… but especially, it wants to be a platform.
Dassault introduced the 3DExperience Marketplace in February 2018 as an online resource for products and services. On introduction, Dassault said Marketplace offers access to 50 digital manufacturers with 500 machines and 30 million components from 600 suppliers. Giving designers access to on-demand manufacturing and part sourcing. The marketplace is centralized through Dassault which manages the process of billing, payments, currency conversion, and record maintenance.
The 3DExperience Marketplace has been integrated into SolidWorks and Catia enabling customers to search the growing catalog of suppliers for the exact component they need and insert component models into the design.
The Marketplace is one example of the complex ways in which Dassault is adapting to the digitization of its business. At the company’s latest 3DExperience Forum in Boston, Bernard Charles says Dassault has succeeded in building the largest factory in the world. “Something big is happening,” says Charles, “in my mind everything is industry.” Boeing is using the marketplace internally to manage its supply chain across the entire company.
Like its customers, Dassault is trying to understand how to transition from products to services. The Marketplace is the company’s working model for how that transition might work.
At the 3DExperience conference, Charlès said the company is starting from the customer experience and working backward.
What do we think?
Dassault wants to be a platform and it wants its customers to think about their businesses as platforms, but first, it has to explain what it means by platform. Dassault’s customers are just regular folks, albeit megacorporations in some cases. Everyone is running as fast as they can to keep up and far from planning how they’re going to platformize their business, they’re trying to incorporate new technology into their old processes—maybe that turns themselves into a platform, but that’s probably not their goal.
Dassault’s idea is to build an environment that their customers never need to leave their platform for services, manufacturing, research, analytics, marketing, supply chain, resource management, etc. That ambition is not unique to Dassault. Most companies have a similar vision and it can work on some level. Dassault and its competitors have privileged access to their customers, but it in the end customers are always going to demand free passage between tool environments.
We’ve also been writing about Autodesk’s work with Forge to enable services suppliers to be accessed from within Autodesk’s tools. (See: Xometry enjoys growth spurt.)