DS 3DEXPERIENCE: Access any data and virtual twin

November 17, 2015


I spent some time yesterday watching Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE Forum live streaming from Boston. Speakers – Bernard Charles and Monica Menghini of Dassault Systems, an impressive line of thought leaders – Jeremiah Owyang, David Rose and others. It was an opportunity to get some refresh about DS strategy and gather data points about solutions. My special attention caught few slides that can give some perspective on DS thinking and strategy.


Few years ago Dassault came with a new strategy – 3DEXPERIENCE. I captured the following slide that, in my view, gives a simple enough definition of what 3DEXPERIENCE platform is about – access, browser, search and visualize data from any application (including legacy and competition).


It sounds compelling. During the presentation, DS presented video of how to use 3DEXPERIENCE integrated tools from conceptual design to visualization.

3DEXPERIENCE System approach & Virtual Twin

A refreshed slide showing Dassault generation of products and vision (each one captured about 10 years of development). There are four, for the moment – 3D design, DMU, PLM and Business Experience. I was surprised a bit to see “Virtual Twin” buzzword in the title (note – PTC is using “digital twin” buzzword explaining a model that contains information about physical products)


I liked the following slide indicating that DS is focusing on how to get an easy access to the holistic information about product including system approach and multi-disciplinary data.


3DEXPERIENCE – Cloud and Mobile

Finally, a slide that gives some “refresh” on what DS is doing with cloud and mobile.


It is a bit unclear, but I captured few data points. Dassault is supporting public cloud hosting. Amazon Web Services indicates that you can get Dassault Systemes products hosted on AWS public cloud. Outscale is a company that stands behind hosting services and operation. Details and pricing are not clear. I wasn’t able to find any link with product prices.

Any devices, any browsers and mobile platform logos (Android, iOS and Microsoft). The only logo that I didn’t find was Mac/OS. Does it mean Dassault Systems is not providing native Mac/OS applications? It is not clear.

What is my conclusion? I think, fundamental of Dassault Systems platform and application didn’t change. 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a collection of integrated applications focused on providing access to information in a different forms – search, browse and 3D navigation. At the same platform, I can see clear direction to expand platform and applications in additional domains. The notion of “experience” gives a holistic flavor to that, which is a good capture of customer demand for better user experience and system approach. Technology vision slide (above) can give a range of applications and hints on future acquisitions Dassault Systems can make to turn strategy into reality. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

PLM and ALM trajectories – integrated system development

November 16, 2015


More than 10 years ago, I had a conversation with one of telecom manufacturing companies in Europe. I asked – how do you manage to put a right software version in a telecom equipment company was manufacturing. The answer was shocking – we don’t know. It happens “automagically”.

It is hopefully not a case today. We can see software everywhere these days. Modern products are not mechanical devices. In many cases, it is a huge computer. Think about Tesla Model S, which is according to Elon Musk is a computer on wheels. We can even see how software features become actually “features” that people are buying.

In addition to that, software become an important part of business for manufacturing companies. We can see many devices that actually “enabling” software subscriptions for manufacturers. Also, there are hardware devices that completely dependent on selling software services.

Software is also a source of potential danger. Because of high dependencies on software, wireless and mobile connectivity, software can introduce a potential danger and way to hack any device (including your car on the road). This is a source of concern for many manufacturers these days.

So, software is eating the manufacturing world. The question how does it impact product development and manufacturing processes and software?

Few of my earlier blogs on this topic to catch up – The importance of software BoM for hardware security and How to combine engineering and software BoMs.

One of the fundamental things in PLM today is the ability to manage multi-disciplinary data. It comes to mechanical parts, electrical and electronics and software. All together, it is a system with a specific behavior. To model it will become a next challenge for manufacturers and an opportunity for software developers.

In my view, the domains of PLM (product lifecycle management) and ALM (application lifecycle management) are gravitating towards common system modeling, which can allow engineers using the best tool for product development, but control system behavior and component lifecycle in a unified way.

Last, week, I had a chance to speak at webinar by Polarion software. You can watch webinar recording here – The Internet of Things (IoT) and Good Software. Polarion is an example of ALM tool providers. The question how ALM and PLM tools can be integrated is the most important one. Both PLM and ALM vendors are looking for the answer.

For the references, below my slides from the webinar.

