AU2011: New PLM Software Frontiers

November 30, 2011

Autodesk University 2011. Day 1. If you visited AU at least once you know how it looks like. Thousands people packed to talk about Autodesk software and beyond. When I’m still digesting Autodesk announcement about Nexus PLM, I wanted to share with you the my presentation during the AU Innovation forum: Everything Changes:

What is my conclusion? I don’t think Autodesk made a surprise by their decision to move into PLM business. Big announcements have a short lifecycle. I’m going to learn more about Autodesk Nexus PLM in coming days. I’m sure it will bring many new themes on my blog to discuss, and I’m looking forward to hearing your opinion.

Best, Oleg

Autodesk: CAD is done. Now PLM. The moment before AU…

November 29, 2011

As you know, I’m in Las Vegas these days attending AU 2011. Autodesk is preparing some big messages these years, and I hope to share my opinion about that with you very soon. Yesterday, I was attending media and press meeting with Autodesk execs, including Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, Manufacturing division VP Robert (Buzz) Kross and Autodesk Labs Director Brian Mathews. Below few pictures that can give you in impression of what I’ve seen in connection to manufacturing and PLM.

CAD is done. Cloud is coming.

There is only one company in the world, I know that use word “cloud” more extensively than  Autodesk these days. This company is Autodesk is aggressively coming with large amount of solutions that use cloud. PLM will be one of them.

Manufacturing: Global and Faster

It seems to me Autodesk is understanding the challenges of manufacturing these days. Global, Complex, Fast. You can see it from the slide presented by Robert (Buzz) Kross.

Q&A with Carl Bass

Carl Bass made his long Q&A with press and media. His appearance was very friendly. You can see a picture of Carl I made during the Q&A. I processed photo with “hipster” filter on my Camera+ app In my view, it reflect Carl’s mood during this Q&A. Carl answered on multiple questions about design, modern technological and industrial trends, software, cloud, etc.

What is my conclusion? I’m trying to make my conclusion about what I’ve heard in the connection with PLM. Autodesk is definitely recognizing PLM as a future opportunity. After what was done in PLM by Dassault, Siemens PLM and PTC, to democratize PLM will be probably a biggest challenge for Autodesk. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Why you should (or not) be using Arena PDXViewer

November 27, 2011

The story of standards is always fascinating. I love these stories on my blog and spent quite a lot of time talking to people about standards. Do you know what is common between standards and toothbrushes? Here, you go –“standards and toothbrushes -everyone needs to use them, but nobody wants to use someone else’s”. So, I was reading Arena Solutions blog yesterday – Why you should be using the PDX File Standard.

For the sake of truth, I had a chance to speak to Arena PLM folks few weeks ago. Here are some of my thoughts about PDXViewer.

PDXViewer. The need is here.

The idea of sharing information using free tools isn’t new. The story, in a nutshell, is simple. Your company will keep PLM system (actually any enterprise system controlling information is good for this story) and it will control the information you need in your company. However, as Arena’s blog is stating, your problem will be to share the information with people outside of your company.

The point of purchasing a PLM or PDM system is to simplify and centralize your BOMs and other product data. But once your BOMs, Items, AMLs and associated content exist in a structured format, you are faced with a new problem—how do you share your data with vendors and internal players who aren’t plugged into your PLM or PDM system?

You can ask how do you deal with the problem now. The madness of sharing data is here. The following quote brings you the top stories about possible (and impossible) ways company use to share data.

Without PDX files, preparing a build package for delivery is a mixture of black magic, blood, sweat and data from a business system. In some companies, one person is hired or trained to access the system for the sole purpose of sending data to suppliers once or twice a year. At other companies, data is pulled manually out of the PLM system by the design engineers, who put the data into an Excel spreadsheet and send it to suppliers in binders or zip files.

Why to use PDXViewer

You may find the “PDXViewer” way quite powerful. Pull data out of your PLM system, publish or send it in PDX format. Use free tool. I think many people will find it useful. I found user experience of PDXViewer nice. What you practically do is to export subset of your data and access it with a limited set of functionality. Another benefit – the level of encapsulation file gives you – you don’t need to go in multiple places to search for the information you need.

What concern do I have

My main concern is “file”. This is my usual suspect for problems. Don’t take me wrong – files are good and mankind is using files for the last 40+ years with various computer systems. However, when I move my thoughts towards the cloud and the internet, files become actually my concern. How do you manage files? What is the right (or last) revision of your file? Another significant problem is related to the changes. In case you allow to make changes to data outside of your system you burned to support multiple data synchornization, which is very painful for all people involved into this process.

