Fresh back from the Aras ACE 2019 conference we got to learn so much about the “Red Hot PLM” platform; or is it just a PLM platform? Getting a good look at the industry’s fastest growing PLM solution you begin to see an Industrial Application (Peter Schroer’s term) that is capable of much more business transformation than just the common wheelhouse PLM solutions.  The event was packed with valuable sessions, including an enhanced training track that offered attendees more hands on experiences with many of the business applications within the products ever growing portfolio.

Peter Schroer Keynote

The show opened with the company’s founder and CEO Peter Schroer talking about Digital Transformation (DX) and although there has been a history of failure with traditional DX projects, customers are compelled to keep trying in order to more quickly develop safer and better products . There were some valuable points made in the keynote about the importance of good business system planning (PLM included) and how organizations have to stop investing in disposable business systems that are overly complex, build on legacy technology, and most importantly hold organizations’ data hostage because they are too expensive to upgrade. Alongside this message, Peter also discussed the gains Aras has made with better execution processes, a new technical center in Shanghai, and important product acquisitions in Impresa and Comet. It should be stated that these are acquisitions existing subscribers will have access to. Peter also commented on the community that Aras has built and will continue to build in the years to come. Great customers, partners, and products are coming together to revolutionize a PLM industry that has historically not been such an open community.

Following the opening keynote, there were some other main stage presentations that painted a great picture of the success that Aras customers are having solving different business challenges. At Razorleaf we work hard to help customers unify processes and communicate this message; the majority of successful customers have a major stake in their PLM implementations. I have to say it was refreshing to hear Microsoft, Huntington Ingalls, and General Motors amongst others echo this theme throughout their keynote presentations. They all participated in a panel discussion on the main stage and shared their successes as well as the challenges they had along the way. Their consistent message of building internal champions and the importance of communication amongst their implementation team really resonated with me and others that I spoke with at the conference.  It was fantastic to hear directly from these customers about how they achieved their goals, how they are measuring success, and what their futures are with the Aras product.

Some Comic Relief and the Aras Roadmap

Engineering Comedian Don McMillan brought the laughs later in the week before attendees got back to business in the roadmap session by Rob McAveney.  The roadmap presentation this year focused less on specific capabilities and more on the philosophy of the platform, as Rob tied together “Systems Thinking” (another theme from the conference) with data granularity. Data granularity is the idea that specific pieces of data can and should be pulled out of information/files to make it easier to manage “intent” rather than “content”. One example of this is extracting parameters from requirements and systems engineering content, and managing those parameters (and their values and their units) as distinct records. A practical case for parameters given at the event is tracking the power requirements for various subsystems within a product. Available power can be set as a system constraint, and then power usage can be allocated across multiple systems (Subsystem A gets 20% of the total power, subsystem B gets 50%, etc.). Predicted power consumption (predicted via simulation) can then be compared against available power as a verification of design. By exposing “power” as a parameter, the PLM platform can perform math, enforce these checks, and provide real-time verification during lifecycle and change processes.

And Our Own News – Change Management Suite

Aras certainly had a lot of exciting things to talk about at ACE 2019, but Razorleaf had some interesting things to introduce and discuss as well. We were very excited to update the community on our Change Management Suite in a session presented by Dennis Lindinger and Rodney Coffey. The feature demonstration of the updated suite, along with the announcement of our Manufacturing Suite drew a lot of excitement from session attendees and we are already looking forward to sharing more next year.

Razorleaf’s Jonathan Scott and Steve Stojanovski also had the honor of presenting alongside our customer Denise Fitzgerald from MIT Lincoln Laboratory about the ongoing progress of their PLM journey. This presentation described MITLL’s ongoing journey toward becoming a Model-Based Enterprise and how Aras was enabling this transformation. Steve Stojanovski performed a live demonstration of one of the laboratory’s revamped model-based processes for requesting and ordering prototype hardware.

As we mentioned earlier, the theme of community was set early in the event by Peter Schroer and that theme threaded each session and reception together as customers got some great networking opportunities in the heart of sunny Phoenix, Arizona. It was great to connect with our fantastic Aras customers and partners for the week.    The event was wildly popular amongst attendees and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year in Boston.

Check here for our pictures of the week!

And a big Congratulations to the 2 winners of our booth giveaway contest – Mike Powell from NIDEC and Craig Arrington from Circor!  We hope you are enjoying the new Titanium Aftershokz headsets.