November 20, 2013
It’s an interesting exercise to study the evolving vocabulary at tech conference keynotes. About five or six years ago, speakers went out of their way to hail PLM. Today many prefer to keep PLM references to a minimum. Instead, they pepper their talks with “social,” “community,” “apps,” and “cloud.” It’s a reflection of tech consumers’ changing attitude. They want easily deployable, social media-inspired solutions with an always-on connection to the web and a cancel-anytime option.
Speaking before the crowd at the recent 3DEXPERIENCE Customer FORUM (Las Vegas Nov 12-13), Dassault Systemes president and CEO Bernard Charles said, “ENOVIA is no more a platform. It’s a collection of apps.” He also described V6 as “no more a platform. It’s the architecture.”
Charles recalled, “Two years ago, we asked ourselves where we should be in 2021. Every ten years we try to reformulate where we want to be and why we want to be there, and what do we want for. This is about looking at the world in a different way, a different perspective, looking at it from the future.”
He concluded today’s economy is driven not by products but by experiences: “Welcome to the world of experiences—3DEXPERIENCE,” he said. A critical component of the 3DEXPERIENCE would be the web and the cloud. “We will drive everything we do from an architecture that complies with the internet, with the cloud,” he reasoned.
In January, when Dassault launches V6-based products, they’ll be cloud-powered products. During his lunch meeting with the press, he further clarified that “[The new solutions] will be on Dassault’s cloud, but augmented with Amazon elasticity in the back end.” In other words, if more computing capacity is necessary, Dassault will tap into Amazon cloud to deliver scalability.
Charles didn’t get into the details about how the change might affect licensing, but he suggests no hiccups should be expected. “We already have lots of customers in rental mode on DS software. We never left that model. That’s what makes up 70% of our revenues today—recurring revenues,” he said.
Charles sees the app-driven, cloud-hosted setup as the foundation for the new crop of engineers who grow up in the World of Warcraft and iPhone app store. “Everything we have today are becoming a collection of applications,” he declared. Consequently, he envisioned that purchasing software—Dassault’s solutions included—should be “like going on the app store and provisioning apps.”
Charles revealed that lighthouse customers are already using 3DEXPERIENCE solutions—an entire portfolio delivered in the cloud as a series of apps: CATIA apps, DELMIA apps, SIMULIA apps. It would be up to Dassault to ensure that the software’s performance is consistent, whether the customer is accessing the product from Singapore, China, or California.
Dassault’s move is similar to the app-driven strategy PTC began pursuing a few years ago, marked by the switch to PTC Creo brand. The adoption of Apple’s piecemeal sales model among enterprise software vendors that historically relied on hefty maintenance fees and upfront costs is the sign of the times. Part of the 3DEXPERIENCE Dassault plans to deliver must be the low-commitment, low-cost, low maintenance, use-it-when-you-need-it experience smartphones give us daily.
For more from the show floor, watch the video report below: