I attended Aras 2010 user conference which held in Shanghai several days ago. Aras claims that it owns 250 customers in different industries, 61 partners companies(every region covered),installations in 124 countries, 8 language packs, 350+trained Aras engineers. What aroused my interest is Aras has some successful stories in Food/Chemical/Medical industries. According to the schedule, the later seminar will be held by different vertical industry. But the Food/chemical/Medical seminar was cancelled since no attendee came from those industry .So lately, Aras only shared some case study in high tech, Automotive, and Design house in the morning session.
Here are some customer provided by Aras:
Carestream Health, weiquan food,NOK,TPK,Textron systems,Xerox,PCC,huiyou,Hi-P,ACCO,etc.
In order to offer complete solution, Aras invited some partners join this conference.So in the afternoon session, Actify's partner introduced “Embedded viewer/MS SharePoint PLM” with Aras. Besides that, Aras organized 3 other seminars: the topic are: Solutions packaging and database upgrade; Federation and Integration; Multi-site &Vaults replication.
During the question time , I asked a question to Aras global Alliance VP Andreas Mueller. The question is "Since Aras innovator lacks some module, will Aras encourage the partners or 3rd party to develop some application and run it like appstore? Cause this will help SMB who doesn't has too much resource to do the customization." Adreas responded "it is impossible to run it like appstore in PLM market, cause every customer has each own specific requirement. "
Here are some takeaways:
- Though Aras claims it offers enterprise scale PLM, but some modules lacks depth, such as project/program management, variants/sales configurator, CAPA,FMEA etc; Some big company adopted it, but regards it more like toolkit which needs heavy customization.
- Still lacks important functionality, like "requirement management and traceability", "manufacturing BOM and process planning" etc. Aras seems don't have enough source for developing those important functionality and claims it needs stakeholders to vote on roadmap items to help Aras set priorities. The next major release just includes "Document management improvements, workflow updates, visual migration tool".
- Aras claims that it has been integrated with SharePoint, but it was not showed in the conference. but the partner Actify showed its webparts for SharePoint
- The profit of Aras comes from service(consulting,upgrate,implementation) rather than license. Since API has open to public, the customization could be done by customers' internal IT guys. If their profit is limited, how could Aras ensure the further investment for R&D.