This series of posts will cover new product releases, changes in product strategy and acquisitions by engineering software providers affect engineering stakeholders. New posts in this series will be published based on software provider activities. Today’s post focuses on the relevance of Siemens PLM’s HD strategy for NX and Teamcenter. This post includes a breakdown of the impact of these new offerings on different stakeholders in the engineering organization.

Dates and Events: Since fall of last year, Siemens PLM (wikipedia entry) has introduced had a series of announcements centered around a new framework called HD-PLM. First, as part of the October 2009 launch of the 7.0 version of NX (wikipedia entry), they released HD3D (HD3D press release). Then, in May of this year, Siemens PLM launched a Visual Reporting offering called HD-PLM (HD-PLM press release) as part of Teamcenter (wikipedia entry). In June of this year, I attended the PLM World event in Dallas and received public and private updates on Siemens PLM’s HD strategy. These announcements from Siemens will be part of an ongoing strategy that will result in the future release of other new capabilities and products.

New Capabilities: In short, the HD3D capabilities of NX and Visual Reporting capabilities of Teamcenter provide a means of visually navigating 3D models to access and report on data and information. Stakeholders in either NX or Teamcenter can run visual reports, coloring components or assemblies, based on attributes and status within Teamcenter. Furthermore, these visual reports offer a ‘drill down’ capability to provide more detailed information about the components or assemblies in the visual report. As a result, a user can browse or navigate the product visually instead of textually. The purpose is to support decision making in the development process. To be clear, these capabilities do not change how NX design and simulation data is managed by Teamcenter. More details on the capabilities of HD3D can be found in their HD3D Fact Sheet. More on HD-PLM can be found at the HD-PLM microsite.

  • Commentary for Designers and Analysts, some Engineers (CAD and CAE Users): For those that use CAD and CAE applications frequently, most of your interaction with the PLM system is focused on data management activities such as checkin, checkout and managing versions, revisions and configurations. However, you definitely need access to broader product information to support design decisions along the way. How do you get it? Login and textually navigate the PLM system yourself or track down someone that can. And let’s be honest, either way is painful and/or time consuming. The new capabilities in NX provides a means to look for information in the PLM system through an application with which you are familiar, CAD or CAE, in a medium with which you probably most comfortable, 3D design or simulation models. This means you can access what you need without dealing with everything else in the PLM system. However, be aware that setting up a visual report on your model will require some orientation to understand which attributes represent what in your projects. Most PLM systems house many attributes. Make sure what you think an attribute means actually means it.
  • Commentary for Most Engineers (non-CAD users): Moreso than most stakeholders, engineers need access to a lot of information from different products and different projects. That frequently means you need information that exists in many enterprise systems like ERP, SCM and PLM. That means you often track down individuals from numerous departments to get the information you need, which unfortunately is often outdated by the time you get back to your desk. What does these new capabilities mean for you? It can provide a way for you to get that information directly from the product model, shortcutting some of the ‘trackdown game’ that wastes so much of your time. But there’s a caveats. Using this new approach will be easier but not brainless. Just like many designers and analysts that infrequently use PLM, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the attributes in the system. Otherwise you’ll be working off the wrong information, which is worse than the ‘trackdown game.’
  • Commentary for Engineering Managers and Executives: How do you, as a manager or executive, get development project summaries today? If you’re like most, you have someone in your team or organization pull together, either manually or with some automation, a report on a daily or weekly basis. It takes time to do. Its a resources dedicated to administrative work, not new development. The information can be difficult to conclusively verify. These new capabilities provide an alternative to that approach. You could run and navigate a 3D visual report on your own, drilling down into particularly problematic areas and defining corrective action as necessary. It would provide access to status in real time. You could dedicate that resource to real development instead of administrative work. However, you will need to be somewhat technology savvy to run and navigate these 3D visual reports as this isn’t just a document you open. Like other stakeholders that may be unfamiliar with the PLM system, you will also need to familiarize yourself with some attributes in the PLM system.

Summary: Siemens PLM’s HD strategy provides stakeholders a way to visually access and navigate information in Teamcenter, Siemens’s PLM offering. For stakeholders that are not heavy PLM users and tend to avoid textual navigation of the system, this new framework provides an easier and faster way to get to information yourself. However, to utilize these capabilities, you will need to familiarize yourself with the attributes used in the PLM system and be somewhat technically savvy.

Take care. Talk soon. And thanks for reading.