The company introduces new line of Dot Products including .Works and .Delmia.
Dassault is reeling its SolidWorks community in a little closer. At SolidWorks World, the company unveiled new products for SolidWorks based on the 3DExperience Platform, Dassault’s environment for its enterprise products. This is an ongoing goal for Dassault, which hopes to build a stronger company by integrating all of its many moving parts.
At the end of 2018, Dassault acquired IQMS in a $425 million deal. IQMS offers a wide range of data management tools including ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) tool. ERP lives in the same neighborhood as PLM. The technology endeavors to bring together all the critical functions of a company such as finances, product planning, procurement, analytics, into a centralized financial management system. It’s an idea that’s been around before PLM and its path to acceptance has been somewhat similar. The executive suite wants visibility, predictability, and accountability but it can be a heavy lift to implement and the people who have to use it struggle with the added overhead. In fact, all the centralized data management tools including PLM, CRM, MES, and ERP make good sense, but they have required an enterprise-wide infrastructure that is out of reach for many small and medium sized businesses.
Most of these ideas and related products were introduced in the late eighties, early nineties when the Internet was just being born. Consultants made a lot of money building systems for large enterprises and that’s where the technology sat. The industry was stuck waiting for the cloud.
The cloud is here and it is transforming data management and collaboration. Like SolidWorks, IQMS was founded to disrupt a complacent high end with tools and services for small and medium businesses (SMB). At SolidWorks World, Dassault took its first steps to introduce its new business line based on its IQMS acquisition, which it is naming 3DExperience.Delmia (which Dassault pronounces as “dot Delmia”). Delmia is Dassault’s brand for data management tools on the 3DExperience.
3DExperience.Delmia is part of the 3DExperience.Works family and as the name implies, Dassault is building a new line of products for SolidWorks that corresponds to the companies enterprise brands. These new “dot products” are designed to build a bridge between Dassault’s enterprise products and its larger, faster growing mainstream products in the SolidWorks family. Of the products that are on the way, .Delmia is the one piece that’s ready to go because it’s based on the IQMS product line.
During the keynote, SolidWorks CEO Gian Paolo Bassi said the .Works tools will help customers integrate processes for Plan, Design, Simulate and Manufacture and benefit from Dassault’s 3DExperience platform. And if all that sounds a little nebulous, it is at this point. Much of the work is still in process. There’s plenty of SWW19 recap material available on the company’s site.
Plan: Dassault says generations coming up have been living in a connected world and they’re ready for PLM, but not PLM as it has been offered, a heavy and complex tool requiring dedicated professionals to build and maintain. Dassault pledges to be ready young workers who are arriving with the expectation of being always connected to intelligent machines. PLM for everybody.
Design: At SolidWorks World 2019, the R&D team talked about what they’re doing to be ready for 2020, which the company sees as a pivotal year for SolidWorks. Dassault has transformed its R&D to be a core resource for the entire company. Tools like xDesign and xShape are cloud-based, easy to use design tools designed to complement the SolidWorks design environment, or even offer more nimble alternatives.
Simulate: Simulation has finally become part of many designers’ workflow, but as customers adapt to simulation, they’re finding situations where they need simulation to adapt to their problems. Dassault is trying to develop tools that address complex simulation challenges within a familiar environment for SolidWorks users. Sometimes a more powerful tool might be the easier solution if it’s faster and more powerful. Dassault is working on tools from Simulia that are streamlined for SolidWorks. As an interesting aside here, Simulia’s tools are built for performance by taking advantage of multi-threaded CPUs. We asked about GPU acceleration and we were told, rather than rearchitecting mature software for GPUs, the group would more likely take advantage of CPU resources in the cloud to continue to scale.
Manufacture: The manufacture side of .Work includes the .Delmia products we’ve talked about but also the 3DExperience Platform Marketplace where customers can source parts and find suppliers. That can also feed into the ERP and MES systems Dassault is proposing for SolidWorks users.
SolidWorks has been building a team around .Works that brings together people with experience in different areas of Dassault. The group includes from SolidWorks and people from 3DExperience and it’s hoped they can use their shared experience to build a bridge of technology and products between SolidWorks and 3DExperience.
There are also a lot of customers helping the .Works effort. Last year, Dassault CEO Bernard Charles announced the company would be partnering with lighthouse customers in the user base to help define the capabilities needed beyond the traditional SolidWorks tool set. The Lighthouse customers met with their counterparts at Dassault/Solidworks and described the kinds of problems they were trying to solve. Much of the work going into .Works has come out of the Lighthouse relationships.
The first opportunity for .Delmia in the SolidWorks community is in manufacturing and although manufacturing has transformed itself over the last 20 years to become more efficient, there are still plenty of points of disconnection where the IQMS product line of alphabet capabilities including Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) can improve efficiency and save companies money.
Bernard Charles told the audience that most small and medium size business manage their supply chain, procurement, manufacturing availability, etc., with spreadsheets. Dassault wants to replace the spreadsheets with cloud-based, constantly updated dashboards in much the same way that SalesForce has transformed CMS with its platform that is easily accessible to small and medium size businesses.
The company expects to see new products for the .Works family coming out through 2019 and as we said, the big boom is planned for 2020. Dassault has been planning for this transition for a long time and there’s been considerable restructuring and money spent to make it a success. We’ll see about that. Customers have their own timetables.
What do we think?
If the mountain won’t come to Dassault, Dassault will come to the mountain. What is most interesting about Dassault as a company is the company’s adaptability even in the face of its utter assurance. Like Adobe, Autodesk, and Microsoft, the company has pushed on its vision and believes its customers will come along. Eventually, they will be right. In the meantime, the company has been careful to listen to its large SolidWorks community, who is not sure they want big changes to the software that defines their working lives, but they do want advanced capabilities. Dassault has figured out a way to give them what they want and at the same time get what it wants.