike.

Here is example of Comet Authoring Workspace:

Aras is a newcomer into M&A space. This is his 2nd acquisition. Earlier this year, Aras announced the acquisition of Impresa MRO.

Supporting quotes from both acquisitions are very similar:

Impresa MRO:

“Companies choose Aras as a digital transformation partner to modernize their most complex engineering and manufacturing processes today and for the future – and have been asking for an MRO application to extend their journey. With the acquisition of Impresa, we are adding a highly-talented team and proven solution to further expand our MRO capabilities and to be first to connect MRO to the Digital Thread on a single platform.” – Peter Schroer, CEO, Aras

Comet Solutions:

“Extending the Digital Thread to include simulation tools and processes has emerged as a critical enabler for future business models. Simulation can add significant value to product development, manufacturing and field operations, but has not yet reached its potential due to limited connection to the rest of the enterprise. The addition of Comet’s capabilities will allow us to bring repeatability, reusability and traceability to simulation across the product lifecycle.” – Rob McAveney, Chief Architect, Aras

I think, it is a very positive news to see Aras growing to the level of M&A activity. Still not similar to other major PLM vendors, but it might be just a beginning. Aras is looking how to expand richness of Aras application, which was until now mostly development as open source partnership solutions.

Digital thread seems to be a connecting topic between these acquisitions. Aras is looking for domains of information and other sources of data to manage and connect into digital thread, which seems to be a new way to explain PLM.

In such context, I’m very much interested to learn more how Aras will be integrating new technologies into their platform. I remember one of Aras slides explaining legacy PLM digital thread as a “branding approach”.

As every growing platform, Aras will be facing the challenge of integration. Plug-in and connect vs doing something different. These are options Aras has. There are not much information about it in the article.

The following slide taken from one of Rob McAveney presentation can show an ideal way Aras can develop integration, which can cause significant re-architecture of acquired applications.

What is my conclusion? Aras is growing and has an appetite to acquire additional applications.  This is an opportunity in PLM world and obviously great news. However, it brings up a question of risk and challenges of integration. Will Aras lose it famous “platform mojo” and become a set of integration application? It is hard to say.. Aras can also develop its own way to acquire companies by “sticking them” into open Aras platform. The last one is easy to say and hard to perform in my view. Time will show the results. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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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