Autodesk – Aiming to Accelerate ahead of their competitors.

Autodesk’s 2016 Accelerate event – Cloud led, positive customers, excited prospects and approachable employees. In my eyes a positively transforming business. Continue reading

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Developing thoughts and strategies for the next big thing – (IoT) Thinking, ‘innovating outside the traditional box (or in this case, dustbin)’

Following on my train of thought on how the IoT is transforming products and business models, I took the opportunity to visit another IoT innovator during a recent trip to the Boston area. Their story is as insightful and thought provoking to those interested in IoT innovation as was my last example. Continue reading

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Siemens PLM Software – A digital ‘engine’ provider for Industry 4.0

Siemens PLM Software’s analyst event last month provided much food for thought. First off, Siemens showed a new dimension to their messaging. One that’s simpler and more focused on customer outcomes. Second, they provided a vision and many of the pieces that deliver ‘Industry 4.0’ as (to a large extent) a practical proposition.

For those that’re unaware of Industry 4.0, it’s a German Government sponsored initiative, supported by companies such as Siemens, Bosch and SAP. It focuses on a vision of industry focusing on the digitisation of design, factories and (customer and supplier) networks around Cyber-Physical Systems, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Services.

Chuck Grindstaff, Siemens PLM’s CEO and President rightly pointed out that today’s innovation ecosystem is relentless. Products are getting smarter and more complex; definitely true when considering the trend to more software (and electronics) driven product content. To this Siemens wants to be the be the company that helps customers deal with the contradictory drivers of product/ecosystem complexity and business velocity/agility. They aim to do this by providing a broad swathe of solutions that allow companies to design, make and support their products. A world where ‘digital twining’ (such as in areas of design and manufacturing) is as close to reality as possible so that Siemens’s digitally-led proposition to customers is both practical and (clearly) valuable.

Achieving the vision (of Industry 4.0) might be considered quite an objective from any one vendor, but in Siemens PLM’s case we have to remember that they’re supported by the technologies and know-how of the greater Siemens. Having said this, there some provisos; not least amongst these that the PLM division continues to show support for ‘open’ technologies and encourage and grow third party ecosystems.

Back to the conference. Much of the content was focused on providing press and analysts with updates on Siemens PLM’s ‘Smart Innovation Portfolio’, with some excellent customer presentations including one from Dell on their use of big data and analytics in the area of customer service.

Siemens PLM’s product messaging is one of a ‘Smart Innovation Portfolio’. This integrates ‘Engaged users’ (collaboration and intelligent app environments etc.), ‘Intelligent models’ (cyber-physical systems/digital twins etc.), ‘Realized Products’ (automation/manufacturing/planning etc.) and ‘Adaptive systems’ (data driven decision making etc.). While there’s much to comment on I was intrigued by new offerings made possible by their acquisition of Camstar, and so too their new mobile app Catchbook.

Camstar’s suite of tools allow Siemens to expand their available markets beyond traditional domains (well beyond that of MES) to areas of customer service (and by extension IoT), big data and analytics. Their first consumer-friendly (sketching) mobile app Catchbook allows Siemens to expand their reach not only to new customers but also to consumers, mindful of the (sketching) needs of new/next generation users.

Siemens have already made public their interest in transitioning their large platforms (Teamcenter for example) to more ‘app-like’ forms, and to date they’ve done a good job so far in simplifying (and beautifying) their offerings. But the next generation (Y) is (rightly in my eyes) critical on the complexity of monolithic software products and Catchbook is an interesting take on Siemens’ capacity to react to these objections. Transforming to ‘apps’ (and born-on-the-Cloud/subscription based) might be considered by many as primarily a technological exercise; but I’d suggest that it’s as much, if not more so a challenge to (Siemens’) existing pricing, business and sales models.

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IBM Innovate 2010 Rational software developers conference

Upbeat tempo, an enormous audience of 4000 people and an inspirational keynote by Dean Kamen left me impressed with this year’s IBM Rational software developer’s conference.
Steve Mills’ keynote reminded me (not that I could ever forget) of IBM’s huge momentum in the software industry. One just has to look at their breadth and depth of offerings and number and scale of their investments over recent past to be mindful of the significance that IBM places on their software business. Interesting to note at this particular event that their embedded systems impetus, which one could argue was waning some years ago under Rational brand has been revitalised following the Telelogic acquisition. Responsibility for this programme has recently been placed under the direction of Meg Selfe in a unit called ‘Complex and Embedded Systems’.
Meg’s background appears to be ideally suitable for the Systems and Embedded role not only in recent past within IBM but also in her former experiences in both technology and management in companies such as GM and Motorola. Discussions with her and the ever insightful Neeraj Chandra highlighted IBM’s significant interest in covering more than just the software lifecycle; to that point it’s interesting to note PTC’s recent forays into the realms of application lifecycle (notably software) management with announced support of open source technologies such as Bugzilla, Eclipse and Subversion in their PLM platform Windchill. IBM’s intention is forecast to provide the (tools and) frameworks to support an extended play in the PLM space. Key to this, as always, is the engagement and support of both customers and other software suppliers – with customer needs driving more intimate partnerships. I’d be surprised if we don’t hear more on this soon.
Cloud computing. Hyperbole or fact? Fact, I believe. Although (I’d argue that) the technology is somewhat more evolutionary than revolutionary, the interest level in understanding what, how and why is at an all time high. The cloud sessions I attended were packed to the gunnels reflecting real interest on the values and application of the concept. It’s also apparent that the field is still rapidly evolving, notably within IBM. What I saw and heard at the event was skewed to the larger enterprise but what will be interesting to see is whether IBM will extend their programs to support smaller to mid-size developers and their customers; areas in which Microsoft (Azure) and Google (App Engine) and to a lesser extent Amazon (EC2) appear to currently have more significant aspirations.
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Analyst insight at the Conference On the Future of Engineering Software in Scottsdale, Arizona

Taxal’s participation in this global event will focus on the changing nature of sales channels and partner relationships. With cloud based offerings and software as a service deliverables being on many of our agendas’ are authors and partners ready for any necessary change? Indeed what’s the change needed and is there an opportunity to adapt or extend partner networks to take advantage of emerging trends in the market?
COFES, hosted at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale Arizona from the 15th through the 17th April 2010, is the engineering software industry’s only annual think tank event which brings executives from design, engineering, architectural, development and technology companies together to understand the role engineering technology will play in the future survival and success of business.
For more information on COFES go to www.cofes.com
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