Aras Innovator: PLM Done Differently – Part 2

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For those who are not aware of what Aras Innovator is I strongly recommend that you take a look at this interactive demo. You will need to register first to get the link. But if you are really interested in PLM or wish to learn what something like free PLM can do for your company, I think you should watch it. For those in a hurry, here are a few screen shots showing Aras Innovator running in a browser.

Aras Innovator comes with a lot of functionality directly out of the box which you can use instantly. The general view of PLM is that it is meant for large corporations with lot of money and who can afford lots of consultants to give them lots of advice. Peter gave me an example of a company called MiTek, a manufacturer of electronics and communication products. Recently someone from the company spoke at one of Aras’ events to explain what Peter calls the ultimate Aras Innovator success story. MiTek implemented Aras Innovator as their PLM system without paying Aras a single cent. They did it completely on their own thanks to the model based service oriented architecture that makes Innovator an easy to customize PLM system.

I asked Peter how a company of fifty people could possibly consult, customize and implement a PLM system in companies all across the globe. The answer is partners. Aras has 64 partners spread all across the world. They act like resellers in the sense that they “resell” the support contracts for Aras. The partners are paid a cut on the contracts that they service. In fact, in most cases, the partners start earning money even before Aras does. For example, say a company downloads Aras Innovator and decides to give it a spin. They try some stuff on their own and get some of it configured and plugged in. When they need help they get in touch with an Aras partner who begins consulting and starts earning money. If the evaluation and testing yields good results, then the company will most probably want Innovator to interface with its existing systems already in place. This would involve some programming and some advanced process modeling in Innovator. If the partner can handle it, well and good. Otherwise Aras gets involved and develops and maintains it by means of a paid support contract. Peter prides on his company’s partner driven strategy and thinks that his partners are vital to the success of his open source approach to PLM. Aras Innovator is available in 9 languages thanks to the help received from all its partners.

Peter let me in on his push-pull theory of PLM which I found pretty interesting. In his opinion, the way the big PLM vendors market today, it is like as if they are pushing their solutions onto prospects and selling them on all sorts of ideas. He refers to his company’s marketing as a pull in the sense that his company lays out the software for the customer to analyze and dissect and make his own opinion. Peters thinks that customers are pulled towards his PLM system because they like it and they like how it is delivered.

I asked if he demands exclusivity from his partners. Peter replied, “Not at all. Our partners can work with other PLM vendors as well. Exclusivity will just not go with our open approach to PLM as a whole.”

Part 3 >>