During my many engagements with companies that are interested to optimize their current CAD/PDM/PLM environment, I meet a lot of people that have legacy PDM /PLM systems from way back when I learned my first steps with PLM/PDM at Hewlett Packard’s Mechanical Design Division.
In the old days, PDM Systems were great toolboxes of code that could be brought together with a lot of customization and hardcore coding and services. Compiling JAR files, Java settings, macros, writing custom UI code, adapting SQL Tables and then putting it all in place and rolling it out to users was, however, a cumbersome task. About two to three weeks of installation time needed for installing the basic system components and setting everything up was the norm.
The result was a “one-time” super PLM/PDM system that served the needs of a customer that were defined at the beginning of the project. In many cases the implementation team would find out that at the time of deployment, the company had already changed processes to adapt to new market circumstances and needed to change the PLM system accordingly in a time-consuming update of the existing system.
This “monster of Customizations and Programs,” flicked together by the best consultants in the industry (I met MANY of them in my career), was then put in the hands of capable System Administrators who went through months of training and trial and error to be able to maintain, let alone adapt, the system.
Then came the “dreaded” new release of the PDM Software and the many new possibilities that the users ALWAYS wanted immediately. The release was “Dumped” in front of the factory in tons of shiny new CD-ROM boxes by a smiling account manager and his consorts.
In most cases between 30 and 60 percent of the initial PDM project was then repeated to update all the code to match the new functionality. And then, everything needed to be rolled out again. Let me now not mention the testing and reworking of custom code after unsuccessful tests, since testing new versions before going into production with them is always a good thing to do.
So every year the IT team would complete major evaluations as to whether the now-created “Dinosaur“ PLM/PDM System would NEED upgrading since feeding the system with new tools meant huge amount of External Services, much time to complete and high costs and associated risks.
I joined the Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS in Germany in 2008 because I was attracted by a PDM Product that at that point in time could maybe not (yet) do everything the “Dino” could do, but it was the first time in my professional PDM /PLM life that I found an Administrative plug-and-play experience in a PDM Software.
My dear Colleague Christian Senn (then Territory Technical Manager for PDM) asked me a few questions about what I wanted to do, and installed and configured the PDM system on my laptop in three hours. It was even tailored for my specific purpose. Ever since that day I use it daily to manage customer projects, CAD data from clients, contracts and much more.
Now, almost 10 years later and many releases of SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional later, the administration paradigm for this product still remains the same and still amazes new clients alike.
The focus to save time and cost in System Administration is achieved by:
- By configuring instead of CUSTOMIZING
- Making changes to the system with an Administrative UI that is easy to understand, use and learn (No Programming required)
- Graphically designing User Interface Adaptions to match internal processes (and with click of a button deploy to the system)
- Easy download and upgrading to new version with a click (unless you inserted custom programs, which should be kept to a minimum
- Includes all server components in bought license (Viewer, Contributor, CAD Editor license types, no server Products to buy – included in the license types mentioned before)
You can also integrate PDM Professional with ERP systems to avoid things like:
- Having duplicate Master Record Databases between ERP and PDM (ERP is master)
- Retyping and Managing Masterdata Classification Information in PDM (ERP is master)
- Answering many information requests from around the company since the data is available in the system the users works with most (Either in ERP for Enterprise Resource Planning or in PDM for R&D)
With the new SOLIDWORKS Manage Product that will be an add-on to SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional coming later this year, I am looking forward to the added capabilities for existing and new users around our growing community.
Why do you not check into a local DS SOLIDWORKS reseller and check out how SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional could move your legacy dinosaur system into the museum and enable your system administration to upgrade at great speed to take advantage of new versions includes in the Subscription.
*Please note that the Bundled in Microsoft SQL Standard Edition needs a CAL License for every installed client unless a Processor based licensing type is selected.