Dassault Systèmes (3DS) held its annual industry analyst event last week and demonstrated real progress in understanding its 3DEXPERIENCE Platform strategy.
Not only was the message as consistent as ever across the disparate parts of 3DS, but the actual implementation of the platform was demonstrated in a number of cases. In recent years, it has targeted twelve industries and defined 3DEXPERIENCES at a detailed level and important roles for each industry.
A primary focus of the corporate strategy is to use the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to increase the total addressable market (TAM) for software and service sales. The TAM for software sold by 3DS has gone from $10B in 2012 to $25B today. There are still technological, and industry gaps in the overall offering by 3DS and they will continue to fill gaps by targeted acquisitions where appropriate; around 10 in 2016. The expanded portfolio, broader industry coverage, and most importantly, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform gives 3DS the opportunity to increase deal sizes substantially.
3DS say they reported an acceptable rather than spectacular financial year in 2016, generating reasonable revenue growth and margins. Dassault Systèmes identified 2016 as a transition year where it made several strategic changes. The long-term strategy remains in place, and Dassault was bullish about future growth in several areas, particularly around the hundreds of thousands of customers who still use legacy systems.
Therein lies an important new initiative, POWER’BY, that brings access to the platform to legacy systems, hence an ever-increasing set of applications. This includes CATIA, SOLIDWORKS (3DS professional level CAD offering) and, in 2019 and beyond, there will be major offerings from competitors. With POWER’BY, other model-based systems can access the native 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The model is being extended to include functionality such as system engineering, engineering simulation, high-quality rendering, manufacturing operations, supply chain, with the opportunity to expand further in the future.
Industry and Brand Examples
The event, aside from making it enjoyable for the analysts, also brought many new solutions, tools, and ideas to the forefront. We will write more extensively about these in coming months, but here are a few highlights for now:
• The DELMIA manufacturing operations brand has shown rapid success in integrating acquisitions and moving onto the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. ORTEMS and Quintiq, the supply chain solutions now go all the way from long term strategic planning to on-the-fly plant scheduling. These, and Apriso, the primary MES solution, run on the platform and use 3DEXPERIENCE models.
• The DELMIA MOM solution, DELMIA Apriso, goes from strength to strength with a strong emphasis on multi-site rollouts via 3DS’ Center of Excellence model of managing solutions across disparate plants in an enterprise. 3DS has continued with its emphasis on managing Bills of Material from original engineering BOM, to detailed manufacturing BOM on the platform; thus negating the need to go up and down from ERP to handle manufacturing data. DELMIA continues to demonstrate how MOM solutions can increase their value from planning through manufacturing to logistics and warehousing; covering functionality that clearly overlaps with business systems.
• 3DS has launched a Cloud marketplace for 3D printing. Marketplace creates an experience wherein users can publish a 3DPart, select potential 3D printing suppliers, and negotiate a contract and delivery. The marketplace has registered suppliers that have filled out a questionnaire on their capabilities. This is interesting, not just because it is 3D printing but because it demonstrates how 3DS is using the platform to extend the experience beyond the plant and enterprise.
• Industries drive mostly product definition but, recognizing that there are major commonalities, they have defined a new cross-industry group to ensure that new ideas are shared across industries where benefits can be achieved.
• Dassault Systèmes has made substantial strides in its model-based system engineering capabilities in the past year. It now provides a fully integrated system engineering model on its common platform. This was featured in several industry discussions, most notably in the Transportation industries. Dassault demonstrated continued growth in transportation. It relayed successes in transition customers to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, as well as success with many electric vehicle startups in China, and, of course, Tesla.
• Dassault Systèmes showcased its leadership in developing full equipment engineering laboratories, called the 3DEXPERIENCE Center. It co-invested in a lab with the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), part of the University of Wichita (WSU). It provided a cutting-edge development experience combining system engineering, 3D CAD, PLM, simulation, and other solutions on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Also, it connected to a wide array of 3D Printing technologies and supported by an infrastructure that includes a sizable wind tunnel. A team of Dassault Systèmes and WSU experts, including WSU graduate students, used these resources to develop a fully autonomous 13’ wingspan UAV with electric VTOL, a gas pusher prop, and multiple configurations.
The project was developed and tested virtually, followed by physical validation, and developed over the 12 months the Center was under construction. The FAA certified UAS is in testing in preparation for its first flight. With a fully operational lab in place that includes additive and subtractive technology, reverse engineering, and an immersive flex cave, Dassault Systèmes will use its business platform and software technology to create a drone virtually. This allows them to remove time lags and mistakes, and implement advanced product development methods and processes order to prove that concept to launch of similar projects can be achieved in 90 days. Dassault Systèmes has aggressive plans to expand this laboratory concept globally.
• There were also highlights from Life Sciences and Science in the Age of Experience. One standout was the ability to simulate materials at different scales (so called multi-scale simulations) using a Multiphysics approach. Several key acquisitions, including Accelrys, allow Dassault Systèmes to simulate materials both at the electromechanical part and system level as well as at the atom/molecule/meso level. While there is still work needed to connect these two realms, Dassault Systemes sees this as an area that allows designs to extend from the system level to custom materials, resulting in improvements of products’ performance (e.g. in weight and strength).
• Another standout in Life Sciences was that QUMAS, Dassault’s Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS), will be connected to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform shortly via POWER’BY. This is an important step toward broader integration, as it enables quality to be included in unified search and shared authentication. Later in the year, there will be connections to unified dashboards.
• Finally, Dassault demonstrated some marketing magic, using highly realistic rendering paired with 3D Design, configuration control, and simulation to provide new offerings. From a marketing perspective, this included virtual showrooms and point of sale configurators as well as lifelike advertising based on virtual models. This also applied to virtual testing, as demonstrated by a lifelike simulated passenger vehicle crash test.
The 2nd-day event demonstrated innovation, growth, and maturity. Dassault Systèmes has a robust long-term vision that it is clearly executing against aggressively. This vision both increases the technical capabilities and content, but also leverages new solutions, and positions Dassault Systèmes for wider use beyond engineering both internally as well as in the consumer market.
Of course, there are always more advances to be made, and one area that seems to need more focus is quality. While the QUMAS quality management solution will be connected to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform via POWER’BY technology soon, more work is needed to truly weave quality into the digital thread, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, and the model-based development. This includes connection of quality and product safety with the system engineering capabilities, connection of quality management throughout R&D, and more robust bridging of quality with operations during design transfer to manufacturing and service. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform could be an excellent mechanism to foster a culture of quality and safety through shared processes, data, and competencies, but work is needed to realize this.
There are also many specific needs in the market, and sometimes companies need to respond tactically to these needs. Some enterprise companies may want the full breadth of 3DEXPERIENCE, but Dassault Systèmes might be well-suited to communicate a journey for those that have immediate concerns but are also interested in the longer-term vision, FIXING.