What if Your CAD Data Migration Were Flawless?

The experiences of Walterscheid Powertrain and SONACA show that with the right strategy and careful planning, a CAD data migration doesn’t have to be difficult.

In the middle of 2019, leading private equity firm One Equity Partners (OEP) announced its acquisition of Walterscheid Powertrain Group — a leading provider of original and aftermarket parts and services for off-highway powertrain applications — from GKN limited. The divestiture of Walterscheid from GKN resulted in the necessary migration of product data management (PDM) data. Due to the acquisition, Walterscheid needed to move PTC Windchill data to another server to consolidate legacy systems.

The legacy systems of Walderscheid and the firm formerly known as OEP were not designed compatibly. Each company’s system had its own lifecycle state, revision scheme, attribute types, and classification. To further add to the challenge, Walterscheid was faced with a time constraint: They needed to merge their systems quickly to keep the project on time and within budget. Therefore, Walterscheid looked to PROSTEP’s data-migration expertise for assistance.

In another example, leading global aerospace company SONACA wanted to improve and update their systems. With facilities in Europe, North and South America, and Asia, the SONACA Group opted for a Teamcenter migration, the best fit for their specific migration parameters. SONACA Group’s goal was to complete a migration from their Enovia VPM (virtual product management) configurations to a unified Teamcenter installation.

Their biggest challenge lay in reducing multiple product lifecycle management (PLM) instances down to a single centralized one in Teamcenter. This was a monumental feat, since SONACA Group had multiple Enovia instances in various locations. (How were they able to handle the specific logic of VPM layouts? How were they able to consolidate data VPM layouts to a single Teamcenter model? Continue reading for details about SONACA Group’s successful migration.)

The above scenarios are two of many reasons that your business may require a data migration. What if you’re introducing modern technologies such as Industry 4.0 and enabling digital thread manufacturing in your company? What will you do when your system is facing end-of-life? Are your product development processes sustainable? Will your legacy systems be prepared for the changing digital landscape?

Are You Prepared for a Data Migration?

Digitalization, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and/or system end-of-life are a handful of scenarios that make data migration a necessity. Regardless of whether it’s a new startup or a long-established firm, your company will certainly face a data migration at some point. When this occurs, you may try a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach — but be aware that DIY often leads to a longer migration period, numerous data mapping errors, and countless dollars lost on product development.

With the right strategy and careful planning, a CAD data migration doesn’t have to be difficult. Can you answer the following questions from a high-level roadmap of a CAD data migration?

  1. As-Is Analysis: Do you understand your current PLM architecture, information flow, and capabilities? What challenges do you have with your current system that you’ll want remedied in your target system?
  2. To-Be Definition: How will you realign your business processes with the new system? What business and IT requirements are there? What kind of migration strategy is best, given your use case?
  3. System Selection: How will you plan out a pilot or proof of concept for your migration? What about the request for proposal (RFP), assessment, and contracting? Have you outlined a migration project plan and a solution partner?
  4. Implementation: By now, do you understand the new system configuration and customization? How will business processes be executed in your target system? Have you implemented validation and verification steps to ensure correct data mapping?
  5. Go-Live Preparation: Have your end users been trained in the new system? Have you performed dry runs of the migration?
  6. Go-Live: Have you answered all the above questions? Are you prepared to go live?

Understanding the PLM migration roadmap and how it will affect business and IT is crucial to your success. With this big-picture scenario, three strategies that will help your data migration run smoothly include:

  1. Ensure your user base is well informed, and obtain early buy-in from them. Your user base will benefit from a full understanding of the new system and its features. Executing an enterprise public relations campaign can help spread the word.
  2. Understand that migration requirements include not only what you’ll need for the new system, but also how you want to decommission the old system, and whether you will archive your data.
  3. Lastly, find a migration strategy that supports and aligns with your business needs. Does a one-time (“Big Bang”) data migration make sense? Can you afford and run a quick migration over a weekend? What about a co-existence/incremental migration? This style of migration can move at the pace of your business, and it allows users to migrate in stages.
Big Bang vs. Incremental Data Migration Scenario

Walterscheid’s migration project with PROSTEP was highly successful. Kirk Jones, Product Engineering Supervisor, Walterscheid Powertrain Group adds “The proposed project timeline was realistic, reasonable, and ultimately achieved to within a week of the original outlined schedule.”

SONACA Group’s Luc Detollenaere, Manager PLM & Digital Projects indicates that the “…reason for choosing PROSTEP was the powerful tools and functions for automating the migration process and controlling the quality of the results.”  In the end, PROSTEP helped to successfully migrate SONACA Group’s Enovia VPM instances to Teamcenter.

Data migration success at these and many other companies couldn’t occur without PROSTEP’s OpenPDM Migrate – the PLM migration and integration platform that allows PDM information exchange between different systems. Learn more about OpenPDM Migrate and the toolkit to enable product data exchange in this guide to data migration, PROSTEP’s Data Migration Blueprint.

Author: Joseph Lopez

Joseph is an experienced marketing professional with a demonstrated history of working in the engineering and information technology and services industry. He is skilled in marketing strategy, search engine optimization (SEO), copywriting and web design. With a Master of Computer Information Systems focused in Management Information Systems from University of Detroit Mercy, Joseph is a lifelong learner and passionate about business, marketing and sales. 


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