Future of Enterprise PDM

DS logoIn a recent article, I expressed concerns about the current state of PDM, especially for SolidWorks. There were particular questions posed regarding the long term outlook for Enterprise PDM.  The concern is that Dassault Systemes’ plan for PDM solutions may be different than SolidWorks Corp.  If that is the case, the Enterprise PDM may not be viable long term solution.

My worries where not allayed in a recent presentation by Noam Ktalav of Dassault Systemes (DS).  He was asked about where Enterprise PDM fits into the DS product offerings.  His answer didn’t fully address the question.  Instead, he talked about Enovia and its scalability.  Needless to say, official word regarding Enterprise PDM from DS is very mixed.

Jeff Ray offers insight on this topic

Jeff RayThis prompted me to contact SolidWorks Corp for a clearer picture, as least from their perspective.  Jeff Ray, CEO of SolidWorks Corp, was able to provide some interesting insights.  He exclaimed that statements from DS about Enterprise PDM are mixed.  Ray did offer hope that something is being done about this.

[There is a] very intensive effort between SolidWorks and Enovia for a clear road map.

SolidWorks Corp is working hard to lay out a clear plan for its customers. Ray discussed the need for a long term strategy.  SolidWorks Corp does not want to force a decision on customers that may eventually lead to a dead end.  This would bad for SolidWorks Corp, bad for reputation of individuals who relied on the solutions offered by SolidWorks Corp, and bad for the companies that implemented those solutions.  Instead, Ray declared,

We need to give people a scalable answer.

Ray then stated that he wants to optimize the user experience and “hide the plumbing” of the software.  He doesn’t want to let technology get in the way of the user experience.  He elaborated that users shouldn’t have to be IT experts or even require extensive reliance upon IT departments just to manage their data.

So, a solution that will address Enterprise PDM’s place in the DS universe is coming.  As to the when and in what form?  Answers will be forthcoming soon.

And what of SolidWorks Workgroups PDM?

During my interview with Ray, I also asked about SolidWorks Workgroups PDM (aka PDMWorks).  He clarified that development of the application has hit the limits of the technology behind it.  It is not worth the effort to continue to extensively develop the application further.  He stated that SolidWorks Corp will continue to support Workgroups PDM and any customers that choose to use it, but that the limitations of the application need to be clearly explained.

Author: fcsuper

As a drafter, mechanical designer and CAD engineer, I've been in the mechanical design field since 1991. For the first 8 years of my career, I was an AutoCAD professional. I utilized AutoLISP and many other AutoCAD customization features to streamline drafting activities for 6+ drafters and designers. I authored several custom functions, one of which was published in the March 1997 issue of Cadalyst Magazine. Since 1998, I've been used SolidWorks non-stop. I've worked to utilize the SolidWorks' user environment to simplify drafting and design activities for 20+ engineers. I've created this website to provide current information about SolidWorks from a variety of contributors. More recently, I am now employed by Dassault Systemes as SOLIDWORKS Sr. Product Definition Manager to improve drawing, annotation and MBD related areas.

7 thoughts on “Future of Enterprise PDM”

  1. Matt-

    Great post, thanks for the information.

    What’s your views on this? ENOVIA is a PLM application and Enterprise PDM is a high end PDM application.

    Devon Sowell

  2. Devon,

    I’m not sure, but the “hide the plumbing” comment may suggest (as least to me) that this matter becomes one of simple branding, and that the goal is to have magic behind the curtain not even come up as an issue for the customer.

  3. The conflict would be Enterprise and the Smarteam component of Enovia. Smarteam has a bit of fucntionality that Enterprise lacks but Enterprises file management is superior with its near transparent interface.

  4. When will there be something difinitive as to the fate of PDMWorks? I would prefer to be proactive, rather than wait for the end of the world to arive.

    Our PDMWorks Vault has grown since 2003 and we are thinking of replacing the server, again. Should we plan on enterprise, because there is to be no more PDMWorks?

  5. I think you are right that the messages on EPDM and ENOVIA are not clear. From a business perspective, it seems like Dassault will want to clear this up quickly because of how it impacts sales (on both sides). In my experience (working for a company – not a reseller – that provides consulting on Workgroup PDM, Enterprise PDM, ENOVIA SmarTeam, and ENOVIA MatrixOne), we regularly find ourselves educating clients on the key differences among DS’s PDM products (and a confused client is not a happy client). WPDM versus EPDM is easy to explain, and SmarTeam versus Matrix is easy to explain. The differences between EPDM and SmarTeam are more subtle (although they are definitely different).

    From my perspective, Dassault has a nice product in EPDM, and a really scalable product in the ENOVIA brand. Hopefully, the next announcement from them will be regarding interoperability or integration between the systems. Unfortunately, the architectures are very different, so I expect a loose integration at best (if one is indeed coming).

    By the way, “hide the plumbing” makes me think of CATIA V6. You can’t run CATIA V6 without ENOVIA’s data management running in the background. I wonder if SolidWorks is thinking about the same things (data management becoming an integral part of the CAD system). I’m just thinking out loud now.

    One more thing. “Norm”‘s name above is actually Noam. Noam is a good friend of mine and a super smart guy.

  6. Jonathan,

    It will be interesting to see how V6 is received over time. SDRC I-deas and it’s integrated TDM did well for a long time but that was probably more due to the icon interface. Regardless of whether or not it is successful, I respect Dassault’s willingness to take a bold step. It is a large bet to place.

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