By Joachim Christ
PROSTEP has intensively developed its solutions for Digital Thread, PLM integration and data exchange over the past two years and is increasingly making them available as Software as a Service (SaaS) in the cloud. At PROSTEP INSIGHT DAYS, we explained to customers and interested parties where the journey is headed: our product family will grow even closer together in the future.
At the heart of our product family is OpenPDM, our platform for PLM integration, migration and collaboration. It includes the connectors to PLM, ERP and ALM systems as well as other enterprise applications that are also used by our other solutions, e.g. to link product data from different domains via OpenCLM or to integrate data exchange with external suppliers into PLM processes via OpenDXM GlobalX.
Last year, we largely met our development goals for OpenPDM: We developed a new connector to the Codebeamer software for Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and created an IaaS (Integration as a Service) offering between the cloud ALM solution JIRA and the also cloud-native PLM solution PTC Arena, which is hosted in PROSTEP’s AWS cloud. This will enable us to better integrate software development with product development processes. We had to postpone somewhat the development of the connectors to the ERP systems MS Dynamics and Salesforce, which was planned for 2022. However, they are to be completed in the current year. There will also be new connectors to the various SAP solutions.
The roadmap for the further development of OpenPDM envisages offering the entire product suite, i.e. not only the connectors but also the Process and Mapping Engine, as a service from the AWS cloud from 2024. However, the on-premises solution will continue to exist. We will also harmonize the release cycles with those of OpenDXM GlobalX. This is in recognition of the fact that our solutions are growing closer together, not only in terms of the customer processes they support, but also in terms of software architecture.
Our OpenDXM GlobalX data exchange platform completed its migration to the new Generation 9 last year and is thus benefiting from the advantages of microservices-based software architectures and modern OpenPDM connectors, as Product Manager Daniel Wiegand explained at PROSTEP INSIGHT DAYS. We have also developed the Gallery View to visualize thumbnails of components and complete assemblies in the web client.
Over the next few years, we plan to expand the use of OpenDXM GlobalX in the cloud. We have developed a template for the SaaS offering hosted on AWS that accelerates the initial load of the database. In addition to the performance of the solution in the cloud, deployment and load balancing are to be improved for regionally distributed deployment. Also on the roadmap is improving the reimport of documents and metadata to support even more roundtrip scenarios.
Our latest, but rapidly growing “baby” is the digital thread solution OpenCLM. Its further development has been very much influenced by the two research projects SET Level and ImPaKT over the last two years, as product manager Rainer Zeifang explained. We have implemented new formats for importing and exporting simulation results to ensure traceability in simulation processes, and we have created the ability to detect indirect and implicit relationships between any elements in impact analyses. Planned baselines at specific milestones support companies during audits. A project dashboard lets them monitor the maturity of their planning statuses.
On the roadmap for the next OpenCLM releases is to synchronize them more closely with those of OpenPDM. We plan to offer our Digital Thread solution not only on-premises but also as a cloud service and intend to implement a more finely graded roles and rights concept for this purpose. It is also planned to improve the capabilities for analyzing cross-domain dependencies in products and projects, e.g., by comparing baselines and configurations. The ramp-up of the solution will be accelerated by automating the import and linking of large data sets. In the medium term, we will use artificial intelligence for this purpose.