(Eng) Our five most popular videos about Aras Innovator

Posted on January 25, 2012

Our marketing target at Minerva is to make sure that every time we advertise about Aras Innovator PLM solution, we create value. This is value for us but also for our customers and leads who can discover new developments actually working, and can have new ideas about how Aras Innovator could help them in their day-to-day tasks. So, we’re not publishing a lot of slideshows about the features we could provide on a powerpoint, we are simply presenting the solution demonstrating how it works just like we were in the same room showing you the software live. If you haven’t followed our activities and our youtube channels lately, here are the 5 most viewed video about Aras Innovator we’ve published during the last 2 years!

1.(English) Aras Innovator Dynamic Tree Browser 0.15

2. (French) PLM – Aras Feature #2

3.(French) PLM – Aras Innovator on Firefox

4. (English) PLM – Aras Innovator – Office Connector – Preview2

5. (French) PLM DataModel Study – Aras2UMLv1.1

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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(Fr) “Faites-vous des AMDEC? non, mais on devrait!”

Posted on January 20, 2012

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(Eng) AWS Amazon DynamoDB – Database on the cloud

Posted on January 19, 2012

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(Fr) Mitek, l’exemple de déploiement distribué

Posted on January 18, 2012

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(Eng) “Process leads, Tools must enable”

Posted on January 17, 2012

process_tools_whiteThis is a line I just read again in one of the first books I’ve work with to learn about PLM. This book is the one about CMII called “CMII for Business Process Infrastructure” by Vincent C. Guess. First of all, what I like about the group managing CMII is their interest in process and their apparant independance from softwares. I’m not saying that to explain that they must be cool. I’m saying that because I think, and I wrote that in that blog many times, Process and Tools should be studied, acquired and managed separately. The process is the smart things you need to think about in order to make your business more efficient while someone else needs to make sure that he will provide you with the good tools in order to run the process you defined.

The business reality

Well, issue is, I’ve almost never seen this setup with independance and transparencies between roles in this three-roles’ group gathering: the customer, the process specialist and the technology editor. Why that? First thing is, there are very few independent consulting companies in PLM. And for those who will say that we’re no better, that’s true. But I consider myself more as a provider of a PLM-enabling technology with at the same time an industrial background as a former Process Engineer. So back to the “business reality” I was mentioning, yes it is difficult to find consultants without having them already selling you the tool. And we have seen PLM integrator trying to promote more than one system in order to expand their market and it usually had some impact on the lead distribution from the editor!

Different roles, different presentations, shared decisions

This is a key point in the buying process of a PLM strategy including process optimization and enabling-tools deployment. Roles have to be clearly defined on wether people can decide about process optimizer quality/performance or if they can decide on the technology side. And I’ve seen all the situation in meetings: Some people will want to see a big show about how easy it will be to create and produce a super system with CAD, CAM, … talking to each other like in a fantastic tower of babel. Some will focus on the technical benefit, they want to see the use of standards like XML, webservices, STEP,… So sometimes I was meeting one person of a kind or even both at the same time but the issue was, I was never able to have two speeches. And as I think that a PLM strategy should more drive to a buying process from the users than a selling process from the PLM solution provider, here’s what I think would be the best: Make sure to separate meetings and presentations between Process enhancers and technology suppliers. Ask Process people to make sure they only talk about process and ask technology providers to show their software. And do it for each provider. It’s a lot easier to show functional miracles on PowerPoint than it is to show a software that works well and live!

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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(Eng) Standards for Process/Workflow management

Posted on January 9, 2012

StandardWorkflowPart of my continuous improvement process in this enterprise product lifecycle environment is to keep an eye on standards. When I started to work in PLM, mainly with Aras Innovator the first few discussions I had about standards were with Professor Pascal Morenton from Ecole Centrale de Paris. We were mainly discussing about how Aras Innovator was able to work with a datamodel which would comply with the AP214 standard regarding the Product – Part – Document section of the data-model. More recenlty I talked about some other standards in this blog like the whole collection of xml standards managed by OASIS. That was at a time I was focusing on standards to describe invoices. And as workflows and lifecycles are some of the main features of a PLM system, I was wondering if there were some standard defined. As some of you may know, I mainly focused on XML so we’ll explore standards with this description format.

