In 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
This 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.