Is 3DEXPERIENCE For Everyone?

After reading the comments to my last two posts on 3DEXPERIENCE I feel my readers think that it is nonsense. This is important because Dassault Systemes CEO Bernard Charles is spending boatloads of money building the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and giving rise to 3DEXPERIENCE universes. I remember him mention this during the press conference at the recently concluded Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM Europe held in Brussels, “We do this every ten years or so. This is as big as what we did with PLM in 1999. We are spending millions of dollars acquiring key technologies that will help to build our 3DEXPERIENCE platform.” He went on to add, “You should stop comparing us with our competitors. Nobody else is doing this.

So if I understand Bernard Charles correctly this is clearly the direction Dassault Systemes has charted for itself for the next decade or so. 3DEXPERIENCE does not appear to be a marketing buzzword for the next release of one of their many products. Apparently the company truly believes that there is something very real here.

But if people think 3DEXPERIENCE is nonsense then maybe they haven’t understood what it means or Dassault Systemes hasn’t explained it to them properly. However I don’t believe either is true. Here is part of a comment Aurelien Blaha from Dassault Systemes left on my blog post “What Exactly Is 3DEXPERIENCE?

Your summary of the idea of 3DEXPERIENCE (“tools and/or infrastructure to not just help people build better products, but also help the end users of these products have a great experience as they use the product”) is right to the point and yes, it’s that simple.

So if this is what 3DEXPERIENCE actually is and customers think its nonsense then we have a problem. Actually the problem is both for Dassault Systemes as well its customers. Dassault Systemes because they are building something that customers don’t feel they need and hence probably won’t use. Customers because they would prefer Dassault Systemes spend their money and resources doing something more useful to them.

One of the speeches at the 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM was by Joe Pine, author of the famous book “The Experience Economy“. Every attendee was given a copy of his book. I started reading it on my flight back home. It’s quite an interesting book and I truly get this whole concept that experiences are much larger and more important than just products. It definitely matters in a B2C market. What I’m trying to figure out is whether experiences are as important in the B2B scenario. I’m basically asking a very simple question: “Is 3DEXPERIENCE for everyone?

Let’s say a car manufacturer embraces the Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE platform in all its glory and gives customers the ability to customize their car using various pieces of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform along with augmented reality, virtual reality or whatever other form of reality exists today. That makes perfect sense. That particular car manufacturer will stand out from the competition by offering customers a 3D experience instead of a mere product. People will flock to buy their cars. Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE rules. Case closed.

But what about the company that manufactures the wheel bearings of that car. The poor chaps use good old SolidWorks and I’m not sure what kind of 3D experience they can offer their customer (the car manufacturer) who buys their products by the truck load. Do they roll out a red carpet for every forklift that picks up a box of bearings from the delivery truck and places them on a rack in the store? This is a B2B scenario. I’m not sure how 3DEXPERIENCE fits in here. I would really like someone to enlighten me.

The answer to my question “Is 3DEXPERIENCE for everyone?” is either yes or no. If it’s no then it probably explain why my readers think 3DEXPERIENCE is nonsense. It also means that Dassault Systemes is going to spend the next decade or so building a platform that a minority of their customers will use. The one’s probably selling to consumers directly as opposed to other businesses.

If the answer to my question is yes then the concept of 3DEXPERIENCE should apply to Dassault Systemes as well. I would like to know what the company has done to offer a better 3D experience to its own customers. I mean the users of its software products. Do SolidWorks resellers send a bouquet of roses along with a box of SolidWorks software? Do they personalize the DVD with the customer’s name on it? Do DraftSight users get a different experience from users of any other 2D CAD system? Today they go to a web site, click a download link, install the software and use it. How is that different from what everyone else does? I speak of SolidWorks and DraftSight because those are the Dassault Systemes brands I interact with. But I’m guessing you could ask the same questions for all other Dassault Systemes brands as well. Someone please tell me how has Dassault Systemes improved the 3D experience of their customers given that they claim to be “The 3DEXPERIENCE Company”.

