June 18, 2007
CATIA PLM For The Mid-Market Marches On
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Dassault Systemes announced a positive reception from customers about CATIA PLM Express, its PLM solution for the mid-market. For a long time perceived as a high-end initiative dedicated to large corporations and projects, PLM is now widely recognized for the value it brings to companies of all sizes. Smaller enterprises today realize they can also benefit from PLM to promote collaboration and innovation in order to address their product development challenges.
"With PLM, some of the world's largest enterprises are improving top-line revenue growth and bottom-line performance. We believe that likewise mid-sized companies can benefit tremendously from the

implementation of PLM strategies and solutions," says Ed Miller, president, CIMdata. "Clearly, they are ready for PLM, and Dassault Systemes is determined to satisfy that demand with CATIA PLM Express."

CATIA PLM Express is the ideal solution for small and medium sized companies who are turning to PLM for a simple way to bring high quality innovative products to market faster than ever while reducing costs. CATIA PLM Express delivers a pragmatic, role-based approach mapped with specific industry and job-related requirements. It provides the right tools for the right people and grows with them one step after another as business needs evolve.

A large number of small and medium businesses across a wide range of industries worldwide have embraced PLM and adopted CATIA PLM Express since the solution was launched in October. From Japanese medical equipment manufacturer Yuyama, Korean manufacturer of mobile phone parts M2SYS, American electric sports car designer/manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc., to Swedish tank supplier Fueltech, and French design house Estech, CATIA PLM Express customers are expecting significant improvements in their product development processes, as well as closer and more efficient collaboration with their end-customers.

"Recognizing the key role of PLM, early adopters are taking the first step to successfully transform their business. Our customers have selected CATIA PLM Express because it is an all-in-one flexible solution combining the power of CATIA's design excellence with ENOVIA SmarTeam's collaborative product data management. This provides them with a fast PLM implementation to streamline their product design and manufacturing processes, and grow their business profits," explains Jacques Leveille-Nizerolle, CEO CATIA, Dassault Systemes.

"We are impressed with Dassault Systemes' commitment to the mid-market with CATIA PLM Express and encouraged by indications of its positive reception among mid-sized customers," says Miller. "We believe that a broad approach to PLM, such as Dassault Systemes is pursuing, can help mid-sized companies adopt PLM and quickly take advantage of collaboration to support innovation and competitiveness."

Anybody can experience and build their own CATIA PLM Express configuration at www.3ds.com/my-catia-plm-express, and contact a local CATIA sales representative to review and finalize the solution that best matches their business needs.

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Realizing that new 1,000+seat installations are increasingly rare in the MCAD space, Dassault, like its main competitors, have “discovered” the potential riches by appealing to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). I guess the feeling is that if you had 1,000,000 seats of software to sell, although you’d prefer to sell 10,000 seats to 100 companies, it’s not all that bad if you sell 100 seats to 10,000 companies. The latter is a bit more work, but the potential market is much greater. Anyway, that’s the market that Dassault and its brethren in the so-called “high-end are going after, along with the
vendors in the mid-range – a couple of whom are also potentially competing for the same customer, but more about that later.

The traditional users of CATIA and its other associated PLM applications have always been the automotive and aerospace OEM and their tier-one suppliers. This has been the place to be for many years and the PLM initiative started in 2002 has seen the highest rates of adoption in these market segments. But the Chryslers and Boeings of the world are limited and the real breakthrough for PLM is going to be the mass-market, the smaller, but still demanding manufacturer looking for a PLM solution but without the financial wherewithal of the OEMs. This movement to SMBs actually began four years ago when IBM and Dassault launched the PLM Express initiative, when the companies began
offering substantially discounted the CATIA V5 and ENOVIA SmarTeam package.

CATIA PLM Express is organized and packaged for the following six job-related roles:

  • Mechanical product designer/engineer
  • Layout engineer
  • Machine designer
  • Industrial designer
  • Optimization engineer
  • Manufacturing engineer

As you can imagine, with all of these roles, there are a zillion possible combinations of product options – known as Extension and Enabler options – that can be chosen and used with the core application known as CATIA Team PLM. As you can also imagine, you can’t exactly to purchase the product on a Monday and have it installed and
running by Wednesday – the sales/implementation cycle can probably be quite protracted with the number of parties and procedures that would likely be involved.

The base package consists of CATIA and ENOVIA SmartTeam CATIA that acts as the core configuration of CATIA PLM Express, giving customers the CATIA modeler for product design, knowledge capture and re-use, as well as core collaborative PDM functionality via ENOVIA SmarTeam. Dassault says it delivers all of the functionality and benefits of CATIA, and I find that a bit of a stretch, but for the base price point, I have to admit that it does offer quite a bit.

With regard to pricing, in the U.S. market, CATIA PLM Express starts at around $10.000 per seat without options (and users can choose among 40). Dassault says that discounts may be applicable depending on the number of options chosen and seats. I was also informed to note that the pricing may vary from one business partner to another (that is, the partners offering the various optional product modules).

This is all well and good for CATIA, but I have to ask the question, if I were an SMB in the market for an MCAD product and was set on Dassault as the vendor, would I choose CATIA PLM Express or SolidWorks? In my mind, this poses a convergence of competition as CATIA is offered in the same relative ballpark price as a mid-range product (SolidWorks, and a third-party add-on or two), but at the same time, SolidWorks continues to evolve its features and capabilities more up scale. When considering one or the other, the best question to ask yourself is the scalability of the product chosen in terms of functionality and ability to handle increasing workloads and workflows. In other
words, will the product be able to grow with you and continue to fulfill your needs into the future? I’m sure heads have butted already on both sides of the Dassault MCAD house in this competitive marketplace and will almost certainly continue to do so into the future. May the best product win.

The Week’s Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

ENGINEERING.com Inc. released an enhancement package for its web-based PLM Solution, Collaboration Suite. This latest release lets users track and report on the many product variables that make each product unique. These features in turn drive enhanced executive reporting. Collaboration Suite is a team-based collaboration environment for bringing products to market faster. Complete with online document management, project management, CAD model viewing, web-conferencing and supplier management, ENGINEERING.com Collaboration Suite helps companies manage their new and custom product launches across distributed design and manufacturing teams. Collaboration Suite is available
from ENGINEERING.com as a hosted solution. Customers, suppliers and consultants need only have Internet access to participate in their product development projects. The hosted environment has proven to be quick to deploy and flexible for licensing. New enhancements such as this release are automatically available to all users without any action required on their part.

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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

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