Steve Jobs famously said, “Some people say, ‘Give the customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do.” While I’m all for some outside-the-box thinking and innovation, the reality is that product management in the software space needs a healthy dose of “outside-in” thinking – putting oneself in the customer’s shoes and understanding their pain points and desires to bring a product to them that delights. How do we do this at Aras? One good example is our Aras Community Event (ACE) conferences. If you made it to Fort Worth in March, or to any of our past conferences for that matter, you know that it’s as much about Aras listening to customers and prospects as it is about telling them what’s new in the product. For example, we have special Product Strategy Input sessions on the last morning of the conference to get direct input on product enhancement areas we’re considering. This year’s topics included Variant 3D Design, Advanced MPP and MBOM, AI and machine learning, and UX brainstorming. This year at ACE, we also discussed our APEX initiative – Agile Product Exploration – our approach to exploring new product concepts before they go into active development, which is designed to get feedback from individual customers and focus groups. My team of product managers is also actively involved in ongoing customer engagements, lending subject matter expertise to topics including systems engineering, variant management, and test data management. And we’re good listeners when it comes to your product ideas, whether on a conference call or via a support incident enhancement request. If you haven’t contacted the Aras PM team, what are you waiting for?

Steve Jobs famously said, “Some people say, ‘Give the customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do.”

Low-code modeling for UX

We have a built-in challenge when it comes to deciding how to take all your “outside-in” input and build new stuff. There are a lot of ideas! And the diversity of capabilities built on Aras’ low-code platform means these ideas are across the board! One way we can satisfy as many customers as possible is to focus on highly leveraged areas across our customer base, which led to our recent focus on Low-code Modeling for UX. Every customer uses low-code modeling to configure their Aras Innovator environment, and every Aras user benefits from improved UX. At my recent What’s New in Aras Innovator webinar, I reviewed some of the recent product deliveries in these two areas, which include:

  • Rules for Form Display – low-code rules definition that’s part of our new Responsive Forms
  • Shared Widget Context for Dashboards – the ability for dashboard widgets to communicate their context and drive new types of rich user experience
  • Configurable Web Services Editor – brand new low-code editor to describe and deploy custom web services
  • Fill-down for Edit in Grid – rapid Excel-like ability to fill in repeat data values for multiple items

Whether you design high-performance engines, energy drinks, nuclear power plants, or party balloons, these new capabilities will help you do your job better.

New! Supplier Management Solutions

“Outside-In” is not just a way for ideas to get from our customers to our product managers. It’s also a way for your suppliers to interact with your Aras Innovator environment. This month, Aras is proud to roll out our new Supplier Management Solutions offering, designed to facilitate secure remote access to a controlled subset of digital thread and PLM information through configurable mobile-optimized web applications. We have heard from many of you about the challenges of collaborating with your extended ecosystem, and we believe the combination of this new application functionality coupled with external access through the new Aras Portal will drive efficiencies from the outside in. Supplier Management Solutions allows you to track supplier contact information, notify or request supplier actions, conduct surveys, drive compliance declarations and corrective actions, and collaborate with workflows, file sharing, and threaded discussions. All are based on your central product data platform with full digital thread traceability.

For more information about the new features and additions to Aras Innovator, watch the on-demand webinar here.