Managing Chaos

I was teaching a Sunday School class for 15-year-olds. It was really my wife’s class, but she asked me to substitute—“You’ll be fine.” There I was facing 17 teenage strangers. Of course, there was that one kid. Had an answer to every question, a comment on every topic, and could pontificate like a political candidate. He was dominating the discussion. The other kids were sitting silently, phones were coming out. Desperate to involve other members of the class, I asked for a volunteer to help by drawing something on the chalkboard. They stared at their shoes, sat on their hands. Not one volunteer. Picking out a likely candidate, I tossed the chalk to a young girl. She attempted to catch it, bobbled the chalk, it popped into the air—and hit the girl next to her in the nose, bounced off her and heads towards the next young man. He grabs it out of the air and throws it at his buddy across the room. Instant chaos. Everyone is laughing, the game now proceeds to be one of keep away, with me in the middle, while trying to regain some control. I have totally lost them—chaos reigns.

Now think of your last PLM system upgrade. Your system probably consists of 17 or so unruly applications, acquired over time, stealth additions by the vendor, some you didn’t even know existed. Most sit there quietly, some take a lot of time and effort, and some took considerable time, effort, and money to customize. You haven’t upgraded your system for several years. In fact, you are probably, at a minimum, two major releases behind and you undoubtedly still remember the pains of the last upgrade. You know the system is outdated but the last “upgrade” more closely resembled a “re-implementation,” the 18 months and monies spent. But finally, you decide to upgrade. Chaos ensues.

Process is disrupted, people are stressed to identify where customization has occurred and determining what needs to be carried forward. The firm that did most of the customization is no longer in business or is holding the work hostage. Siloed data sources are discovered—can they fit into the new environment? Will the budget cover the unforeseen expenses? The vendor is happy to help, to the tune of thousands, if not millions of dollars’ worth of consulting. Chaos reigns.

Aras is different. Aras upgrades subscribers for free, customizations included. In a baseline study conducted by Aras in 2019, 84% of Aras subscribers were on a platform version three years old or less. Aras Innovator is not a collection of unrelated applications but a platform with applications built on the platform using a modeling engine. It’s the same modeling engine you used to customize our applications or to create your own customized applications. Aras is upgraded in a fraction of the time and effort because no re-coding or data migration are necessary. In about three months on average, you are up and running on the new release, new functionality is available, and old, customized functionality is still available. All done with little stress; no budget was spent. Order and harmony reign.