My thoughts from the Dassault 3D experience forum My Experience from Dassault’s 3D Experience forum (rebranded from Dassault  Systemes Customer Conference) held on Nov 6-7, 2012 in Orlando, FL.

As with the name, the main theme around the Dassault 3D Experience conference is the experience.   The key note speaker Joe Pine and author of the best-selling book The Experience Economy discussed how economies have expanded from agricultural to industrial to services and now to experiences.  Whereby each preceding sector will be or is becoming a commodity based sector.  A great example he gave was of the picture of the gumball machine – In the picture the classic gumball machine was modified with a spiral the gumball travels down.  For instance adding this spiral to the gumball machine does NOT add value to the gumball machine – delivery speed is not increased (rather decreased) the taste of the gumball does not change.  However kids’ amusement in using the ‘newer’ version of the machine has increased dramatically and has increased overall sales for such gumball machines.  This is all due to the experience created by using the machine.

Dassault wants to bring this experience to its products as well.   Can you equate a gumball machine with a spiral to experiences received from the Dassault product suite?   Probably not directly, although Dassault is trying to provide enhanced experiences  though its product suite and has a good vision as it moves in this direction.  They are not just looking at features and functions of software, but at the bigger picture of being able to deliver a meaningful experience to their users at every level.

This mindset was re-enforced the other day while watching Nova on PBS.   The topic was how the brain works, though they had a section on augmented reality.   They discussed the new Google Glasses that will project an image on the lens.  This will provide more information to the wearer and his/her surroundings.  It was explained that  the Google Glasses will eventually be enhanced into a contact lens that can directly project an image on to your retina.  Examples of data being projected range from more information about a painting you are looking at, what friends you have in the area, or the ability to visualize, move and mock up a virtual product you designed with their software (this was actually demonstrated at the conference with the ability to take a 10 x 8 inch size of cardboard and project how it would look as a tablet computer in different colors and sizes) .  Another example may provide someone shopping for clothes to see how the clothes look on a personal avatar of themselves in a surrounding of their choice.

As you can see, there will be great ways to experience things and obtain information on a level we were never able to achieve before.  However, is this really a paradigm shift in the market and the PLM software industry as a whole?   I spend my days working with the actual users of the software. From my vantage point, how the software will be used and what it will be used for will remain the same.   Consider a simple example.  There will still be the engineers / designers designing in CAD, Product / BOM / Configuration still be creating and approving configurations of the design in a PLM system.   So it is really consumers who will experience the big changes. By using some lightweight software (or even hardware in the form of Google Glasses) these end users will able to do things and enjoy truly revolutionary experiences.

This thought process at Dassault is leading to the creation and expansion of their industry solution team organization and solutions being offered by Dassault.   In addition to the Brand organization within Dassault, there is the Industry Solution organization as well.  The Industry solution organization is tasked with providing industry specific solution and expertise to the specific industry they focus on. One of their main focus will be to build and offer solution specific offerings.   Without going into the details of these offerings (we can go into detail in another blog), they will include a variation of different licenses form all the different software brands configured to meet specific industry’s needs.   These solutions will be sold under one consolidate license to ease the multiple and complexity of licenses required in such a sale.

It will be determined if this something that will really bring a valued added experience to the end user or just a marketing ploy to try and sell more licenses.  Though I believe with any software purchase, it needs to start with a problem or issue the company is trying to solve.  The Dassault Industry is looking at these problems faced by specific industries and building solutions to meet them.  As always the devil is in the details and we will see if the Dassault teams can really understand the specific industries issues and build solutions that not only meet and resolve the problem, but can be easily deployed in a cost effected manner to a provide a ROI back to its customers.

~Marc Young

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