Multi-CAD and PDM: Dead Lock?

This post was provoked by twitter conversation between me, Jonathan Scott of Razorleaf and Brian Roepke of Autodesk. Let me give you a context. During SolidWorks World general session yesterday, Jonathan commented about comingSolidWorks EPDM integration with DraftSight – free CAD software for your DWG files. I thought, it might be beneficial to have DraftSight integration with Autodesk Vault. However, it appears to be a mistake. Watch that…

This conversation made me think again about what happens in the space of integration of product data management products and design software. Time ago, I posted – Immersive CAD management: is it the CAD / PDM future? Another post related to the same topic was – Back to basics: Multi-CAD and PLM. Last year, I posted CAD, PDM and PLM diversity. What I found common between all these cases is that I can see more and more stable bundles between CAD and PDM systems.

I can see an increased demand for better data-management functionality in CAD systems. The integration of data-management applications increased over the past 2-3 years. Vendors started to think about PDM functionality like revision management and vaulting as a standard function in CAD applications. Dassault V6 took this process even future and introduced CATIA V6 bundled with ENOVIA server.

In my view, CAD-PDM integration played a significant role in the first wave of broad PDM adoption. Multi-CAD support was (and still is) considered as an important function of PDM (and sometimes even PLM) system. To support heterogeneous environment, pure play PDM/PLM vendors must include multi-CAD support. It happened almost to all vendors in PDM/PLM space. On the opposite side, CAD/PDM vendors decided to strength their bundles and prefer to integrate data-management systems only with their own CAD systems. In my view, Multi-CAD integration is a painful issue for pure-play PDM/PLM vendors like Arena, Aras and future others. The complexity of CAD integration with PDM and PLM systems create a significant competitive advantage for CAD vendors to bundle their own PDMs right. At the same time, PDM providers from CAD vendors are less interested to provide support for "non-home-based" CAD systems.

What is my conclusion? I can see a certain dead-lock between the need for multi-CAD PDM systems and interest of CAD/PDM vendors to protect their business. Customers are demanding PDM systems like TeamCenter, Autodesk Vault, SolidWorks EPDM to support Multi-CAD features. However, it looks more and more like a dead-lock. PDM system will be embedded into CAD environment and will become part of the whole design environment. It doesn’t mean new innovative companies won’t try to break this dead-lock. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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6 Responses to Multi-CAD and PDM: Dead Lock?

  1. Brian Roepke says:

    Seems a little odd to based a “Multi-CAD” blog and conversation around DraftSight as the focal point. Not sure what you were trying to accomplish? Raise the visibility of the issue of companies with Multi-CAD or?

    Unless I’m not understanding this right (http://www.deelip.com/?p=2475) and (http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/overview/) a person has to pay for DraftSight in order to get access to the API. Not the free version? Unless of course the SW guys have special permission… which is totally fine with me.

    As for Multi-CAD in Manufacturing – This is a very big issue. One of the main factors we see is around acquisition. It’s all too common for companies to have different design platforms as well as well as strategies when these companies come together. Of course there are other legit cases to have multiple platforms as well. That’s why we provide integrations with more common tools like SolidWorks and Pro/E / Creo.

    As for AEC – this is commonplace – We made our first step here with our recent release of our plug-in for Microstation. http://labs.autodesk.com/utilities/vault_plugin/

  2. I believe this trend is real. I also think it means that PLM systems with multi-PDM integration will be the new wave of PDMs with multi-CAD integrations. Interestingly though, i think this trend will open up PLM systems to new types of competition – like SharePoint.

  3. Damir says:

    I think that problem is not only in technical problems of integration (interoperability) between CAD/PDM product, but and in technology of working with CAD/PDM of various vendors. Look at ASCON PDM for AEC: they split all documents in the PDM by two types: 1 – not editable documents (originals of tech. documentation) in XPS format (instead of PDF or another formats), 2 – files of various engeneering formats (dwg, cdw,doc, and …). They don’t made specialy functions of intergation PDM with his own CAD KOMPAS. But all functions of collaboration in Autodesk and other CAD products are working (links between files).

  4. Damir, I agree, the complexity of cross-vendor/product development made multi-CAD and PDM complex. Open APIs supported across multiple vendors can solve the problem, in my view. Thanks for your comment! best, Oleg

  5. Jonathan, Thanks for the comment! We’ve been discussed multi-PDM integrations. However, I can see two trends that will happen in parallel. CAD systems will adopt “stable-PDM-bundle” (normally of the same vendors). At the same time, new PDM entrants will try to establish new ways to integrate that will try to solve the problem of CAD/PDM integration complexity. It will be interesting to watch. Just my opinion… Oleg

  6. Thanks, Brian for the clarification. I think our spontaneous tweet-catch-up about DraftSight-Vault will lead to more productive conversation about Multi-CAD and PDM. The first post just went out – The Anatomy of MultiCAD-PDM integrations (http://beyondplm.com/2012/02/19/the-anatomy-of-multicad-pdm-integrations/). Few more will be coming later. Best, Oleg

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