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Aras Connect Recap Detroit June 2022

By June 29, 2022July 19th, 2023No Comments

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending Aras’ first-ever Aras Connect Conference hosted in Detroit, MI. Being in Detroit, the event was focused on how Aras applies to the automotive industry, with guest speakers from Denso and NSK. The event also featured Detroit automotive legend, John McElroy, who shared his insight on how auto manufacturers can keep up with the times and Tesla.  The theme of event centered on keeping up with the times and the pace of product complexity.

Speaker: Roque Martin, CEO, Aras


The day began with a speech from Aras’ new CEO Roque Martin on the need for resilient PLM. PLM and your business need to be able to evolve quickly, and Roque Martin began his presentation on how Aras is meeting those needs. As some of you reading this may know, in order to grow their platform Aras has made major changes and acquisitions over the past year. In terms of the approach, Aras has always been a low-code platform, incredibly customizable, and very adaptable to any industry or business. This adaptability is further enhanced by Aras’ acquisition of Minerva PLM and their Medical Device Solutions built within Aras Innovator. Aras is now pushing into new pastures with a greater focus on Enterprise SaaS and Cloud. In addition, Roque emphasized Aras’ openness and connectivity. With Aras’ acquisition of XPLM, they now have the full range of XPLM’s connector and integration services in their back pocket. Roque finished his remarks by highlighting the global impact of Aras Innovator and the strength of the company, with 132,000 instances and 4 million users worldwide along with a 95% gross retention rate and a 37% compound annual growth rate.

Speaker: Lopa Subramanian, VP of Product Definition

What’s New from Aras

Following the remarks of Roque Martin was a presentation from Lopa Subramanian, Aras’ Vice President of Product Definition. In a similar mold to our Tech Tuesday webinars on What’s New from Aras, Lopa guided us through what’s coming on the horizon from Aras Innovator, as well as what has recently been released.

Lopa discussed enhancements to Aras’ Subscriber portal, which allows subscribers to find important resources, manage support tickets, and much more. These enhancements include improved search functionality, more collaborative discussion threads, and changes to where product requests go. Following this, she went into further detail about Aras Enterprise SaaS, which is a cloud-based platform. This features a fully-featured version of Aras that is fully customizable and managed by Aras. Any modifications will be deployed to production by the Aras support team.

She also discussed the new functionality that will be coming to the platform as it stands. These include enhancements to Reporting and Dashboards, Secure External Access, Enterprise Change Management, and Variant Management.

They are also making improvements on Dashboards. Dashboards have been a request for years within Aras Innovator, and these new enhancements will make Dashboards more easily configurable with multiple widget types. Admins and End Users will be able to configure their own dashboards, similarly to how Self-Service Reporting behaves within Aras Innovator.

Enhancements for Secure External Access and Enterprise Change Management have a slightly less defined scope at this point, but are worth noting. Secure External Access will relate to how suppliers and partners are able to access data within your Aras environment. Any communication will be managed via Web Services. The main gem of this is a Portal Client App that is in the analyzing phase of development at Aras that will facilitate the access. This will allow access via mobile or desktop. Enterprise Change Management is a goal of Aras to extend the functionalities of change management to allow any ItemType to be an Affected Item on a change.

The most important addition to the platform is new functionality around Variant Management. Variant Management allows for users to create multiple configurations of a product, preventing invalid configurations from being created and improving efficiencies by not having to synchronize multiple solutions. Aras is targeting its release on Aras Innovator 12 by the end of June, while it will be released on Release 22 in August. Aras recently hosted a webinar on the solution that can be found here (Manage Your Product Variants Using Aras’ New Variant Management Application), and Razorleaf will be focusing on the release in our next Tech Tuesday webinar,  July 12th.  Please join us if you want to hear more about Aras Releases 19 and 20.

Lopa concluded her presentation with a summary of what’s to come in the next few releases:

Finally, Lopa discussed what has been in the past few releases.  Enhancements included 3D viewing, Tech Docs Framework, the Process Engine, and the integration of Minerva PLMs Med-Device Industry solution within the Aras Innovator platform.

Guest Speaker: John McElroy, Tesla

Why Tesla is Winning

While most of the day was highly PLM-focused, this was interrupted by an industry-focused presentation about the fast pace of the Automotive industry led by Tesla’s innovative new design process. While many OEMs have adhered to tried and true methods, such as Toyota’s product development process of a two-year design cycle, Tesla has been making design changes on the fly and advancing past the industry. This has become a bigger issue with the new emphasis on Electric Vehicles. Much has been made of the automotive chip shortage, which has caused inventory issues for many OEMs; but not Tesla. Many cars are loaded with controllers for each individual component, causing the number of chips needed in cars to increase as the technology within them advances. Tesla, coming into the industry with a blank slate has made use of a single central computer that handles all the necessary processes within the vehicle. This pinch has begun to be felt by manufacturers, which is why Ford is getting ahead of the game by creating two separate business units for traditional cars and electric vehicles.

Breakout Sessions

In between these presentations, Aras also hosted a few breakout sessions during the day to highlight Quality Management enhancements as well as Supplier Collaboration. The Quality Management portion focused on a new DFMEA document that adheres to VIAG/VDA standards. The FMEA process now includes 7 distinct phases, Scope Definition, Structure Analysis, Function Analysis, Failure Analysis, Risk Analysis, Optimization, and Documentation.

In Summary

I believe that event went very well, the presentations were valuable and the event provided a great opportunity to see colleagues again, breaking from the standard of the past few years. Aras provided a platform for a few of their customers to share success stories in their use of Aras Innovator.  The discussion enabled customers and partners like Razorleaf to gain a better perspective of how other subscribers use Innovator, and inspire more ideas on how to apply Aras Innovator for different applications.

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