How to navigate between SOLIDWORKS PDM Systems on premise and on the cloud?

How to navigate between SOLIDWORKS PDM Systems on premise and on the cloud?

Few years ago, I published an article about Solidworks PDM systems. Check it out here. Back in 2016, I counted six systems that were capable to manage Solidworks data coming from Dassault Systemes product portfolio.

Time is moving fast. Some of these systems like XDrive morphed into a new Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE platform. I don’t know if Dassault Systemes is still selling SmarTeam. Dassault web site is still advertising it here but gives strong recommendations to move to ENOVIA 3DEXPERIENCE. At the same time, PDM Workgroup was discontinued by Solidworks starting from 2019 release.

If you never heard about SOLIDWORKS Manage, navigate to one of my earlier articles – Solidworks Management, RevZone and 3rd PDM revolution.

I was watching Solidworks Live product management video discussing different options of Solidworks data management solutions.

The video explores a range of SOLIDWORKS® data management solutions that enable you to quickly and efficiently manage data files and documentation to maximize productivity and improve product quality. Learn about the capabilities of our Data and Lifecycle Management in the Cloud, SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional, and SOLIDWORKS Manage.

The video suggest three company profile – startup company, small-medium business and a larger enterprise company. Each company was suggested to have its sweet spot – cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE, PDM Professional and PDM Manage. Watch the video and make your opinion.

I had a chance to have a twitter chat with Lisa Costa presented 3DEXPERIENCE cloud for Solidworks. I can see and agree with her point about technology.

Technology evolves, users evolve, companies evolve or die. Customers have been asking for PDM on the cloud for years. A solution that is cloud-native that integrates with their current design tools and provides growth on the cloud is a great solution.

The video made me think about continuity. One of the biggest advantages of SaaS and cloud solutions is to suggest evolution of customers discovering solutions at first and later moving to more advanced stages. This is how all SaaS solutions work. For example, you can see a progression of options and subscriptions taking your from sales essential, professional, ultimate (Pardot) making it work for a large enterprise team. At OpenBOM (disclaimer – I’m CEO and co-founder) we are allowing customers to move from user to team to company solutions. The data and experience will remain as you grow.

I’m curious how Solidworks customers PDM solutions can progress. PDM Professional and “PDM Manage” can kind of do it. Because the second is an advanced solution integrated with PDM professional (fka RevZone). However, I wonder how a startup company that kicked their solution with 3DEXPERIENCE will make it to PDM Professional and PDM Manage and later back to ENOVIA 3DEXPERIENCE. It can introduce some migration challenges. Live video didn’t answer the question of migration, but maybe SOLIDWORKS data management experts will address it in the next video.

Existing PDM Professional options have an easy way to expand the solution to develop integrations. Many solutions including Solidworks Manage expanded in such way. I didn’t find what Web API and integration options are available for SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE yet.

Another topic that was not mentioned is SOLIDWORKS new xDesign solution, which runs on top of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. But it is probably a topic for the next blog.

What is my conclusion? Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS is clarifying the structure of PDM products by eliminating some outdated options and solidifying new product offering such as 3DEXPERIENCE. The evolution of the solution will continue. For companies deciding about the solution, it is important to realize the progression between different solutions and options. 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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  • Akram Moussa

    My previous company was in the automotive accessories field where our workflow usually starts from the scan data. While cloud solutions is very attractive in concept, we were worried about the speed especially if you are having large scan files, which can reach to 1.5GB.

    How does a cloud PDM system cope with large file sizes?

  • Lou

    It will eventually push you to newer, file-less CAD systems like XDesign or Onshape. Standard internet speeds continue to go up every year, there is a relatively clear technology path to eventually reach 1.5 gig/s download. But at that point, file-less CAD will have a gigantic performance advantage (it is already faster today IMO), because it is not limited by local machine processors.

  • beyondplm

    @akrammoussa:disqus Internet is getting much faster these days. Just to give you an idea- to upload 1.5GB with 100Mbs speed will take only 2 minutes. And 100Mbs is these days is a very reasonable speed for home internet. I know, it is not everywhere. But, it is coming. Also, details are important. Modern cloud-based systems don’t need to download/upload files all the time and can stream data in the browser (similar how works Netflix for example).

  • Akram

    I completely agree that on the cloud CAD browser based CAD systems is the way to go. I feel that we are in a transitional state, yet slow. Beside my job as design engineer, I was taking care of the company IT, which was a royal pain and the company grew beyond my limited IT knowledge, so I completely appreciate benefits of cloud solutions.

    I’ve been in a discussion with a Siemens distributor and they had moved to the cloud, not sure at what level. He was complaining there are some delays that were instantaneous before. This for sure, will improve as you said due to internet speeds and technology advancements.

    About CAD systems saving all the time, the issue is mainly with Rhino. It serves as our base CAD for reverse engineering to create the initial surfaces and features required to export into Creo or SW.

    Every autosave and save is a full size write of the file which triggers an upload on Dropbox.

    NX seems to be the perfect fit if we want all our design process under one roof, but our size doesn’t make it feasible.

  • beyondplm

    Details are important. I think, there are many asynchronous sync of data between local and cloud folders. If you stay with desktop CAD, you might be able to explore them. But new systems eventually will come and won’t require sending all files for each save.

  • beyondplm

    You’re right. The trend towards browser based and cloud-based systems will continue. The timing and speed will be interesting to watch. Local machine CPUs vs browser visualization is an interesting thing to watch as data will continue to be streamed to the browsers.

  • Yes, I agree with you Oleg, I read in one of the article that Dassault SOLIDWORKS is working on that. SOLIDWORKS 2020 is a whole new version and bridges between 2019 version and Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE cloud platform. The good news is that there are new advanced features & tools to learn in SOLIDWORKS 2020. For more details:

  • beyondplm

    Thanks for sharing. Still not clear why a small company (as it was suggested) would like to use it and not directly go to PDM professional?

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