I’ve been attending SolidEdge University 2012 earlier this week in Nashville, TN. Inforbix (the company, I co-founded two years ago) was one of the sponsors of the event. I had an opportunity to speak to many people – engineers, Siemens PLM partners and employees. One of the topics on my list of interest in these conversations was SolidEdge Insight XT – a new data-management product introduced by Siemens PLM.
If you haven’t had a chance to catch up on my related blog – PLM for smaller companies: Oximoron or Another Round?, please do.
Insight XT in a nutshell
So, what is Insight XT? Siemens PLM released few videos before and during the event. Unfortunately, these are not HD videos, which will make me feeling of losing of user experience small details. At the same time, it gives you a good summary of Insight XT.
Insight XT built on top of Microsoft SharePoint point. It works with SharePoint Foundation, which creates minimum per-requisites to run Insight XT. In addition to the ability to manage documents, Insight XT is expanding the horizons by supporting Projects, ECO and tasks.
Beyond specific functionlity, Insight XT supports so called "visual" presentation of information structure and relationships allowing to make navigation & browse of information about parts, documents, relations, assembles, ECO, Projects, etc.
Insight XT and other PDM / PLM products
This is one more product in Siemens PLM data-management product line. Others are Insight (the predecessor of Insight XT, which continues to be available as a free addition to SolidEdge), TeamCenter Express and TeamCenter. What is different between Insitgh XT and TeamCenter Express? The formal Siemens PLM answer that Insight XT is solely focused on SolidEdge and TeamCenter Express does include multi-CAD option. The differentiation between Insight and Insight XT is easier to get- additional functions in XT are related to projects, tasks, and change management. SolidEdge Insight will continue to be free. At the same time, Insight XT is coming with a price tag.
Insight XT and Competitors
The competitive position of SolidEdge Insight XT is clear to me. It provides an advantage of better integration with SolidEdge. Without making detailed functional comparison, I can put it on a pair with Autodesk Vault and SolidWorks Enterprise PDM. It will be probably compatible from the price standpoint with these products. Even if Siemens PLM people told me Insight XT is completely focus on SolidEdge, I can expect it very soon to start supporting other 3D CAD products as well. Already today, it supports AutoCAD, so the path from 2.5D to 3D will be faster than you can think.
What is my conclusion? I expect SolidEdge Insight XT will find its niche very fast. SolidEdge customers looking for expanded set of data management and change management functions is the target. User interface is nice and compliant with SharePoint. At the same time, I don’t see Insight XT significantly different from other PDM products on the market. In addition to that, it requires SharePoint and on-premise installation. Project and ECO functionality out of the box creates the differentiation. I expect Insight XT to be successful for many SolidEdge accounts. At the same time, I don’t expect this product to be very visible outside of the SolidEdge community. Just my thoughts…