My next story from ACE 2019 is about Aras product update. It was presented by John Sperling, Aras VP of product management. John told two stories in his presentation – one about how Aras is using its own tool for software development and the second is about new product features and functions. It has been a good tradition in the PLM world to show how PLM platforms can be used inside. It is kind of “Drinking Our Own Champagne” story that originally known as “Eating your own dog food”. It is a good story and John did a great job demo how Aras is using SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) for software development using Aras Navigator.
My favorite part of John’s presentation was about product updates. I captured a set of screenshots to share with you. They almost self-explanatory and giving the story of Aras product development, priorities, and features.
Pay attention to Graph navigation and query builder. These are interesting new pieces of Aras technologies. I wrote about Graphs earlier in my blog – Graph Navigation and PLM user experience paradigm.
Aras product presentation made me think about Aras flexible platform as a data harness mechanism. The advantage of this approach is obvious – any data can be modeled, created, imported, modified, searched, sliced and diced in a different form. From the standpoint of data, Ara s is a giant database with a lot of flexible logic related to how to retrieve data, slice and dice queries and making reports.
It might be not as sexy as cool 3D models of cars and other products design and manufactured by OEMs and their contractors. But this data is a fundamental of manufacturing business. So, I was excited to see how Aras is expanding data platform, adding new and clarifying existing capabilities.
So, everything is very good. Aras has a flexible data model, clear differentiators like upgradable tech compared to other PLM rivals. Aras Innovator is a great data management tool. If flexibility is your #1 priority, you should include Aras Innovator in your benchmark list. You can ask – where is possible “but” in Aras’ data management story? In my view, a possible “but” is in the complexity of scale and dependencies on people. When it comes to complexity and people, Aras is not very much different than all other PLM companies. It is an expensive and sophisticated enterprise tool to solve complex data management problems.
What is my conclusion? Everyone likes and want to have data these days. There are very few things in the technological landscape of circa 2020 more exciting than “data”. But as much as everyone likes the data, nobody likes to manage and organize it. This is one of the major challenges of all PLM implementations. Aras is flexible, scalable, resilient, sustainable, but still very complex. All together will continue to increase the cost of PLM implementation and dependencies of the PLM industry on expensive consultants and service providers to scale. Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud-based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.