Posts Tagged ‘Aras’

PLM Solutions, Openness and the Aras Business Model

September 12, 2012

MarcL: Aside from the Aras technology, maybe you can explain a bit more about the Aras business model and the Aras solution suite?

Peter Schroer:

Peter Schroer Aras CEO

Peter Schroer, Aras CEO & Founder

In 2007, Aras took a unique position in the PLM market by adopting an open source business model.   What we’re doing is bringing a Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) business format to the PLM market: get rid of the license costs and just offer enterprise subscriptions. It’s a big advantage for your company for a number of reasons:

Subscription-only gets rid of the big up-front PLM license cost (capex),

It reduces your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) which means you get a greater ROI and achieve it faster, and

It’s a more balanced relationship where you’re not forced to take on disproportionate risk before you even start implementing.

How we make money

Aras distributes its software without license fees, and earns revenues from optional subscription packages that are similar to the maintenance contracts required by other enterprise software products except with significantly more benefits such as free upgrade services no matter how much you customize – I don’t know any other enterprise software companies that are doing this… it’s a major benefit for customers and commitment on our part.

The Aras subscription gets rid of PLM user and module license fees reducing the risk of acquiring an enterprise PLM system,       and it provides us/Aras with a profitable recurring revenue model.

What we provide OOTB

We have developed a number of solutions ourselves which are included in the initial download of Aras Innovator. These make up our out-of-the-box PLM solution suite.   Our OOTB solutions are similar in scope, scale and depth to the OOTB solutions that come with a Windchill or MatrixOne.  However, our PLM solutions are aligned tightly with industry standards such as ISO, PMI, and CMII. If these standards fit your company’s way of doing business, then the Aras is an “install this morning and start using this afternoon” PLM system.

How we offer more

The corporate community of companies that run Aras, users and partners, what we call the Aras community, has also developed dozens of other solutions on the same Aras Innovator platform framework, and your company is able to take advantage of these solutions for new PLM innovations, best practices and value added enhancements. These are available on the Aras project site if they are open source or from an Aras ISV partner if they are commercial solutions (meaning apps you have to pay for).

Why this all matters to you

The purpose of the Aras project site is to provide an online area where user-driven innovation can occur. We are creating an environment where companies like yours can post ideas, share best practices and take action to transform your business.

We are encouraging secure, self-sufficient collaborative development on PLM solutions because we believe that the next generation of innovation in PLM will come from people like you at the millions of companies around the world that use PLM software every day.

We also believe that your corporate processes are unique and changing constantly thru continuous improvement. And it’s those special practices that make your company competitive. Your company has to be in control of your own destiny and that’s what we are offering.

At the end of the day, what we’re doing is providing your business with a whole series of OOTB PLM solutions on an advanced PLM platform and we use a subscription-only format that’s more cost effective. And we’ve made it highly scalable, flexible and extensible so your company can innovate for new advantages over your competition… we think that just makes sense. In fact, we believe it’s a fundamental necessity and the future of global business.

For more info on this see Open PLM – The Future of Enterprise Product Lifecycle Management (free logon needed) and here’s some more about our commitment to an open business model and how Aras is Different or these videos from my presentation at the Aras ACE International conference.

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PLM Solution Tailoring and Customization by End Users in Aras

May 29, 2012

MarcL: PLM solution should support tailoring, configuring and customizing by approved users for specific forms and workflows. Any changes to standard objects should be capable of being monitored and audit trails maintained with notification of changes to designated personnel.

Peter Schroer:

In Aras Innovator’s Model-based engine, access to modify the model (data dictionary, meta-data, etc) is controlled by the same authentication and access control rights as the end-user permissions.

The Aras Innovator PLM platform uses its own security model, to control its customization and administration.

Your company can choose which components of the “Model” (i.e. your company’s PLM solutions) to allow certain groups/departments of users to edit and maintain.

IT or app dev can maintain the entire PLM system or you can choose to delegate portions out to certain end users while keeping control over other parts of the system.

Delegation of the administration for Form Layouts, Workflow Processes, Project Templates, Lifecycle States and other business items are commonly moved out of IT to the power users that are process owners or functional managers with responsibility for process definition.

While responsibility for integrations and more complex system functions is kept under IT’s control.

This division of labor makes administration of a large deployment scope more manageable and creates local “ownership” by end users which encourages adoption and simplifies IT’s help desk duties as well.

Monitoring or oversight of changes made and audit trails is standard Aras Innovator functionality.

All changes made by end users are supportable and upgradable without impacting the customizations.

We provide training for you and your end users on how to tailor, configure and customize Aras Innovator, and you Do Not need to be a programmer or in IT to learn how to do it.

For additional information see ‘Making PLM Forms Look Exactly Like Existing Paper or Legacy Forms with Aras’ and ‘Lifecycle, Workflow and Other Types of Process Management in Aras’.

Version & Revision Release Levels in Aras

April 17, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions must provide support for user-defined multiple release and revision levels, and should be able to assign default release levels based on object types or other attributes, as well as, be able to reset release levels for specific items at check-in by users with appropriate assigned authority.

Peter Schroer:

The out-of-the-box Aras Innovator data model has 3 levels of versioning control on all business items (Major, Minor, and Generation).

Your company can use the three levels to implement just Revisions, or      Revisions + Versions, or    Versions + Revisions + Baselines,    etc.