What is my conclusion? The role of software in manufacturing is increasing everyday. Modern cars are “computers on wheels”. We have embedded computers everywhere these days. Product features are defined by software as well as our security can be at risk in a new “hardware enabled software”. The integration of PLM and ALM tools into a system that can model product behavior is an important problem manufacturing companies will have to solve sooner than later. This is a note to PLM / ALM architects and software developers. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Autodesk Fusion360 and Onshape technological trajectories are getting close

November 13, 2015


An interesting news came yesterday from Develop3D – Autodesk launched project Leopard – Fusion 360 in a browser. Which brings a new swing into technological trajectories between two front runners of cloud CAD world – Fusion 360 and Onshape. Here is a quick explanation about what does it mean:

Codenamed Project Leopard, this sees another to access Fusion’s tools made available, directly in the browser. If you’ve not played with Fusion 360, while the data is stored and synchronised with the cloud, the majority of the functions are held in a locally installed client. That’s not a traditional install, rather it updates itself automatically and streams the updates in. This is a different beast. Grab your Fusion 360 log-in (assuming you’ve been accepted), log-in and the tools are there. No install, no client.

It’s also key that this shouldn’t be seen as “Fusion Moving to the Browser”. Nope. This looks to be about giving folks access to their data and tools in those cases where they need them and the software isn’t to hand, can’t be installed or in emergencies. That’s something we know, from our own research, is what’s driving an interest in the cloud-based technologies.

A video below (credit to Develop3D article shows how it works).

Autodesk launches Project Leopard: Fusion 360 in the browser from DEVELOP3D on Vimeo.


Earlier on my blog I shared my thoughts about development of Fusion 360 and Onshape as well as discussion between Carl Bas and Jon Hirschtick. If you missed that, navigate to the following blogs to catch up – Carl Bass and Jon Hirschtick are in agreement about the future of CAD and Autodesk and Onshare are disagree about cloud technology and focus.

The news about Project Leopard is confirmation that Autodesk didn’t sleep for the last months since Onshape turned on its beta version. And it looks like Al Dean was looking at the right crystal ball back in April, 2015. Here is his passage from the article The cloud- a bright future ahead.

Eventually, Fusion will be available via the browser (I’d put a fiver on that being before the end of the year). And hopefully, OnShape will have a way of working when you’re offline, as well as internet connected.

I’d love to have an opportunity to try Fusion 360 in a browser and share my take about how data management (PDM) functionality is integrated.

What is my conclusion? I think we are far from normalization in a cloud technologies between different players in CAD and PLM market. There are lot of moving pieces. Project Leopard is an additional confirmation to that. I guess we are going to see many of such examples in a near future related to variety of technologies CAD and PLM vendors will introduce on the way to leverage cloud technologies. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Component, costs and BoM collaboration

November 12, 2015

electronic components

Cost is one of the most important drivers to optimize manufacturing and operations. But at the same time, this is not a single criteria when you think about optimization of your product design and component selections. The way to look about it is to think about complete ecosystem combining manufacturing, distribution and sales. Competition in cost and distribution is driven by an increased role of internet connectivity and global economy.

In order to be economically viable, manufacturers and retailer must be able to sell product faster and at competitive prices which sends which sends a ripple effect down the supply chain and manufacturing operation.

One of the aspects of cost optimization is related to component selections. In some industries like electronic manufacturing it can be a dominant factor to drive your product cost. Component selection is complex process if you think beyond simple attempt to pickup the cheapest components. You can think about few possible strategies to optimize component selection process.

Reduce number of suppliers

Distributors are offering products from multiple manufacturers. You can get an additional advantage from consolidate supplier base. It will save number of purchase orders to manage as well as save time for supply chain team. In most of situation, it can also save shipment cost.

Check multiple options – manufacturer and distributors

In some cases buying directly from manufacturers can give you the lowest price. But this is not always true. Because of different reasons such as distributorship agreements and variation of demand and supply, distributor can offer lower prices than manufacturer and you can leverage it for your product.

Minimize inventory cost

To carry inventory is not efficient. Especially for small manufacturers. One of the factors in the decision process is optimize inventory cost. You can check delivery options and variety of hold inventory and cancellation options provided by suppliers and distributors.

All options I mentioned above requires transparency and collaboration between engineering and supply chain. Thinking about potential component alternatives might require round trips to engineering department and changes in a product design.

One of the bottlenecks in this process is bill of materials. For large companies, bill of material is usually located in multiple systems and needs to be synchronized. PLM, ERP, Supply chain systems- this is only a very short lists. Larger companies might have some homegrown systems with bizarre interfaces and communication options. In smaller companies, email + Excel spreadsheet combination is a killer tool to synchronize, but also a place to introduce mistakes.

