Last night I had the pleasure of dining with a group of Aras enthusiasts – partners and users – visiting Aras HQ for a training class.  Located on the Merrimack River, the dinner conversation naturally focused on the area’s rich industrial past and before we knew it we were talking about, what else? PLM.

It makes sense. After all, PLM didn’t start with software, it started with people; engineers, designers, workers, purchasing agents, all trying to get their products out to the market.  And, as we know, it all started in Massachusetts.

As those early markets grew, tighter processes became self evident and along with the age of technology PLM as a software was born.  Now this isn’t meant to be a history of PLM.  But it does get me to my point: What is the real value of PLM?

During dinner, one of our guests asked me “why open source?  What was the driving force behind it?”  I launched into a story about our CEO, Peter Schroer, and his visionary outlook on the industry. Here’s how it came about…

The software already existed.  And, as Peter astutely recognized, the value of PLM isn’t in counting licenses for Aras or for PLM consumers.  The value is in the future state of changing business.  It’s reducing cycle times and putting out better products at lower cost faster.  It’s ensuring that the entire company has access to the right information at the right time.

As we are all too aware, the speed of business has changed and it dominates every decision, every spend, every action within a company. Providing software that can enable those processes – which are often rapidly changing and rarely sustaining – to every company across the globe is where real value lies for both Aras and PLM consumers.

And, as I learned during dinner, the value of our enterprise open source is interpreted differently by just about every company that uses it.

One of our guests said, “when we first saw EOS PLM we thought free cannot be good.”  The person to his left chimed in and said, “we thought free is our only way in.”  And the gentleman across the table from him said, “the testimonials from the people that were already on the inside along with the opportunity to try it ourselves while knowing we could get training, services and support at any time was OUR only way in.”

Each person around the table continued to share about how they came to be an Innovator.  One visitor even said he had been skeptical right up the training class, but now he is so enthusiastic and he has to try to reign in all his ideas.  It was so much fun listening to them and sharing in their joy of what it means to be different.

What about you? How do you value PLM and what does it mean to you?