The exact terminology belongs to you / your company, and you can make it whatever you need. The underlying platform handles the 3 revision levels, and you can use the OOTB setup or configure them however you need.

Our out-of-the-box installation implements the standard CMII processes as defined by the Institute of Configuration Management.

Out-of-the-box Aras supports the ability to assign default release levels based on object types or other attributes as well as the ability to reset release levels for specific items at check-in, and this is easily extended or modified over time as needed.

Each ItemType is linked to a defined Revision sequence (and these can be different for different ItemTypes),  and the standard methodology would be to use the Lifecycle engine to trigger revision changes.  This behavior is driven by CMII standards in the OOTB Aras solutions, and can be easily tailored as needed or applied to add-on solutions or custom solutions that your company develops.

You can quickly enable special scenarios for manual revision changes, over-rides, executive decisions, and other behaviors which occur in the real world – or any combination of these.

Learning how to configure the revisioning rules is covered in the Aras introductory class “Configuring Solutions”, and we provide training on how to customize Aras Innovator for self-sufficient operation to satisfy your company’s on-going requirements.

Aras, the company

February 24, 2012

MarcL: People ask all the time, “How can Aras be successful up against such large PLM competitors?”  Maybe you can provide some background on Aras the company?

Peter Schroer:

aras corp

the "A" is for Attitude

I have been in PLM my entire career as an end user, manager, architecture and executive, and I started Aras with a singular focus – to provide the best PLM system for complex processes.

I incorporated Aras Corporation in March 2000, and chose the Boston area because of its PLM talent base and history.

I wanted to be able to hire the best and brightest in the industry and I knew that this was the place to be to attract leading PLM/PDM technologists and execs.

Today, our global headquarters is in Andover Mass (north of Boston) and we have people from across the industry including ComputerVision, Eigner+Partner, MatrixOne (now part of Dassault), Oracle-Agile, PTC, Siemens PLM Software (UGS-Unigraphics-SDRC), Workgroup Solutions and others.

We tend to hire experienced people, people with over 10 years in the PLM/PDM industry and prior experience managing PLM-related processes at an ‘end-user’ company.    And we pay special attention to attitude.       In fact, I like to say that the “A” is for Attitude.

We run a demanding, high-energy environment.   It’s not for everyone.   But for people that want to be challenged, that want to really innovate and get things done, I think we’ve created a great place to work, grow, develop and succeed.

A lot of people at Aras have families with kids, including me, and we’ve put in place a lot of flexibility to accommodate that work-life balance which I think is important.

From our beginning over a decade ago, I have insisted on a Customer First philosophy built on honesty, integrity and trust. I believe there are a lot of places where those values are sorely lacking.  Aras is not one of them.

We strive to build lasting, long-term relationships with our customers, partners and each other.  I want Aras to be the easiest company in PLM to do business with and the most fair.    We apply a professional management approach to the business, yet we retain our sense of purpose, passion and attitude in everything we do.

We have offices and partnerships around the world and we’re now more than 10 years into it.   We are building Aras to scale.    Its a Delaware C corp with GAAP accounting that’s funded by institutional pe/venture and individual investors.

We take a process-oriented perspective and work hard to systematize all aspects of our global operations     and we use our own software to run the company.  We call it myInnovator, it’s our own installation of Aras Innovator.  More on that in another post.

Every Company’s Processes are Complex, Different and Constantly Changing. (PERIOD)

February 23, 2012
 
MarcL: Can you share a little about the founding vision for Aras, the technology and reasons behind this very different technical approach?

Peter Schroer:

plm-rate-or-change

Success = Ability to Adapt

The founding vision of Aras is that every company has unique and complex data & process models, and that software should be adapted to fit those models, rather than the business compromised to fit the software.

We also firmly believe that healthy companies change, in fact they should be changing frequently to grow, compete and improve.

They are constantly adapting to new market conditions, customer demands, competitive pressures, new technologies, etc.

Aras has invested heavily in a technology architecture that supports real-time customization, using tools and techniques that customers, including the non-IT staff (with permissions of course), can easily use.

Aras has a single platform, the Aras Innovator enterprise application framework.       This framework is a model-based service-oriented architecture (SOA) that is a modern Internet environment with no legacy code.

Our entire framework is n-tier web-based client-server made of 100% web services.  “Model-based” is our own proprietary innovation that uses a real-time modeling engine to define and execute highly scalable, robust enterprise business applications such as PLM.

The key advantage of the Aras Innovator modeling engine is that all complex business application data models and process models are defined in a graphical drag-and-drop user interface, and model changes are processed in real-time.

Aras Innovator is designed from the ground-up to be changed, and any and all changes are supportable and upgradable to future versions of the framework.

This is what I needed when I was at Thermo Electron and Data General, and it’s what the companies I’ve worked with over my career always wished was possible     so, I started Aras and we did it.

PLM alpha

February 22, 2012
A few weeks ago Oleg Shilovitsky from Beyond PLM met with Peter Schroer, Aras president & founder (and chief architect) for a deep dive on our technology — PLM Architecture Discussion with Peter Schroer of Aras.
peter schroer aras plm

Peter Schroer, Aras

A few hours of tech talk and white boarding is always helpful, but rarely enough to surface the true details that have a profound impact on a technology’s capabilities. So, I promised to figure out a way to get more details out to people who care.

This blog is intended to provide information on the underlying PLM platform, modeling technology and other technical info about Aras Innovator.

Image from Beyond PLM


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