On more than one occasion I have heard Dassault Systemes executives speak of a “virtual 3D store experience” where people can go buy items in a virtual online 3D store as if they were shopping in the real thing. Yet they own SolidWorks Merchandise Store is a boring bunch of static web pages with pictures and text on it just like any other web store on the internet.

Maybe Dassault Systemes should eat their own dog food first before dishing it out to their customers. Maybe they could start by converting their ordinary web sites into engaging 3D experiences.

If you are a Dassault Systemes customer I invite you to leave a comment explaining how the company is selling you experiences and not just products.

  • I don’t want to talk about Dasault, but more generally I like the greater focus companies are putting on the “experience”.

    In the past, the focus has been on the functionality with the only “experience” focus was maybe around ease-of-use. You certainly don’t want to lose sight of functionality but making products more enjoyable to work with seems like a good goal.

    The bad part is that I think “experience” is becoming yet another industry buzz word (like “social” and “cloud”). I think engineers and designers are very suspicious of buzz words.


    • Not to mention Dassault products, pretty much everything exempted SolidWorks, is the exact opposite of what they are preaching.

      Using something like CATIA is precisely the opposite of “experience” in that, it delivers a fair chunk of functionality but is quite a pain to learn to use. Not exactly the most pleasant “experience”.

      They need to – need to – need to work on their pricing model. High prices are one strategy, but economy of scale is a much better one. I suppose they have some of that going on with SolidWorks, but even SolidWorks ain’t exactly what I’d call cheap.


    other competitors are making CAD/CAM/CAE advances, dassault’s new strategy cant be compared to those, so its simple, they’re spending time and money elsewhere, perhaps expanding 3D to non-CAD related activities,like shopping, but frankly, I’d rather shop in 2D 🙂

  • Jason

    If their “planned” experience is anything like their website and 3DSWYM it will be slow and hard to use and exactly the opposite of what they claim to be shooting for.

    Do they actually use the site? It’s horrible. I love surfing the internet, but the Dassault SWYM site makes me want to punch my monitor, swear off technology, and become a Buddhist monk.

  • beyondplm

    I agree with Burhop. experiences becomes a buzzword. Unfortunately…

  • Neil

    By selling CAD as an experience they have reduced their own products to a commodity. Apparently the CAD world is so samey/mature/dull in their eyes that it needs to be pitched like airline advertising. Come experience Thailand or something. Trying to position themselves as The* 3d Experience corporation is misfiring because their customers don’t get it (social industry experience – what the hell is that?) and Autodesk are nullifying the distinction by also talking about experience. If you spend a lot of money on a campaign you then have to explain or justify and your competitors have already undermined or hitched their bandwagon to then you really have a really serious problem. As I have said before this is a marketing brainstorming session that has escaped and gone live…

  • R. Paul Waddington

    “Monicahad a very blunt message for all the Dassault Systemes customers in the audience. She told them that they should stop thinking of selling just products to their customers. But instead think about creating experiences around their products. She warned, “If you don’t then you will be commoditized.”

    It is with some amusement I watch and
    read what can only be judged as a load of cods-wallop and, while much money is squandered stating the obvious in a manner which leaves the target audience wondering “what on earth is that all about”.

    Branding and positioning is important to all companies but it pays to not to get carried away with your own importance in preference to the importance of your customers.

    Every transaction, dealing or act of supply from one company/person to another company/person is an
    “experience”. From the dawn of time it has been understood “a
    good” business/transaction/exchange experience is paid for and generates repeat business. Steel I might buy to make a product is of more importance than is the software used to document the product and process. Quite frankly if the management of Dassault, Autodesk and others business software vendors do not already know this then it would come as no surprise a person like Monica gets a gig.

    The issue facing CAD vendors is one of ego: it is one of management not wanting to be part of companies who
    are seen as ONLY reliable suppliers of tools to other industries – their customers – who are of more importance, to society, as a whole, than are the business software vendors. LOOK AT ME is what the 3DEXPERIENCE is about.

    Those of us who use design/business software products are very interested in having/using reliable cost effective business tools. The experience we are looking for goes little further than being very satisfied with our tool selection and the increased productivity and monetary returns their application (may) bring.