Real time collaboration between engineers in multiple departments and supply chain professionals can eliminate mistakes and streamline the process. Bill of materials is a key element to make this communication efficient and compare multiple options.

What is my conclusion? Modern manufacturing environment is increasing the bar to enable transparency and collaboration between people and departments. To have system that can enable real time collaboration using updated bill of material can be a great enabler. Unfortunately, many organizations stack with “synchronization” of data between systems. This is a core of significant inefficiency. The opportunity to improve it is huge. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Product Lifecycle for New Hardware Projects

November 11, 2015


New Product Introduction (NPI) is a tough work. PLM vendors scoped NPI or NPID as a solution to prevent delays in new product development and deliveries. In a nutshell, a typical PLM NPI solution is a waterfall project management activity with milestones. Nothing wrong with project managements and delivering of milestones, but here is the thing – although major milestone are clear, things are usually not going according to the plan. The communication between people is not following the original workflow and many NPI solutions tend to be disconnected from realities.

Recent development of agile methodologies are hinting that it might be a better way to organize NPI process. I share some of my thoughts earlier this year – Why PLM should revisit NPI process. The main problem is in fact, too much focus on milestones (launch data and stage gates) and very little focus on capturing right features from customers and insuring all things are well defined. Projects get failed because of different reason – wrong cost estimation or missing parts in Bill of Materials. In a first case you will have way too expensive product and misalignment with retail or sales. In the second case, you product scheduled for holidays will be delivered 2 months later.

New product introduction is a problem for large companies and small teams. But while large manufacturing company can probably recover from unsuccessful product launch, for new hardware project, a failure to deliver on time and with a projected cost can be life or death situation. There are many examples of such failures today on Kickstarter. Hence why Kickstarter projects need PLM.

Bolt, Boston-based VC firm focused on funding hardware startups recently published a series of blog post outlining typical steps in new hardware company development. Navigate here to read more. The following picture gives you some sort of high-level view.


My attention caught two publications on Dragon Innovation blog – Product Manufacturing Lifecycle Overview and Manufacturing Request for Quote Process. Dragon Innovation is a company helping new hardware teams and startups to scale up manufacturing process and succeed in mass production. Learn more to navigate to Dragon Certified program.

Dragon’s blog post explains the importance of planning on each stage of product lifecycle process – 1/ Product design and engineering, 2/ Getting ready for production, 3/ Mass production; 4/ Updating, maintaining, and improving the product during mass production; 5/ Product end of life. There are very good and important tips related to each stage of product lifecycle. It gives you a good framework of topics to follow up. It also highlighted a potential failure point that is not coming from specific product design and technology aspects. It comes from bad organization. I specially like the following passage:

It often happens that the biggest challenges occur not through failure to design or build properly, but from inadequate planning and organization resulting in the need to redesign products, change factories, or scrap material. These challenges can be minimized with realistic planning, taking into account the different stages of the product lifecycle from the manufacturing point of view.

Dragon Innovation’s articles made me think about multiple challenges small manufacturing teams can experience when launching new products. Many of decisions hardware team is taking are multi-dimensional and related to factors like – production batch, component supply and communication with contract manufacturers. Cost is a factor, but the importance of cost is different during the stages of new product introduction. In many situations, coordination is more important than following stage-gate process.

What is my conclusion? To organize work around new product launch is a crazy task. Especially when it is a new hardware project. There are many projects these days raising money and finding a way to manufacture products and scale production. The lifecycle of these projects is different from a typical NPI workflows. They are using a combination of multiple tools to get job done, organize project and process around it. My hunch, not many PLM systems were designed for this type of process. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Pictures credit Bolt blog post.


Mobile PLM is not about “mobile” devices

November 10, 2015


For the last few years we’ve seen a wave of new “mobile” devices coming into business space. Mobile devices are changing the way we work. And I’m sure you can caught yourself using a mobile device you have in your hands at the same time you have a laptop or desktop computer in sight.

I’ve been following what CAD and PLM vendors are doing with regards to mobile devices and strategy. In my one of my earlier blog posts I shared why, I think, PLM vendors missed the point in mobile gold rush.

So far, I believe all PLM vendors are able to demonstrate PLM technology running of the mobile device. Here are few examples – Siemens PLM Teamcenter, PTC Windchill mobile, Autodesk PLM360 mobile. However, here is a question I have – how these applications are changing the way companies are using PLM technology. In other words, what is a “mobile moment” for PLM that allows people and companies to work in a different ways? For most of the situations, mobile PLM is a way to access the same PLM database with the information belonging to the company. I doesn’t matter much I can do it using my laptop or iPad.