Some Standard to handle Process/Workflows

I recently made some search on potential standards about workflows and lifecycles and I stumbled upon this document from 2002. As the document is almost 10 years old, I wondered if anyone have had a use out of it. So I used my tiny Twitter network with no success.

tweet_workflow_standard

I wonder if any of the existing BPM solution or PLM solutions, is using a standard or at least a common way to describe and manage a workflow.

So, the first thing to watch is the data-model. And this document presents what is the data model of a Workflow Process Definition and also the data-model of a Workflow package containing processes, participants,…

Standard datamodel workflow

Workflow_packages

I won’t go too much into details to talk about this models. The idea is just to show that there are some open structured definitions of a workflow which my have to be improved as the document hasen’t changed for years. Once the definition of the whole workflow model is set up, they show how they implement it with a real life example. Following is a simple order process:

eorder_sample

If then, you read the document, you’ll see that accordingly to the workflow datamodel defintion, they define the order workflow example with an XSD schema. And this is an important element to me as XML is just everywhere on the web. And from xsd schema you can easily create robust User Interfaces which will comply to the defined model.

XSDresultat

So, this definition exists… are there others? I don’t know and I would welcome any reference or any suggestion of such information. While functionnal consultants will work on standard process like CMII workflows for change management, we need to provide some standard basis to help the interoperability of systems and the understanding of how the system they are using works.

The Aras Innovator way

Being an active professionnal member of the Aras Community, I’ve tried to check if Aras was close to the same way of managing the workflow information. In order to do so, I’ve used our tool Aras2UML and I extracted the objects which were included in the process definition.

workflowmap_definition

Some of the information we see here is close to the previous definition but there are differences that let us understand that it was not based on a standard. This is the only software I can really dive into to check that, but i’m pretty sure they all have different data-models.

A huge benefit for migrations

Migrating workflows never is an easy task and you always come up with an important loss of information from your legacy system. This is mainly because mapping these different data-models is most of the time very complicated. This is a dynamic part of the PLM mixing workflow definitions and their instanciation through workflow maps. If you have different ways of managing workflows, most of the time you’ll state that most of the instanciated workflows that are not finished will not be migrated.

Conclusion

It took me a while to write this article (holidays haven’t helped) and during this time, Oleg Shilovitsky made another article about Process simplification and the importance of Business Process management. This is an important topic to cover as I’ve seen during presentations that editing a workflow in front of a prospect is really one of the keypoint where he can see the software helping him on a daily basis for all his regular processes. My thought about that, and it’s just about working on a different level, we need to push editors to use standards or at least clear data-models before building new UIs and new features. I’m not sure yet about what would be the selling point for the editor by mentioning that he follows a certain standard but there must be some. I definitely miss a lot of information and experience for this article and I’m sure I’ll get back to this topic later.  In the mean time, feel free to chat with me about it.

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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(Fr) Office Connector v2 pour Aras Innovator

Posted on January 3, 2012

OfficeArasV2Comme je l’ai déjà présenté, Minerva, dans la continuité de la démarche de Prodeos n’a pas pour seule vocation de vendre du service, nous avons aussi pour objectif de packager des produits et des modèles de données pour permettre d’accélérer les implémentations de fonctionnalités et dans le même temps réduire les coûts de déploiement de votre projet PLM. En ce début d’année, nous lançons donc la deuxième version de notre connecteur Office après des semaines de tests et d’améliorations en coopération avec toutes les équipes de Minerva en Grande-Bretagne, au Benelux et dans les pays scandinaves, mais aussi grâce à la coopération avec nos clients nous permettant de valider le fonctionnement du produit sur un maximum d’environnements.