    Every day, at every level, businesses create “experiences
    around their products” and Dassault, Autodesk and others could save a lot of money and loss of face if only they went back to the fundamentals of LOOKING AFTER their CUSTOMERS PROFESSIONALLY. A basic step towards providing a truly enjoyable, valuable and profitable business experience; does Dassault’s management actually need to be told this? Did they need to expose their failings so publicly so as to invite questions about their adequacy?

    Monica is correct about providing customers with an “experience” but I am not sure being paid handsomely to stand in front of a crowd of those who should already know the fundamentals of business will prove to be a good experience for her or Dassault: unless, of course, their “good experience” is measured in billable hours and the satisfaction felt in signing cheques as payment, for a job done,using other peoples money.

  • Hi Deelip

    speaking as a CATIA person inside DS, I do get what Monica is saying about looking beyond just cool modeling. Even in the example you give of a wheel bearing, a company supplying these needs much more than a good CAD model because it has to deal with manufacturing variation, quality standards,
    “just in time” supply challenges as part of what they need to do for their customer. I used to work for automotive component
    supplier where we had to give up on a project, not because
    of the time needed to design and build the product but because
    we could not develop and print the labeling in time!
    But from a purely CAD and modeling perspective we also need these new modeling challenges and our experience shows
    that when we answer the needs of these new customers, our current users see significant advantages. If you look at the massive performance advances in functional modeling we
    delivered because of the work for an electronics need, the huge performance gains in clash detection we found because
    of the needs of the ship building industry, all the lightweight modeling/high sematic modeling that was driven by the structure and plant industries you can see that new markets
    bring new innovations that improve all of our usage.

    The reason that DS can put this investment in place to crack these challenges is because it can look across an industry for the value of all its solutions in that market, for example the value of CAD in E&E is quite low but the value of simulation and PDM is huge so it makes sense to enhance the CATIA story as well to allow customers to innovate across its process.

    So the industry experiances allow us to articulate what we do for an industry and also benchmark ourselves and see where we can use our expertise to make it better. Using this process
    brings the story to life for the customer and also our internal teams so that people can cross between disciplines and think about how CATIA/DELMIA/SIMULIA/SOLIDWORKS etc can help.

    From my perspective I really want to see how advances in the kinematics needed for a human body, the material modeling
    from the consumer goods and visualization from the entertainment world can help us mechanical engineers create better, more lifelike, designs.

    At the heart of CATIA, and I believe DS, is the idea that we can model anything and our dream is to get that model to be as close to real life is possible. Our world is non-linear, unstructured and organic so we have to user all the inputs, ideas and investment to get us to a point we can represent reality in a virtual space.


    Andy Reilly

    • Andy, Thanks for your comment. But I must admit that you lost me. Let’s take the manufacturer of the car wheel bearing. Are you suggesting that DS is the only company that has technologies to let them offer a good experience to their customer (the car manufacturer)? Because from what Bernard is saying, no other company is doing what DS is doing?

      Also can you spend some time explaining how DS is selling its customers experiences while its competitors are selling their customers just products?

      • Deelip,
        the component supplier analogy is really to highlight that just focusing on a CAD model will not answer the customers’ needs in product development. If the
        customer wants to move his business forward then he needs a bigger mix of capabilities. In that area DS is pretty unique in being able to cover that need
        but the way to make it “buyable” by a normal person is to package that into an experience.

        So the bit that a customer buys from an experience is a package of products that work together to deliver a specific scenario.

        The analogy I use is of a package holiday. We as customers pay one price to company but the service we get is a mix of flights from US Airways, hotel from Holiday Inn, days out, activities for the kids etc that come from a variety of providers but we only pay one price to one company at the start. We do not see the split of money or get involved in paying other people and we also take advantage of the guidance and advice from our initial holiday company to make sure we get the holiday/experience we saw in the brochure.

        From a DS perspective, an experience is a mix of DS brands and products put together for a specific price. The advantage for the customer is that it is easy to buy, proven to work in that scenario and there is a simplified implementation and integration.
        This is not really a new approach from DS! We have been building and selling these types of multi-brand solutions for years but we have previously looked at it as a role based solution instead of joining those roles together and providing the glue between the steps of process as well.