But, I think, the problem of “mobile” in PLM has deep roots. Actually it is not about about “mobile devices” at all. It is a platform problem.

My attention was caught by Benedict Evans’ article – Mobile ecosystem and the death of PCs. The article brings a very interesting perspective on what is the meaning of mobile technologies. In a nutshell, it is not about specific mobile device. There are few examples in the article that can convince you that “mobile” is really imperfect term to define a specific device. What is really important is how “mobile” term is impacting the way we do our work everyday. And we can do that work in different locations. From that standpoint, screen size is probably an important characteristic to think about.

On this basis, instead of thinking of ‘tablets and smartphones’ as one category and ‘PCs as another, we should think of larger screen and smaller screen devices. That is, you will have something you carry with you (a ‘phone’) and may or may not also have something with a larger screen that stays mostly at home or in your office. In the past you might have chosen between a laptop or desktop – today you choose between a laptop, desktop or tablet, depending on what you want to do with it. That is, perhaps we should think of tablets as being as much ‘PCs’ as desktops and laptops are.

However, my favorite passage is the following one speaks about technology and platform development.

Each generation of technology goes through an S-curve of development – slow improvement of an impractical product, then explosively fast improvement once fundamental barriers are solved, and then slowing iteration and refinement as you solve every last issue and the curve flattens out. PCs are on that flattening part of the curve, just as the Rainbow was. They get perfect because you’re debugging the big things you invented in the past, and now your innovation is in the extra little things (such as the Rainbow using exhaust for extra thrust), and there are no big new innovation to debug. But meanwhile, the new ecosystem is catching up, and the curve of development and innovation for that generation will flatten out way out of reach. The new curve is crossing the old one. This is why they look similiar – this is why a Surface Pro and an iPad Pro look similar. They both exist right at the point that those development curves cross. The iPad might still be a little below, but its curve is heading up.

So, you can ask me how is that related to PLM? Existing PLM platforms reached their top performance today, exactly how piston-powered aircraft in the picture above. These technologies and platforms are certainly reached perfection. Even more, we can run an extension of these technologies using mobile devices. However, here is the thing – as much as these technologies are perfect, they are probably obsolete with fundamental assumptions related to conceptual assumptions, database technologies and scale.

What is my conclusion? Existing PLM platforms are perfect in their maturity. We are in an upper plateau of “S” curve. We can certainly see a very slow improvement for core fundamental technologies and products by most of PLM vendors today. All these platform development root back 15-25 years ago. This is a possible reason why PLM ecosystem is focusing so much on methodology, implementation techniques and management of changes in the organization. It is an absence of technological and product differentiators. It is a note for strategists and technologist to look for a new curve in PLM platform development. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Picture credit Benedict Evans blog.


Updated blog: How to compare PLM cloud services?

November 9, 2015


It has been few months since I published my first comparison between PLM cloud services provided by different CAD, PLM and ERP vendors. You can see my first blog about it – PLM vendors: cloud service comparison. This blog raised many comments and questions online and offline. I’ve been following it for some time trying to learn more and present an updated version of PLM cloud comparison. I wanted to share something that can help customers to make an intelligent decision about cloud PLM selection as well as to provide additional source of questions to be checked with PLM vendors during the selection process.

So, here is a new version of comparison table.


Few comments about the changes I’ve made. I decided to replace complex IaaS, PaaS, SaaS definition into something more simple – SaaS / Hosted. Multi-tenancy is an important characteristics that indicates the architecture of software platform for cloud deployment. Public vs Private cloud differentiation is pretty much straightforward. I added a column that indicates that availability of software from 3rd party hosting services. It looks like a growing trend among PLM vendors to partner with companies providing services to maintain and run cloud PLM environment for customers.

Some additional articles that can help you to make a decision. My article on Engineering.com – PLM is the best Hosted, SaaS or On Premise… Let’s sort it out. Another publication I found is very useful – All PLM Clouds are not created equal created by CIMdata and provided by Arena Solutions.

What is my conclusion? Cloud remains a complicated topic for manufacturing companies to decide about. Although the adoption of cloud PLM solution is growing, it is still hard for companies to decide about what is the right PLM cloud. A divide line is clearly Hosted vs SaaS multi-tenant environments. I think, the advantages of multi-tenant SaaS over Hosted cloud PLM solutions is not obvious for large manufacturing companies. At the same time, all cloud PLM implementations are still require “implementations” and hardly can be used out-of-the-box, which prevents easy adoption. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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