We have arrived at a point where technology has caught up with the marketing message.  How many times have you heard a software company say they can do nearly anything…only to find out the technology cannot deliver on that promise?  For years, Legacy PLM vendors made those promises.  Just like you, I was on the receiving end and it left me unhappy.

Let us talk about Jack.  He heard all of the pitches and decided that Aras Innovator could realize the value he needs to make his business successful (he makes candles of course).  With all of the hardware and software in hand – Jack's team gets to work.

As I mentioned in a previous post, "Aras Innovator is purpose built to enable rapid configuration and/or customization to achieve your current processes."  Jack's team has a grasp on their business processes, some unique and some industry standard.  Under different circumstances, Jack would have been forced to "vanilla-ize" his processes to utilize Legacy PLM systems.  Not so with Aras Innovator.

PDM ArchitectureI know what you are thinking, "He sure sounds like a salesman…"  I suppose you have a point.  But stay with me and allow me to explain.

Traditionally, a PDM system is made up of a data model, process model and an application server.  The data model and the process model are customized to capture how Jack does business.  This effort requires a small army of experienced analysts, programmers and admins (translation: silo'd and expensive), a mountain of documented requirements, and half of Jack's production staff for testing.  Now it is 6 months later and Jack's team has run a Kaizen effort that will change business processes.  Jack's PLM partner tells him he needs to do all that work all over again…Crazy talk!

This is where the promises of the Legacy PLM systems break down.  According to industry research firm CIMdata, “Over a third of current PLM (PDM) implementations have more than 3 years of development remaining” and “Over a third of current PLM (PDM) solutions are more than 5 years old.”  How can you expect to run your business when your tools are never done and then out of date?

Aras Architecture animationAt Aras, we decided to throw that concept out and build something that makes sense to Jack's evolving business needs.  We know that Jack's team knows what they need to do to make their business work.  We wanted to give them the ability to rapidly jump from whiteboard sketches and powerpoints into the data model.  Our solution allows them to logically model how they work instead of writing all of the code that was needed in a legacy system.  We call this Model-Based Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).  We created a Modeling Engine to capture the data and process models within a model based environment.  Now, with Aras' solution, Jack's team creates models that describe their business (object model, relationships, business logic, and methods) which are stored as accessible and readable XML structures in the database.

I understand that SOA can be hard to grasp.  I found that the Tridens blog had a nice summary of SOA with some good images.  Also SOA Magazine had some good content to get you up to speed.

How about a real example.  Before Airbus chose Aras to become their PLM backbone, they chose Aras to manage their test projects from end to end.  Some of their specific needs were daily data management, test activity visibility, and multi-site operation.   All of this was accomplished by creating the data models they initially needed and then modifying them to suit their business processes.  For more information check out this presentation from Airbus.  The success of this program and the ability to provide "high-end data modeling “on the fly”, no development involved" were noted factors in Airbus' decision to leverage Aras Innovator across its entire enterprise.

Let's get back to our friend Jack.  By leveraging the Aras Innovator platform he has a solution at his disposal that is made to be customized and extended to power his Business of Engineering today AND tomorrow.   While his team is busy delivering the world's best candles he can also be looking into new lines of business, say the latest in IoT enabled LED candles.  Jack knows that he can be nimble in his market by starting a new product, expanding to new sites or integrating with partners.

With this kind of flexibility, Jack pretty much does whatever he wants to!

I'll be following up with this topic in upcoming posts.  I'd love to see your comments or questions.  In the meantime, if you would like to dig in a bit more on the benefits of our Model Driven solution check out: PLM Software’s Future: Model-driven vs. Model-based

Bonus points for whoever remembers the old marketing campaign that talked about Jack.  Send me a comment, email or a tweet with your answer.