        • Precisely. This doesn’t seem to be anything new. Every other CAD/PLM vendor provides a set of applications on a platform that customers can combine to form an “experience”. So I’m a bit confused when Bernard says that we in the media should stop comparing DS with its competitors since nobody else is offering this kind of a platform.

          • Deelip

            so it is good that you are clear on how and experience is packaged and can be

            I would suggest that Bernard is highlighting that it is DS that is constructing the experience and then our customers are buying that view of the world rather than a customer having a scenario, a vendor offering a set of tools that may or may not meet and the need and then the teams work together to answer the original spec.

            This 2nd approach is the way we have done business in the past and I think it is the way our competition work but does it really connect with how an executive at our customers think? I would suggest that an exec at our customer will understand if we give him a set of metrics, objectives and price to deliver a solution that means something to him – without the exec needing to understand the different products that make up the proposal.

            So the experience idea:

            1) Puts the solution into industry and customer perspective

            2) Packages the price and implementation approach into something tangible

            3) Puts the metrics for success and failure in terms of what the customer can do rather
            than how a product performs.

            Is this helping the understanding?
            Andy Reilly

          • Sorry, I think you lost me again. 😉

            It would help me understand better if you could outline how the car wheel bearing manufacturer using SolidWorks could offer his customer a 3D experience.

          • I will try to explain. I am sure that you will see some experience launched by DS targeted
            at the auto supplier need.

            Inside that experience there will probably be tools to design, share, lifecycle and simulate the auto components. Because I am not involved in building that solution, I cannot promise what those tools will be but I can easily imagine that Solidworks could play a role in that.

            If a current Solidworks customer was to purchase that, I am sure there would be a favorable commercial terms and some assistance in maintaining their workflows.

            I hope I have painted a picture for you but please bear in mind that I have not made
            any product or delivery commitment.

          • Like Deelip, I am lost.

            And that is a major issue for DS. I have used SolidWorks since 1997. I honestly do not understand how this experience applies to what I do or what my customers do. As I have said, I can “kind of” understand the aims when discussing massive projects funding by huge budgets and hundreds or thousands of users. But for a typical small consumer product developed by a couple of designers, and tools made by a 2 person toolroom, made on a production line by 3 people, and sold by 1 salesperson to national and international chain, I don’t “get” it.

            To all at Dassault and SolidWorks. Call me. You have my details. Explain it all to me in words that make sense as a group and not individually!

          • R. Paul Waddington

            I can remember linking an MRPII system to a CAD system in the late 8o’s which used the attributes in the CAD files as an integral part of an entire manufacturing system which controlled other (documentary) functions necessary to manufacture the product.

            Much of what is being outlined by Dassault gives me a Deja vu Experience

          • L

            If you have to write 4 pages of very vague analogies to explain this concept to people who are experienced in the domain, obviously there is a problem. If at the end of these 4 pages you end up by making sure that everyone is clear that you have “not made any product or delivery commitment”… people can put 2 and 2 together.

      • Rick McWilliams

        Until DS understands that accurate reliable geomety in important they can take the 3d experience and shove it.

  • Dave Ault

    My head hurts after listening to Andy. Buzzwords and techy phrases and PR market speak. So I guess this stuff will give you parts design and go all the way further with raw materials procurement and making sure labels are there on time and no doubt do it all from beginning to end including inventory tracking and production scheduling. I wonder if they have even made all this work in their secret laboratory yet? I watch my customers switch over to complete inventory tracking systems and what a headache and no where near as complex as what I think Andy says Dassault is planning to do. It is supposed to streamline things but never ends seems to end up doing so and then the next great thing is rolled out a year or two later and the cycle starts again.
    I am sorry but all I see is lipstick on the pig. How do we make the cloud stuff look attractive enough that we can get people to go there is the reason for all this.
    I like your comments about ego Paul and I to wonder if anyone at the top thought to ask what users might think of all this. Throughout all this cloud stuff I keep getting the feeling that the anointed leaders look down upon us and with disdain pronounce that we are stupid and need to be educated as to what we will like. From my lowly perch in life I look at them and wonder what benefit having conversations with the guys in the mirrors behind closed doors brings to value and creativity and good solid products that sell themselves on merit and not BS.

