Aras is the leading provider of enterprise open source Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software solutions. Freedom from licensing eliminates up-front expenses and per user costs while superior technology makes Aras the most advanced enterprise PLM solution suite available. Customers include Motorola, Freudenberg, GE, Hitachi, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, Textron and TEVA Pharmaceuticals. Aras is privately held with global headquarters in Andover, MA.
Because the PLM process tends to be multi-user and interactive, PLM solutions need to accommodate collaboration, as well as providing markup and visualization capabilities. The PLM process involves many tools besides the PLM solution itself: e-mail and IM for collaboration, CAD tools and viewers for visualization, and various solutions for markup in 2D and 3D. But ideally, a PLM solution should be all-in-one, a single, comprehensive solution that integrates all PLM activities and users.
The design solution was to enhance Aras Innovator with three key abilities:
- Collaboration (discussion threads, feeds)
- Visualization (3D and 2D)
- Markup (in 3D and 2D)
Why AMC Bridge?
At the time Aras decided to start implementation of Microsoft Office connector for Aras Innovator, AMC Bridge had already successfully completed a number of development projects for Aras. Previous experience with the development of connectors for multiple PDM/PLM systems, in conjunction with the overall technical skills and reliability as a development partner, made AMC Bridge the perfect choice as a new product implementation partner for Aras.
Key technical and operational challenges include:
- 3D Visualization
Many different 3D formats may be used in the PLM process. For true visual collaboration, all of these need to be supported and rendered in a browser window.
- PDF Visualization
For true visual collaboration, PDFs must be viewable in a browser
As a part of collaboration capabilities, 3D and 2D viewers need to have markup abilities
- Collaboration Data Model
Aras Innovator utilizes many different kinds of data. A true collaborative data model must be flexible enough to support them all, if not from the start, then with additional configuration
At the start of the project, Aras provided detailed project specifications for the desired functionality. On receipt of initial project specifications, the AMC Bridge team thoroughly reviewed the documentation, clarified requirements with an Aras product definition specialist, estimated the time required for each task, and proposed a development schedule approved by the Aras project manager.
After project development began, the quality assurance engineer assigned to the project developed a set of test plans for the product, which were approved by the Aras project manager.
In order to keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of development and quality assurance, weekly conference calls were set up with the full team. These provided an excellent forum for resolving integration issues in a timely manner.
Project development was accomplished in iterations, providing deliverables of the developed functionality on a regular basis. This made it possible for the quality assurance engineer to test each iteration, for product definition specialists to ensure that the functionality was properly implemented, and for user interactions to be continuously evaluated and improved.
AMC Bridge Performance
The quality of work delivered by AMC Bridge exceeded client expectations:
- AMC Bridge provided quality results based on project specifications.
- AMC Bridge proved resourceful at filling in gaps and providing experience-based solutions.
- During stabilization of the solutions AMC Bridge proved to be quick and responsive, with short turnaround time.
- Project development was completed well within schedule and budget.