Posts Tagged ‘Architecture’

Complex PLM Structure Multi-Views in Aras

October 18, 2012

MarcL: Multiple views of structure are the holy grail of PLM. Companies want alternate views to PLM data (e.g. functional view in the early concept and feasibility phase, engineering/design view, production views, purchasing view, service view, and others). Everyone thinks PLM systems should be able to provide multiple integrated views of the structure, but few if any have achieved this capability effectively. People want to be able to compare, display, and/or report the differences between various views of a single or multiple structures and between versions of a structure or structures.

Peter Schroer:

In my experience when you get to the detail level of what people actually want to see in structure multi-view requirements it is unique for each company.  That’s why it’s difficult to predefine the “right” set of views and why so many PLM companies have struggled trying to do this.

At Aras we recognized this and therefore have approached structure multi-views from a modeling perspective. The Aras modeling engine supports the creation of multiple views of structure including BOMs, requirements, manufacturing process, suppliers, quality, etc.

For example, there’s a multi-view of Manufacturing process structures (routing view, quality inspection & test view, risk analysis view) in the Aras solution for Quality Planning.  The views are integrated at the data model level, but different users view the structure via different tabs on the forms.  Any process steps changed in one view, are automatically synchronized with all other views because they are all pulling data from the same source.

Any structure in Aras can be modeled as multiple different views. These views can be displayed, compared and reported as well. When structure views are modeled they flow thru the security model so they are restricted by the data access controls.

If a new material or part is confidential IP and a specific user is not allowed to see it, then the view will automatically restrict this item from that user’s view, but allow them to see a placeholder block so they know there’s something there.    Views are not separate copies of the structure, they are filters of the existing data which prevents synchronization and reconciliation issues.

As with all solution customizations in the Aras modeling environment, we assure that your customizations will work in all future releases of Aras Innovator, and we back this up by doing the upgrades for you when you’re on subscription (upgrade services included no matter how much you customize).

We provide training on how to use, administer and customize Aras Innovator’s structure management capabilities, items and views, as well as, security permissions, classification capabilities and more to achieve self-sufficiency.

For additional information see ‘Structure Management for Complex Products in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Product Structure’ and ‘Customize’.

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Federation with ERP, PDM, Legacy Systems and Cloud-based data using Aras

June 20, 2012

MarcL: PLM solution must be capable of integrating with the ERP system so that data is available in PLM such as material costing, inventory on-hand, etc. Please describe how this is possible.

Peter Schroer:

Aras Innovator includes a standard service called Federation. This Web service can be used for integrations with legacy applications (called Federations) that expose attributes from the legacy system, such as Cost attributes in SAP, with the materials data stored in PLM.

For the end-users, they will see a single form, with data in the correct context that has all the information they need to perform a task (or workflow or report) without knowing the actual data storage location of those data.

This data does not need to be view-only, but can be editable as well. It is managed by the same need-to-know security permissions in Aras so the users have access to only the data they are authorized to see, add, update, etc.

Secure Federation capabilities in Aras are not limited to on-premise systems, and can include Cloud-based data sets as well like component databases, compliance validation and other data sets of authority in the Cloud.

The flexibility of the Aras Innovator PLM system even allows federation configurations in which all Part, Material and BOM data are authored in ERP, and PLM is just a viewing portal.

However, most companies prefer to develop parts, materials, cost models and other product data within the PLM solution, and after workflow review & approval, drive this cost data to the ERP once it becomes “Released”.

The same type of system Federation can be performed with legacy PDM / PLM systems in use in your company as well. This can be useful if existing PDM systems are in place at various sites for CAD management, although more robust PLM capabilities are needed for complicated processes like NPDI, enterprise change, supply chain, quality or outsourced manufacturing.

The “right” configuration depends on your organization, business practices, and the level of complexity of your products and development process.

Aras architects and certified partners can help you evaluate your company’s requirements during the initial phase of your deployment and recommend a configuration that is optimized for your company’s specific competitive practices.

We provide training on how to do federated integrations with other systems like ERP as well as how to administer these capabilities.

For more info on these capabilities see ‘Integration and Federation in the Enterprise with Aras’ and ‘ERP, Item Masters and Data Attribute Federation Between ERP-PLM in Aras‘ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Integration’.

Integration and Federation in the Enterprise with Aras

June 19, 2012

MarcL: How is integration with other business systems in the enterprise supported? What tools are provided to accomplish this? Are any additional software packages / costs associated?

Peter Schroer:

Aras Innovator is a 100% pure Web services architecture.  All data and all processes are accessed at the Web services layer in Aras.

Many systems such as CAD applications and ERP systems have Out-of-the-Box packaged integration connectors available from 3rd parties that implement a direct point-to-point integration between Aras Innovator and the other system. For example, integration (in-session) from CATIA to Aras and Cadence Alegro to Aras.

Use of an integration bus such as Oracle Fusion or Netweaver is supported, as well as, custom point-to-point integrations with legacy applications using Web services.  You can interface to the Aras Innovator server directly using XML / SOAP, or you can create a WSDL (Web Services Description Language) for the specific business objects you want to interface with.