  • murray

    Utter BS. The CEO can’t define it, PR types can’t either, but they keep parroting it as if its meaningful. Maybe there’s something new that they’re not willing to reveal yet, (in which case their excitement overwhelmed good sense) but jargoneering the emperor’s new clothes doesn’t stop anyone who hasn’t drunk the Kool-Aid from calling it.

  • Ryan McVay

    I think I have a handle on what DS is talking about when they
    are talking about “stop thinking of selling just products to their customers. But instead think about creating experiences around their products.”

    Bear with me on this journey! If I am right this might be worth your reading. If not, then I apologize in advance and you can skip to the bottom and decide if you want to come back and read the transformation process.

    Let’s look at “experience around a product.” This week I had a meeting with a group of product managers (marketing people). I pulled them together because we are creating a new system that allows them to store their information inside of our PDM system. This group of people has been working in a filename centric world for a long time. I had to come up with some way to explain that the system they are going to be working could care less about the filename. They will be searching using meta-data. It was the meat-data/search characteristics that I needed them to define for me so that I can start building the search and file cards for the PDM system…stay with me..I need to demonstrate some examples- experience- of searching for something without knowing exactly (filename) what I want.

    I took them to the Amazon, the Target and couple other
    product-centric websites to demonstrate that we could find a blue, Windows 8 mobile phone, on the AT&T network without know the exact phone I was looking for. They got the concept of the search characteristics and the experience of how they need to search for data. The take away here is the concept of these websites..keep that in the back of your mind.

    OK. Now this is where we need to look at the DS vision of creating an experience for your product. I want you to image something for me. Take the Amazon experience and put DS in its place.

    What would the DS world look like if it were Amazon? Well,
    it would be a marketplace where the DS customers- that you and me- would have the ability display our products to our customers using a simple browser tool.
    That means, DS would become the virtual showroom for you display your wares.

    We can take this down a level to the marketing people. Inside
    this DS-azon world (blending Amazon and DS) the marketing people could collaborate directly with potential clients, put up polls on product options, etc. This information then guides the marketing people to define the requirements for new products. This is still all within the DS-azon virtual showroom environment.

    Now that we have requirements, we can move down one more level to the industrial designers who starts the creative juices with something like a push and pull modeler to create the organic surfaces of the product that the engineers are going to work within. The engineers are able to the hardcore design using whatever design tool they want- in this case a DS product. Keep in mind that we are still working inside this virtual environment- but we have moved from the showroom (public area) into the virtual tool room and test labs (private area in the DS cloud). Once the design is fleshed out enough you just push it up into the showroom for you marketing and potential customers to review…we are still all inside this DS-azon environment.

    OK, now that we have a single company with their products in
    the DS-azon showroom you start adding other companies and soon you have a huge conglomerate of products that all have 3D data and a showroom to provide experience to all their customers. You also have all these products in the same
    environment so if you need those bearings you add them to your product. If you want to buy those bearings, you add them to your shopping cart- no I’m not kidding here. This is how the B2B could work in this environment.

    You utilize the PLM search engines to aid customer to find
    your product or to find your components. Once you or your customer find the product you have the ability to view the public 3D data, make color changes and even make request for custom options from this new “marketplace”.

    It’s this new marketplace- this 3D marketplace- that becomes
    the “experience” that DS is trying to tell us about. At least that is what I think they are trying to tell us. DS is attempting to become Amazon or Apple of the design world. You have the 3D data, collaboration tools, marketing and polling tools, product searching and design environments all accessible in one
    new virtual marketplace.

