Silos Changing: 3D Experiences from Dassault Systèmes

Posted on 9 Aug 2012 by The Manufacturer

This week, Mike Evans, Cambashi’s research director, discusses software supplier Dassault Systèmes' introduction of 3D Experiences which extend their solutions well beyond their PLM heritage.

Experts at industry analyst and market consulting firm Cambashi contribute a regular blog for TM titled Silos Changing exploring how new software applications enable manufacturers to implement business initiatives for the new economy.

At their recent analyst conference in Paris, Dassault Systèmes explained the company’s rebranding and repositioning.

Dassault Systèmes now wants to be regarded as a business transformation company.

Their offer addresses manufacturers’ need to improve efficiency and effectiveness across end to end processes spanning an industry network. A series of acquisitions and developments mean that Dassault Systèmes now has four sets of application capabilities: 3D modelling; Content and Simulation; Information Intelligence and Social and Collaborative. 

Dassault Systèmes explains “3D Experiences” as industry specific solutions that draw on several of these capabilities to enable a manufacturer to transform their business in a particular way. The idea of the business transformation is to add customer value in the industry network.

For example, in Aerospace, to minimise aircraft-on-ground time leading to more revenue and profit for the industry network.  In this case, ii for Spare Parts, using Exalead’s taxonomic search engine, does not replace existing Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) applications.  Rather it complements these.  It allows finding relevant part data by shape; or by part number; or description that is not an exact match; across the complete industry network and in application scope wider than MRO.

A considerable part of Dassault Systèmes capabilities will remain in 3D modelling; and content and simulation applications. However, they may well be deployed in different ways. 

Another Aerospace 3D Experience would capture passengers’ experiences with both existing and future aircraft with virtual mock ups with new concepts. This connection from “idea to end customer” would help plane operators and makers understand which concepts passengers value and will be profitable.

Even in this example, Dassault Systèmes other application capabilities come into play. Social media applications would be used to build a community of frequent travellers and to mine their feedback to the mock up concepts.

So, Dassault Systèmes 3D Experiences are likely, in the medium term, to add new industries and new users in different departments to their customer base. The aircraft mock up 3D experience will appeal to Airlines as well as Aerospace manufacturers.

While Dassault Systèmes 3D Experiences may well stimulate manufacturers to introduce transforming business initiatives, these are unlikely to be “out-the-box” deployments.  There will inevitably be professional services effort both to integrate the 3D Experiences to existing legacy enterprise applications and to assist with change management.  For many of these 3D Experiences this will mean tackling users where Dassault Systèmes have no existing relationships and some may well be in the wider industry network rather than the buyer enterprise.

Dassault Systèmes are a software provider rather than a systems integrator. Historically they relied on IBM to perform that role.  While they will no doubt add capacity it seems much more likely that deploying 3D Experiences will be a team effort between Dassault Systèmes; the enterprise transforming its business; and a third party systems integrator with existing knowledge of the industry network and departments affected.  Perhaps they will be able to reawaken the flame of affection at IBM!

To enable 3D Experiences, Dassault Systèmes has introduced a new V6 range of applications. There is a cost of change for existing customers. In the past, manufacturers have been reluctant to upgrade. As well as the expense, it can cause issues exchanging data with the supply chain.

While Dassault Systèmes have taken steps to mitigate these costs and risks, we suspect it will be the prospect of 3D Experiences that transform their business that persuades manufacturers to bite the upgrade bullet.

In future blogs, we will go on to write about other potential deployments that respond to these business initiatives to address consumer and business demand in the new economy.