An important capability that should also be highlighted here is Federation.

One of the core services in the Aras Innovator platform is a Federation service.

With Federation, the administrator uses the Aras Innovator Solution Studio (our graphical drag-and-drop interface) to define the business objects and properties that are stored in a legacy application / database.

The Federated items are then linked to a .NET method to exchange data, this is normally Web services, but all .NET integration capabilities are available such as API binding, ODBC, flat file handling, etc.

At that point the remote data is treated like internal PLM data in Aras Innovator, and can be displayed in forms, used in workflows, added to versioned configurations, acted on / edited by any of the Aras functionality and can be controlled by the Aras Innovator security model.

With all these integration approaches you can add data transforms, business rules and other techniques to address complex scenarios.

We provide training on how to integrate and federate as well as administer these capabilities.

We’ve used a transparent data model with open industry standards and modern platform capabilities to make Aras Innovator the easiest enterprise PLM solution to integrate with. This is because PLM is never a stand-alone system in the enterprise.

For more info on these capabilities see ‘ERP, Item Masters and Data Attribute Federation Between ERP-PLM in Aras‘ and ‘BPM Workflow Serial & Parallel Paths and Modeling to Customize and Extend PLM in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Integration’.

Aras PLM Integration

Aras Innovator Integrates to Systems Across the Enterprise

Role-based Workflows, Classification and Security Permissions in Aras

June 8, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions should allow for the creation of workflows by specific roles (role-based workflow), so that individual users belonging to a specific role or group are guided through a workflow that is tailored for their process requirements.

Peter Schroer:

The entire Aras Innovator platform is a roles-based system including workflow processes.

All Workflow and Lifecycle assignments are made to Identities in the security model.

Identity is an Aras abstraction that resolves to either an individual person, all persons trained to perform a role, or all persons that are members of a group, where groups and roles are also hierarchical.

Classification can be used for different roles / groups by product line, product type, program project, plant, division, doc type or any other designation (or combination of) to guide BPM workflows.

Business rules can of course be based on other attributes for whatever complicated workflow scenario your business requires as well.

We provide training on how to set-up, administer and customize Aras Innovator’s workflows, lifecycles and classification structures as well as security permissions for identities, roles and groups.

For additional information see ‘BPM Workflow Voting, Conditional Process Steps and Dynamic Assignments in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.

BPM Workflow Library and Custom Workflows in Aras

June 7, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions should enable a library of workflows from which administrators and authorized users can select and apply workflows appropriate to the process, product, project or other requirement. This library should contain both process flow and business rules.

Peter Schroer:

The standard out-of-the-box Aras Innovator PLM solutions include this capability.

Workflow Maps is the Aras term for the library of processes that are maintained by the administrator or power users that have the appropriate permissions.

Your company will have dozens of Workflow Maps in the library.

You can easily modify, extend and integrate your Workflows using the graphical drag-and-drop editor in Aras Innovator’s Solutions Studio.

You can even create entirely new Workflows from scratch in minutes instead of months.   These can be for your global PLM environment or even non-PLM business processes.

We provide training on how to manage and customize Aras Innovator’s workflows.

For additional information see ‘Electronic Signatures, Workflows, Lifecycles and Security in Aras’ and ‘Change Process Definition, SOA Workflow Service and Integration in Aras‘ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.

Aras Workflow Process Map Library

Screenshot example of Workflow Map library in Aras and the initiation of a New Workflow (Create New)

BPM Workflows, Email Alerts and Custom Email Capabilities in Aras

June 6, 2012

MarcL: Triggers must be provided to send email messages and distribute defined packets of information at appropriate, defined events within change processes.

Peter Schroer:

At every Activity in a Workflow (and State in a Lifecycle, Deliverable in a Project, Action Item, etc.) the Aras modeling engine supports defined triggers (multiple events are available, for example for a Workflow, a trigger is fired upon Activity Assignment, upon Activity time-out, upon Activity Vote registration, etc).

In Aras Innovator the drag-and-drop Solution Studio user interface allows these events to be easily linked to email notifications (SMTP compliant, which works well with Microsoft Exchange as well as Lotus Notes and other email packages).

The email notifications are constructed of Layout Templates and Recipients.

The layout of the email messages will include content from the items that are being routed by the Workflow / Lifecycle and can include File attachments as well.

The emails can be plain text or rich, formatted HTML, HTML with XML or other options.

Emails can include secure URL links back to specific steps in Workflows, Project activities and other Items in PLM where the user must authenticate to gain access.

They can also include standard template text as well as dynamically generated content.

We provide training on how to customize and manage Aras Innovator’s workflows, emails and alerts as well as other related capabilities.

For additional information see ‘Electronic Signatures, Workflows, Lifecycles and Security in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.

BPM Workflow Voting, Conditional Process Steps and Dynamic Assignments in Aras

June 5, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions should support conditional process steps, time out, alternate approvers, delegate to, and majority rules voting and other sophisticated scenarios in the workflows.