    • Neil

      Well companies already have their own websites where their customers can choose purchase options. These are quite adequate having 3d walkarounds, video, review links etc. The extent to which the public participate in the design phase is up to the manufacturing company. Sometimes it makes sense and other times the design is highly technical or confidential and it doesnt. Sometimes too too many self styled specialists/experts try to get involved and the result is a committee mess. Dassault aren’t offering anything new except to take a cut of hosting services. The only augmented ‘experience’ they have to offer is an integrated environment that many wont need and it would be inconvenient and unnecessary to change from their existing arrangement. The experience is a proposition of nothing tangible and as described so far nothing fathomable either. Considering a short three words like ‘social industry experience’ has needed multiple lengthy attempts to explain it and we are really none the wiser for them I don’t think the aspirations of Dassault to interpose themselves in their customers business by seizing their data for rentseeking purposes is going to work.

  • 3d is really the best technology. and nowdays all the movies have 3d effect. Its nice that technologies are improving.

  • 3DStar

    Forget the marketing verbiage.
    In the last ten years, at least four multi billion CAD and PLM producers -Dassault, PTC, Siemens and Autodesk- have each managed to create/acquire their proprietory geometry kernel and build/acquire a software suite to cover the full process of design-simulation-production. Now they’re each trying to consolidate their suite into one happy platform on the cloud in order to 1. leverage remote server power for complex computing operations, 2. get independent of Windows, 3. possibly solve some IP problems and4. control licensing, which makes all tremendous commercial sense. The idea is probably to capture the entire design market -from automotive, aerospace and marine engineering to industrial design, architecture and construction- and take this to the billions of potential future users in Brazil, Russia, India and China within the next 10 to 20 years.
    So far, so good, but what does it mean to humble users like myself? The thumb rule is it that the less you hear, the more is going on. Dassault is doing a wonderful job at saying nothing, because they either have lost an embarrassing amount of time and money in erroneous developments, or they have a real market lead that they need to protect. Either way, the point is to tell their customers that they will be or remain the market leaders without telling them why. What we do know is that the overwhelming majority of future users in most parts of the world don’t want to or can’t invest hundreds or even just tens of thousands of Dollars up front in software. Since regionalizing software licenses would be a sales management nightmare, the whole industry will probably emulate Adobe’s recent subscription policy sooner or later. As far as the performance of each platform goes, the existing information is just still too volatile to draw meaningful conclusions or make predictions for the future.
    The bottom line is: nobody wants to be riding a dying horse, but for now, we’ll have to keep using what serves us best until we know better.

  • Abu

    Very interesting discussion going on here… just thought of clearing some of the ideas about the ‘Merchandising Store’… you’ll find it here ( ) with an online demo at –

  • kurt

    in my opinion the Japanese guy at the conference very politely said the truth . “i hope that the quality of DS software will become as good as the quality of our products”. I have been using V6 for over a year now, 2012, 2012X, 2013, 2013X.The new experience is, I feel like a beta tester. DS should pay me for doing so! I love the V6 concept but it is immature software. I also feel like I’m the only V6 user on the planet. I often think, no way nobody has seen this bug before. I’m not talking about details but missing functionality, missing menu buttons, missing documentation, etc. A new experience would be to use Catia and not to encounter “click OK to terminate”. DS should fire that scary Italian PR woman immediately. When I referenced to the concept of selling an experience the day after at the conference I had the entire audience laughing out loud. (yep, DS did make the mistake of asking me as a speaker)

  • Georges

    Here’s a CATIAv5 user who has recently tried to make a research institute switch to CATIAv6. Motivated by the nice promises about all of the advantages of 3DEXPERIENCE, an idea which I love to this day by the way!! After having invested way too much time in trying to get CATIAv6 to run for 2 (two!!) users we decided to downgrade back to CATIAv5 with nodelock (non-networked) licenses. It turned out that installing and especially configuring all the tools needed on the server side of a functioning CATIAv6 infrastructure was an absolute mission impossible for a small organisation like ours. The time needed to get the infrastructure running is absolutely not a worthy investment for any small organisation. For us it isn’t the 3DEXPERIENCE idea itself that makes us hate v6, nor is it the CATIAv6 client side of things (this is great and very much superior to CATIAv5, but it is purely the effort of the very complex server-side that is just way over the top. The setup is extremely complex and time-consuming for small organisations. Installing a license server, installing a database, installing ENOVIA. After that’s done configuring it all through a mix of consoles (to change user passwords), ENOVIA (adding users and environments and projects) and some business administrator UI somewhere to set environment rights, group rights, user rights, etc. All of this effort just because Dassault decided it would be good idea to drop nodelock license support from CATIAv6-2010 on wards. To put nodelock VS server installation into perspective: installing a CATIAv6 client using a nodelock license would take at most 30 minutes. Installing the server and clients necessary in the newest versions of CATIAv6 takes non-experts many weeks. We never got it running and we just gave up extremely frustrated and disappointed in the follow-up of V5. We went as far as to downgrade to V5 after this “experience”. If Dassault doesn’t re-introduce the option of nodelock licenses for CATIAv6 clients this year we will stop using Dassault systemes software all together and make the switch to a software package from a different brand. They don’t give us the choice, so we don’t have the choice… In summary: 3DEXPERIENCE !yes!, Dassault’s implementation of it’s ease of installation and configuration !big no no!.

