For the first time in years I’m not at SolidWorks World, happening right now in Dallas, TX. Too much travel, too many time zones — it just didn’t fit. So I’ve been following from afar, on Dassault Systèmes’ live broadcasts here. (I’m having trouble with the recorded sessions but don’t doubt that DS will get that sorted out in time. Fixed! Try it again if you couldn’t get some sessions to play.)
It’s fun to watch, from the comfort of my laptop, the SolidWorks World diehards rush to their front-row seats at the start of the first general session. The attendees are so excited, taking selfies and videos of themselves, the stage, the gathering crowd — I’m sorry to miss that energy and enthusiasm.
Likely the biggest news out of the event was 3DExperience.Works, a branding and technology exercise that aims to provide SolidWorks users (and channel partners) with easy access to some of DS’ other solutions. It will be a single platform centered on SolidWorks that connects data and processes from requirements management and conceptual design to after-sales. How, exactly, this will work, I don’t yet know —if you (today) enter 3DExperience.Works into your browser, you land at https://www.solidworks.com/ — but DS said it will include at least four apps: plan, design, simulate, and manufacture. More specifically/in addition, SolidWorks CEO Gian Carlo Bassi mentioned multi-physics simulation, the marketplaces that were announced last year and xShape (the CGM-based, browser-based organic shape design tool due later this year).
My mental image of 3DExperience.Works, as Mr. Bassi was describing it: a desktop with those four icons (as in the cover photo): plan, design, simulate, manufacture. Clicking on “design” likely will lead you to SolidWorks, “simulate” to SolidWorks Simulation, and so on. As the platform evolves, more choices might appear under each of those four icons and perhaps, more icons will appear on the home page. But the point is as much about the underpinnings as the front end: if it works like its 3DEXPERIENCE sibling, 3DExperience.Works should provide access to the correct data in context for design, analysis, manufacturing and other tasks.
IQMS, the ERP/MES acquisition made late last year, is now DelmiaWorks. According to DS CEO Bernard Charlès, “DelmiaWorks will serve mainstream manufacturers by providing a full digital thread for business operations [as part of an] integrated offering spanning manufacturing and management that are simple, affordable and easy to implement.” That last bit, about simple, affordable and easy to implement, is incredibly important. I did a quick, small poll of SMB companies when DS announced the acquisition and discovered that most didn’t use an ERP. Those that did, were unhappy with its cost and clunkiness when applied to their smaller business. Not all SolidWorks customers will implement DelmiaWorks, but only if it stays simple, affordable and easy will any even consider it.
I also noticed that there were a lot of new DS faces on stage at the event, perhaps easing us all into coming changes. A biggie: this is the last-ever SolidWorks World — from now on, it’ll be 3DExperience World, debuting next February in Nashville, TN. It makes sense: this event has been about much more than SolidWorks for years. But I can see a market developing for SolidWorks World-branded merchandise among the diehards …
But here’s the thing. Even those diehards have recognized that there’s more in the world than SolidWorks or CAD or CAM. DS could cram ever more into that one product or, as it has done, it could build/buy surrounding technologies and work on the processes and connections that make up today’s workflows. Calling it 3DExperience.Works acknowledges both SolidWorks and the contributions of the 3DExperience platform (cloud, simulation, ENOVIA, DELMIA, etc.) while moving everything forward. The integration of SolidWorks and ENOVIA (the DS PLM brand) has been around for a while. The one between SolidWorks and SIMULIA is feeling its way as many SW users aren’t SIMULIA’s typical power users. Why does this matter? DS is sensitive to the fact that not every SolidWorks user needs the full 3DEXPERIENCE — but many will benefit by using carefully curated elements.
What do you think about 3DExperience.Works? A value-add to your existing SolidWorks toolkit? A distraction? Wait-and-see? Tell us below!