Aras Partners With Autodesk To Offer PLM

Today Aras, the provider of enterprise open source PLM software solutions, announced its entry into the Autodesk partner program. According to the press release:

The partnership will allow Aras to seamlessly connect the Aras Innovator suite with Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, Vault and Publisher enabling customers to achieve faster time to market, better product quality and greater profitability.

In December 2010 I had the chance to sit down with Autodesk’s CEO Carl Bass and ask him some questions about PLM:

Deelip: What exactly is your problem with PLM?

Carl: (Laughs) I don’t have a problem with PLM. I still stand by the comments I made around five years ago wherein I said that PLM was a technology in search of a problem. I think that’s changed. I think people have had a more pragmatic approach to PLM. You can now find working implementations of PLM systems. I think one of the problems with PLM when used in the press is that it is not a very clear term. People mean different things.

Its become increasingly clear from recent CAD system switches of large OEM’s that PLM largely dictates which CAD system is used in a company. I believe Autodesk understands this and has realized that it cannot afford to ignore PLM anymore, irrespective of what it thinks about the three letter acronym. PLM that has been understood and accepted by the industry and there is really no point fighting it anymore.

  • Hi Deelip,
    What do you think the best strategy is for Autodesk? Selecting one PLM Editor that does not come with a CAD system already? or Build a real layer of abstraction to help any PLM system to easily manage CAD data? By the way I think that instead of saying CAD – PDM – PLM we should use CDM for Cad Data Management that’s what the layer of abstraction would be.- Option 1: they would have to have a strong one to one relationship with Aras by expecting Aras customer to switch their CAD system to Autocad, which I don’t think this is what’s going on.- Option 2: They would allow for their customer a real selection between PLM solutions.My suggestion to Autodesk, build your own layer of abstraction, stop adding complexity to your APIs (I use them i know how it is). And sell this layer as a service (i’m not talking about cloud or do i?) to the PLM integrators. From that point, demonstrate that any Change management module in a PLM can affect CAD models easily because of the ease of use of your layer (which could be somehow the Autodesk Vault but not for end-users) and you’ll rock !Not sure it was so clear but that’s what’s on my mind !YoannAras Partner and part of the Autodesk Developpper’s Network !

    • Exclusive partnerships are not always the best way to do things.

      • I totally agree! And I think Option 2 is the best. Work on a powerful abstraction layer that helps any PLM editor to manage CADs. This would help having a real competition in PLM independant from CAD.


  • chad

    If your an Autodesk product user you should be very afraid of this.  If you have a current PDM solution with Autodesk get ready for a replacement.  This is silly ARAS is already a partner with Autodesk not to mention several other CAD vendors (  I was interested in ARAS because it was very neutral about it’s CAD platform but it looks like I will have to re-evaluate the direction it’s going in.

  • Hey all, seems like some misunderstanding about the announcement. Am with Aras and thought would be good to clarify based on points in the discussion.

    First, Aras is still a CAD neutral PLM platform & solution suite.  It’s for multi-CAD environments and there are CAD connectors for all the major CAD / EDA systems. In addition to Inventor and AutoCAD, there’s CATIA, NX, Creo/ProE, SolidWorks, Solid Edge and EDA includes Altium, Allegro, OrCAD, DxDesigner/DxDatabook, PADS, the Zuken products and more. Joining the Autodesk partner program won’t change this at all.

    Second, and probably more importantly, even if you have an existing PDM/PLM system you can still use Aras in conjunction with it.
    If you want to replace an old / outdated PDM system… you can absolutely do that, but you don’t have to… we think ‘best of breed’ is the way to go.

    Because under the covers Aras is a modern Web-based framework you can use exactly/just what you need and connect directly to your existing legacy system(s).

    For example if you have CAD file mgt w/ Teamcenter or Windchill, but don’t want to use it for Enterprise Change Mgt… you can use Aras just for Enterprise Change connected directly to your existing PDM… or just for New Product Dev & Introduction (NPDI), or just for supplier management, just for quality compliance, etc, etc, etc.

    And because there are no PLM user licenses with Aras, you don’t have to buy a bunch of modules that you really don’t need… can complement your existing systems and leverage your previous investment.

    The same is true for Autodesk Vault. If you’ve got it, keep it, connect directly to it, extend it to address complex PLM processes enterprise-wide. 

    The whole point of our joining the ADSK partner program is to add to our deep integrations so that Autodesk users have a seamless experience with what they already have and want to keep.

    Can find out more about our PLM solutions and the technology at and of course you can download the software as well (it’s not a trial and there’s no timeout – it’s production ready).  If you know what you’re doing, can install in less than an hour and be loading users and data by lunchtime.

    Hope this helps.


    (Posted on behalf of Mark by Deelip due to problems with Disqus)