A comment made by SolidWorks co-founder Jon Hirschtick during a conversation with him at SolidWorks World 2011 got me wondering. He said, “Everyone is talking about the Dassaultification of SolidWorks. Nobody is talking about the SolidWorksification of Dassault Systemes“. He was referring to the recent promotion of Jeff Ray from SolidWorks CEO to Executive Vice President in charge of Geographic Operations at Dassault Systemes.
If you look at it closely, what Jon said does seem to make a lot of sense. Dassault Systemes is a huge organization and it has an interesting organization structure. Bernard Charles is the President and CEO of Dassault Systemes. But each brand (CATIA, ENOVIA, DELMIA, SIMULIA, 3D VIA and Solidworks) has its own CEO and management team as well. Interestingly, the highest decision making body at Dassault Systemes sits in the corporate headquarters in Paris and comprises of Bernard Charles along with other very senior executives from Dassault Systemes. It is important to note that none of the brand CEO’s are part of this body. The SolidWorksfication that Jon was talking about was the induction of Jeff Ray into that body. Bernard Charles even joked on stage at SolidWorks World that they would have to now starting speaking in English in their meetings.
I believe this can be very important for SolidWorks. The people who sit at this high table are involved in taking big decisions on corporate direction and business strategy. They are not bothered with the day to day operations of the brands. That is left unto the individual brand CEO’s and their management teams. Jeff has been with SolidWorks for many years and obviously he holds the company, its employees, partners, resellers and customers quite close to his heart. SolidWorks now has a voice at the high table that can, and I believe will, speak for them. I mean if SYCODE was acquired by a company and I was taken aboard and was involved in the decision making, if I thought that a particular decision was going to be detrimental to my employees and customers I would throw a fit and do everything in my power to prevent it from happening. Similarly I would do everything I could for SYCODE, of course keeping the larger picture in mind. After all SYCODE is my baby and the people involved and personal relationships I built matter to me a lot.
We all know that larger the organization greater is the politics. It is quite possible that Jeff Ray moving to Paris may be the best thing that’s ever happened to SolidWorks. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Not one bit.