    • kurt

      If you tried to install the Enterprise Edition of Enovia, I’m not in the least surprised. Without the right manual (which isn’t available off the shelf) it’s very very hard. The PLM Express edition, on the other hand, can be installed and configured in less then a day if done on SQL server. (We’ve done it multiple times). My next deployment will be a simple clone of a virtual machine, sysprep it, change the name in enovia system and go, about ten minutes work for a stable working configuration. I take a copy of our production server for test purposes every month or so. Upgrades on a PLM Express are a dream come true, just insert the CD and push the setup button. I would argue that PLM Express is the way to go for small to medium enterprises and the Enterprise Edition only for the largest of installations. The clients are installed using a 4-line script in our environment, it’s just the push of a button. The things that get me angry are the obvious bugs of the software, not in the 3-D kernel (it’s the good old V5) but in all the rest. A small example, we use skeleton design, consider that you have twenty parts all driven by the same skeleton. Now change the name of the skeleton part, all the links in your derived parts are broken and there is no way you can reconnect them. There’s an auto-correct feature, it never works. The manual reconnect button is ALWAYS grayed out. For some odd reason, if you open the skeleton part simultaneously with the derived parts the links are restored, but not always. The same things happen when you make a new version of the skeleton. In short, V6 in it’s current state is unusable for serious complex design. The least one can expect is that links are defined using the UUID or internal names so that renaming a part doesn’t get you into trouble. And that it would give you the option to relink to the new version instead of displaying broken links. I could go on a few pages more with bugs I experienced, but it was never the installation; (agreeing that the Office integration simply doesn’t work or we’re not smart enough to get it work) Or the installation of the Online collaboration, the out of the box version doesn’t work, you have to download another version, etc…apart from those issues, the installation is smooth. 🙂

      • Georges

        Actually we tried to install the Academic ENOVIA server version. PLM express is not sold under educational license, so that’s not an option for us. The local distributor of CATIAv6 literally told us that if we want to install that version and we need help we’ll have to hire them to help us. No pointers to absolutely essential manuals whatsoever. So what they’re saying is essentially: if you want to upgrade to V6 under an educational license you will have to hire us because the software is so incredibly complex to install that you won’t be able to do it yourselves. Which also means that we would make us completely dependable on their support. Dassault systemes in France itself is not wiling to even talk to us at all because of the local distributor supposed to take care of us (which they do, but only if we pay them and hand over total control/maintenance of ENOVIA to them). This is an absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable proposition and I don’t understand how it could ever occur to them that we would be willing to upgrade to V6 under those conditions. I’m sure we’re not the only university/research institute having to deal with this. Again, the situation for V5 is: install client and enable node-lock and start working (30 minutes per machine). The situation for V6 is: be obligated to outsource PLM server installation, configuration and maintenance to local Dassault distributor. That means at least 5 days worth of work just getting quotations and processing orders and having the actual work be done, ~1000’s of Euro’s and total dependence on local distributor for maintenance and configuration. We’re definitely making the switch to another PLM package next year if they don’t re-introduce nodelock licenses for V6 (or make the server installation MUCH easier and quicker). V6 for academia is absolutely not worth the hassle in our case (no matter how nice 3DEXPERIENCE and CATIAv6 may be).