Peter Schroer:

The Aras Workflow service is a full-featured enterprise class business process management (BPM) engine that is highly scalable and secure.

Alternates, delegates, pooled resources, dynamic assignments, voting schemes (linear, weighted, majority, veto), escalation upon timeout and other capabilities are all standard features in the Aras Innovator platform.

The default Out-of-the-Box processes that come with the downloaded version of Aras Innovator are the ISO, PMI and CMII standard processes.

Your PLM administrator has secure access to customize any of the out-of-the-box workflows or create all new BPM workflows without complex programming using the drag-and-drop Solution Studio.

For more info on these capabilities see ‘BPM Workflow Serial & Parallel Paths and Modeling to Customize and Extend PLM in Aras‘ and ‘Change Process Definition, SOA Workflow Service and Integration in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.

Using PLM Change Control Workflows to Manage the PLM System’s Own Definition in Aras

June 4, 2012

MarcL: The PLM solution should be able to have workflows managed by the system itself as objects that can be placed under change control and can be assigned versions.

Peter Schroer:

Aras Innovator’s Workflow Maps (e.g. Aras term for the business process definition) are Item Types (e.g. business object) in the PLM system.

As such they have permissions, versions, and can be controlled by their own change approval workflow.   In this way, the PLM is used to control its own internal system definition of processes.

This style of change management for the PLM system can also be applied to Forms, Lifecycles, business rules, etc.

NOTE:  while Aras can be used to control its own system/process definition,  and changes can be made in real-time by real-people,  this is not the recommended best practice after the system Go-Live to production.

At one point in the evolution of a PLM deployment the end-users are thrilled that PLM change requests (add a field, change the form, etc) are made in real-time as fast as they ask for the changes.

Later though, if the form layout continues to change in real-time when they are using the system,  the video arcade effect of the moving buttons will affect productivity.

The recommended best practice after Go-Live is to instantiate three instances of the PLM solution;  Development, Test, and Production.

All model changes made using the Solution Studio drag-and-drop design tools, can be exported as XML Packages, and easily moved between Aras Innovator instances (this is also how we synchronize federated networks of separate Aras Innovator instances).

Normal practice is to move multiple Packages from development to Test for integration testing, and then at defined intervals, move the tested Packages into the Production environment for rollout.

We provide training on how to tailor, customize and manage Aras Innovator’s workflows and business items.

For additional information see ‘PLM Solution Tailoring and Customization by End Users in Aras’ and ‘Electronic Signatures, Workflows, Lifecycles and Security in Aras’.

BPM Workflow Serial & Parallel Paths and Modeling to Customize and Extend PLM in Aras

May 31, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions should support custom workflow processes with the steps in the flow being sequential and / or parallel in the same process. There must be tools provided to support changes and customization of the processes as well.

Peter Schroer:

Aras PLM Software Simple DCO Workflow Process

Simple Out-of-the-Box DCO Workflow Process in Aras Innovator

The Aras Innovator platform a pure Web services architecture, where everything is a service.

It includes a Workflow service which is effectively a robust, general-purpose BPM (business process management) capability instead of a hard-coded engineering change workflow module like other PLM systems.

The Aras Workflow service supports multi-step processes, with combinations of serial and parallel activities, branching, looping, dynamically assigned roles based on business rules, and is inherently integrated with all of the other functionality in our PLM solutions.

XEROX Aras Custom PLM Software Global Change Process

XEROX’s Custom Global Change Workflow Process in Aras Innovator

The BPM capabilities are very robust and scalable.   A workflow process can be really simple, like start-action-end,         or very complex with multiple parallel paths, conditional business rules, weighted voting and integrations to SAP or other legacy systems.

In fact, Aras Innovator’s workflows can be used as part of the complete PLM suite or in a federated approach to provide only the new functionality needed on top of and integrated with existing systems.  In this way, you can modernize and add secure Web capabilities to older systems like PDMs, ERPs, etc.

Workflows can be customized and extended or you can create entirely new workflow processes from scratch by Modeling them in Aras Innovator’s browser-based graphical Solution Studio (e.g. without complex programming).

Aras PLM Software Solution Studio Workflow Customize

Example of Run-Time Workflow Modification using Solution Studio in a Dev Instance of Aras

You can customize the workflow’s process steps, change the schema, add business rules and make modifications    and you are doing it in Real-Time.

When you Save, the changes are instantly propagated and the next time an instance of the process is initiated it will include the changes.

Of course we strongly recommend the best practice of having separate environments for dev, test/staging and production. Moving customizations from instance to instance only takes a couple of minutes.

Aras is unique with the technology to allow real-time process and data model changes, because of our model-based architecture. 

You will be trained to use the integrated Solution Studio for drag-and-drop designing and modifying of workflow processes (similar UI to Visio, except it’s the actual running system).

For more info on these capabilities see ‘Change Process Definition, SOA Workflow Service and Integration in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’ or ‘Business Process‘.


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