What is my conclusion? I found two absolute advantages of PDXViewer – it is free, and you can enjoy a simple user interface. It definitely solves the problem of people accessing information outside of the company firewall and serves IT concerns about non-company users accessing information inside of the company. At the same time, I have a concern about files. In other words, I think there is a “better way” to organize people’s access to the information. Sending files can be a good solution, but it can get complicated within the time. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Historical Perspective: From Ivan Satherland to Modern 2D/3D Sketch Apps

November 27, 2011

The announcement made by Dassault System last week, made me think about a huge distance CAD industry passed for the almost 50 years, since Ivan Sutherland first time demonstrated “Sketchpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System”.

In order to prevent a discussion between Autodesk Alias and CATIA Sketch folks, I just decided to put these two videos. I think, in terms of contrasts, they are both valid comparison to what was done 50 years ago.

What is my conclusion? There are no conclusions on Sunday :). I’m prepping for AU2011 and even more to speak at AU Innovation Forum on Tuesday. For those who are on the way to Las Vegas, hope to catch up and see you there.

Best, Oleg

Autodesk PLM story is about to begin. AU 2011.

November 26, 2011

I’m coming to AU 2011 this year. As you already know, Autodesk is planning to unveil their PLM story. In the pre-announcement Autodesk made it called – Everything Changes 11/29/11. The formal name of the forum: Everything Changes – The Future of Management of Innovation. I will be the guest of this forum together with Randi Zuckerberg and Monica Schnitger. To tease you a bit, here is the first slide of my presentation.

To learn more about the forum navigate your browser to the following link. This session is planned Tuesday, November 29, 1:00pm. Here is the passage from the forum description saying what you can expect to see from Autodesk folks during this session:

During this forum, we will show that by providing diverse, distributed teams with secure, affordable, easy-to-use, and simple-to-deploy solutions, Autodesk is removing the traditional barriers associated with managing innovation, making information available to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Enabled by the cloud and fully integrated with in-house design applications and data management systems, these solutions streamline business processes and design workflows for increased efficiency, improved profitability, and higher quality outcomes.

Hope to see you next week in Vegas. For all my followers and friends that are not coming, following my twitter stream and hashtag #AU2011 for more information.

Best, Oleg

Do It Yourself (DIY) PLM and Microsoft Excel Services

November 26, 2011

Many of the engineers (and not only) are using Microsoft Excel. People are literally lives inside of Excel spreadsheets. When it comes to PDM and PLM, I prefer to call it DIY (Do It Yourself) PLM. If you really on the DIY path, I think you need to be aware about so-called Excel Services available in Microsoft SharePoint since version 2007. In 2010, Microsoft improved significantly the capabilities of Excel Services.

You can read more about Excel Services by navigating to the following link. In addition, I found a very interesting video interview with Jon Campbell, program manager within Microsoft Excel services team. It was made almost a year ago. At the same time, I found it still something you use to educate yourself about SharePoint Excel Services.

Note, Excel services are very sophisticated. I was screening another article about Excel services – Excel Services in SharePoint. Here is the set of recommendation how to use Excel services to build a custom application:

Custom Applications: Excel Services help create custom applications—for example, ASP.NET applications—that can:

1. Call Excel Web Services to access, parameterize, and calculate workbooks.

2. Open, refresh external data, set cells or ranges, recalculate, participate in collaborative editing sessions with other applications or people, save, and save as.

3. Use custom workflows to schedule calculation operations or send e-mail notifications.

Above all this, in multiple server configurations, Excel Services load-balances requests across multiple Excel Calculation Services occurrences in a farm configuration. If your installation includes multiple application servers, Excel Services will balance the load in an attempt to help ensure that no single application server is overloaded by requests.

What is my conclusion? SharePoint is wide adopted by manufacturing enterprise companies. To use Excel as a platform to develop you DIY PLM solution can be an interesting option. However, I want to warn you about an appropriate resource planning and service budge allocation. DIY normally on the expensive side. SharePoint is not an exclusion from this list. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

PLM and My Reading List

November 26, 2011

It is a long weekend in US. Even if my day-to-day business activities are not completely US oriented, I can feel some relaxing moments since yesterday. I was sorting out my bookshelf today. Since 3 months ago, I made myself switching completely to digital reading. Nevertheless, I found quite many books that were on my reading list for the last 6 months.

Here is my list:

Steve Krug: Don’t make me think

Chris Andreson: FREE

Peter Aiken: Data Reverse Engineering

Brian Solis: ENGAGE

Dave Garwod: Bill of Materials for a Lean Enterprise

Marc Benioff: Behind the cloud

Frank Watts: Engineering Documentation Control Book

Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah: Inbound Marketing

Michael Ogrinz: Mashup Patterns

Walter Isaacson: Steve Jobs

What is my conclusion? Read more, despite the absence of time :). I’d love to have your recommendation on future reading in product lifecycle management and beyond…

Best, Oleg



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