Aras Innovator as an Application Development Platform

Breaking away from the artificial constraints of PLM

Let’s cut to the chase.  Why have the likes of Airbus, GM, Microsoft and others leveraged Aras Innovator to displace traditional PLM solutions?  Simply stated, they have discovered that Aras Innovator is more than just PLM.  It’s an application development platform that also does PLM.  They have embraced a fundamental shift that is being heralded and delivered-on by Aras. 

For years, traditional PLM software vendors have told organizations what PLM is supposed to be.  PLM has become synonymous with expressions such as “big”, “monolithic”, “expensive” and “time consuming.”  Based on antidotal “water cooler conversations” with end users, an observer might get the impression that these vendors have created a self-serving model. If these vendors where music groups, their fan base would be hard pressed to fill a coffee shop.

Lessons Learned

Without a doubt, core functionality such as managing parts, BOMs, content and media, change, requirements, etc. are crucial.  But after nearly two decades, we have enough “lessons learned” to parse out the net-net.  That is … without a platform that is well architected, flexibility, scalable and “upgradable”, organizations will continue to achieve underwhelming results. 

vdR has rarely met an organization that wants just parts, BOM and content management.  These capabilities are important … but represent building blocks to help achieve broader solutions.  Organizations want solutions that help drive revenues, reduce their cost of goods and/or create operational efficiencies.  This demands extended functionality to support the quoting phase for build/engineer-to-orders businesses, bridging requirements management with quality, shop floor assembly activities that are tied to CAPA, or the automated creation of customer facing data sheets to a website following a change order approval.

Pareto Principle Poster Child

Aras Innovator is the poster child of the “Pareto principle.” It gives you 80% of what you need out of the box.  This includes all the key application development capabilities to support security, data structures and connectivity, complex workflow processes and visibility tools.  It’s done!  Stop wasting time “rolling your own.”  Focus on pursuing solutions and avoid getting mired in tackling application basics. 

Liberation from the Shackles of Tradition

Ironically, just before this blog was posted, CIMdata announced “Aras Named PLM Mindshare Leader.”  A quote in the press release stated, “Aras’ disruptive business model, backed by impressive results with large companies such as Airbus and GM, has caused the industry to sit up and take notice.”  As the leading PLM analyst group around, this is adds to our excitement about the platform.

Aras Innovator has come along as a timely mold-breaker.  Think “application development platform” with functionality that happens to also include PLM.  It’s a liberating paradigm and one that can drive significant business value.