Cette nouvelle version a quelques fonctionnalités ajoutées qui aident grandement à la gestion de documents en lien avec Aras Innovator.

  • La reproduction du formulaire de document permet de gérer les méta-données du document sans faire d’aller-retour entre l’application Office et Aras Innovator
  • La synchronisation de champs du document avec le fichier Office vous permet de récupérer les informations des méta-données telles que la version, la génération, les responsables ou même certaines valeurs et ainsi les intégrer dans vos impressions.
  • La customisation de la barre d’outil devient beaucoup plus simple, choisissez le label à faire apparaître et sélectionnez la variable Aras Innovator correspondante.
  • Le lancement de l’application office avec les modèles de document depuis Aras Innovator vous permettant de toujours partir du cœur d’une solution plm : la définition du produit.
  • L’installation du connecteur depuis l’application Office facilite sa mise en place, surtout dans le cadre d’une période d’évaluation.

Je vous propose donc cette vidéo de présentation pour mieux en apprécier le fonctionnement.

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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(Fr) Bonne Année PLM 2012

Posted on January 2, 2012

BonneAnnee2012Bonjour et bonne année 2012 à tous! Je vous la souhaite pleine de réussite dans vos projets. J’espère à travers ce blog, passer une nouvelle année à traiter d’un maximum de sujets autour du PLM en apportant mon expérience qui s’enrichie au fil des projets, mais aussi votre expérience à travers les témoignages que je reçois et que l’on m’autorise à partager à travers ce site et bien sûr à travers vos réactions sur chaque sujet qui permettent d’alimenter les discussions et d’enrichir les futurs articles.

Pendant cette période de fêtes de fin d’année, j’ai écrit quelques articles que j’ai préféré conserver pour la nouvelle année pour m’assurer que les lecteurs du blog seraient d’aplomb pour de nouvelles discussions. Avant donc de les publier je vous ai préparé la liste de mes 5 articles préférés de 2011. Il n’y a pas de relation avec l’affluence que chaque article a eu. J’explique pour chaque article pourquoi je l’ai retenu.

A l’époque où j’écrivais cet article, j’intervenais dans le cadre de projets de migrations de données avec de grands volumes d’information et je trouvais important de parler de certains éléments de base du PLM à respecter dans de tels projets.

L’article sur Google a été assez amusant. Il n’y a pas d’activité de Google sur l’édition d’une solution PLM mais j’avais écrit cet article suite à la publication d’une offre d’emploi en interne chez Google qui cherchait une personne qualifiée sur une solution PLM qu’ils utilisent. C’est une des plus grandes affluences sur le Blog et la source de certains emails amusants comme certaines personnes qui me demandaient de faire de la veille pour elles pour les prochains postes à paraître chez Google.

Je risque de continuer à en parler de manière assez importante, l’XML est un élément technique très important dans la gestion de données structurées et dans la définition de standards de données à échanger. Cet article permettait de présenter des utilités de standards en XML qui peuvent servir à tous.

Article de remise en question qui accompagnait une ouverture de poste que nous avions réalisée. La question du consultant PLM est très importante. Savoir quelles sont les capacités requises et les connaissances nécessaire à acquérir, tout cela est primordial dans la recherche des meilleurs collaborateurs.

Enfin, un article beaucoup plus récents et lié aux capacités techniques de la solution Aras Innovator dont nous sommes le partenaire français. La multiplication de projets pilotes PLM est une vraie stratégie d’implémentation pour laquelle je prépare de nouveaux articles et qui, je pense, pourra débloquer de nombreuses situations de projets d’implémentation de solutions PLM qui avancent trop lentement.

Voilà donc ma liste des articles qu’il ne faut pas avoir manqué en 2011. Maintenant je vais faire en sorte que cette liste soit encore plus riche l’année prochaine. Encore une fois, je vous souhaite une très bonne année PLM 2012 !

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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