In a recent blog, Acquisitions and The Famous Platform Mojo, I responded to an excellent question Oleg Shilovitsky raised in his blog entitled “Will Aras Lose Its Mojo or Develop a New Way to Acquire Companies?” Oleg essentially points out that it’s harder to grow at the pace Aras is growing and still take the time to “stick” the acquired capability of an acquired technology into our existing platform rather than just writing quick integrations as other PLM vendors have. But then we’d lose our “famous Aras platform mojo” that Oleg refers to, and there’s no chance we’re doing that.
To recap, each time we incorporate, we build more and more functionality into our platform services. When we acquire technology or build anything new, most of the core services we need are already there before we even start. This not only cuts down on the time it takes, which is about 20% of what a competitor would need to include, or “incorporate,” but also is a form of low code development that makes all application development faster—including any customizations our customers or a third party writes.
The reason we take the time to do this is because we’re not a software “product” or a group of products loosely integrated together. Aras is a platform—a single digital platform with one set of core services accessed by open APIs. We have many apps, but they’re all accessed through the same platform. And while that’s completely different from the other major PLM providers, that’s not the secret sauce.
Aras’ breakthrough is the modeling engine that implements a dynamic object model. Unlike traditional PLM systems, Aras allows for model changes in real-time while users are working. These changes are directly made in the SQL-schema.
Other PLM products have a static database schema separate from an abstraction layer. This is both limiting, and can cause performance issues, because the vendor tries to protect the database from the customizations.
By contrast, Aras is changing on the fly, modifying the database directly with tremendous flexibility, performance, and scalability for any customizations the customer needs.
Why Platform and Incorporation Matter
From an IT perspective, the single technology stack code base means there’s one install, which takes about 45 minutes, and fewer costs to maintain, test, and administer. Conversely, competitive offerings are made up of multiple systems, each with different databases, app servers, OSs, client technologies, and a variety of different hardware requirements.
Some of the IT benefits of the Aras platform are:
- Much lower infrastructure costs
- Fewer people required to administer
- Less complicated to modify, upgrade, and test
- Aras upgrades it and runs acceptance testing
- Agile/faster to customize and integrate into other systems in the enterprise’s architecture
- Dramatically lower Total Cost of Ownership
- Aras subscribers get any new Aras applications at no extra cost. This includes incorporated applications from acquisitions such as Impresa MRO and Comet Solutions SPDM, as well as any new applications Aras is building.
From an end user perspective, the single logon means Aras is significantly easier to learn and use as opposed to competitors with separate systems that often borrow the same name but have different complex user experiences, screens, behaviors, business rules, and so on.
The benefits to end users of the Aras platform include:
- Easier and faster to learn
- Less training (training is free for subscribers at Aras offices)
- Consistent way of working
- Everything interconnected (easy to move and use data from one app to another)
- Single sign-on
We are in the midst of a platform revolution, and unlike our competitors, Aras is a true platform. While we control the source code for our software, customization and other third party apps have access to the same open APIs.
These same rapid application creation characteristics are true for all customizations with Aras. There’s no secret development environment or special dev tools. Our engineering team uses the same solution studio you get in the open Aras download. You’re empowered to do anything and everything we can do—no restrictions, no limitations.
All this is faster than what our competitors would require to re-write, re-program, re-code, re-compile, re-everything.
The Aras platform is a single, lean platform code base, which makes it easier and more efficient to support, ensure quality, add features, and upgrade. Other PLM vendors that have many different code bases from acquisitions must assign dedicated teams to each.
Some of the overall benefits of the Aras platform are:
- Better user support
- Fewer lines of code, fewer dependencies, less chance for error
- Greater testing efficiency, higher quality software
- Much faster to add new features and applications
- More scalable
The customers gets these same benefits, which is often seen when Aras is used to retire legacy systems. Even if Aras doesn’t have the application, it can be customized quickly, giving companies the flexibility to retire legacy systems as they see fit resulting in a more fluid Digital Thread.
Let me know your thoughts or if you have any questions.