3DExperience Solutions

3DExperience Solutions – the new Dassault Systèmes strategy

June 2013

The basis for this article is given by discussions held with Andreas Barth, Managing Director, Volker Klare, Director Sales Enablement & Consultancy, and Steffi Dondit, Public Affairs – all from Dassault Systèmes Deutschland Eurocentral. Its goal is to explain the content and aims of the new Dassault Systèmes market strategy and also new terms or those taken from other industries that may still need some explanation in the context of PLM.

The motive: Selling through features and functions is outdated

We have become used to it – the differences between competitors in the engineering software market can be determined through the particular features and functions offered in the provider's application that other providers either do not have, or which are better implemented in one application than in another. In one software system, for example, requirements can be recorded and their implementation tracked throughout the development of the product. Another, however, offers tracking of requirements, but does not have its own recording module.

PLM Evolution towards 3DExperience

Picture 1: The PLM evolution

The large systems, which were created to support all kinds of engineering activities and their management, and which continue to grow accordingly, have now reached a level of complexity such that there is no longer anyone who can even begin to maintain that he or she even approximately knows which features and functions the system contains. It has to be a really special function to let one provider score off another, either because this function did not previously exist or because the way it is used is so fundamentally different that the market immediately takes note. Due to the scope of the functions offered by all normal commercial systems, it has in the past years become more and more difficult to explain even to long-term users how many functions exist, and in which modules, whenever a new version appears. This is one reason that has motivated Dassault Systèmes to distance itself from this kind of approach to the market.

The second reason is to be found in the fact that due to company mergers and the acquisition of products and companies, the portfolio of offerings has expanded so much that it is difficult to include them all under an umbrella term such as “Engineering Software”. Is a tool for pure 3D visualization still part of Engineering? Or a search engine? Or a tool for managing a community in the Internet?

The third motive for the new strategy was the fact that the products that are developed and manufactured with the help of Dassault Systèmes software are becoming more and more complex and their innovation cycles are getting shorter and shorter. Technical systems developed in a multidisciplinary environment, automobiles networked over the Internet, embedded software, actuators and sensors everywhere – the software tool must be able to handle them all. Even how quickly and simply it can be used anywhere and everywhere – and at any time – plays a role. This is the part of the new strategy that is addressed by Cloud.

The fourth trigger was the desire to address new markets whose product development and manufacture could in many cases derive immediate benefits from customer best practices that already exist in core sectors. The Consumer Packaged Goods industry, for example, has to battle with requirements whose complexity is in some respects very similar to that found in transportation.

Finally the fact that Dassault Systèmes, by acquiring the direct sales and marketing operation of its earlier exclusive partner IBM, was now in a position to offer its solutions in a more industry-focused manner certainly played a role. The English-language term “3DExperience” may be difficult to understand in some other languages but with this newly developed platform it impressively demonstrates the vision that Dassault Systèmes has set its sights on. The goal is to offer visualization of products and data as far as possible in 3D to all of industry and also to industry's end customers. Putting it slightly differently – navigation through all company processes by means of 3D.

From PLM to the 3DExperience

The term “Digital Experience” was not coined by Dassault Systèmes. Apple and Apple Store operators across the globe use this term, as do trade event organizers and the manufacturers of digital or digitizing products of all types. Microsoft and Samsung use it and so do camera manufacturers and automobile companies.

Experience Economy Joe Pine

Picture 2: "Experience Economy" by Joe Pine

What is the term understood to mean? Monica Menghini, Senior Marketing Vice President at Dassault Systèmes, refers to the theories contained in the “Experience Economy” published in 1999 by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore when explaining the new strategy.

In short, the authors take the standpoint that following industrial production and the supply of services, the economy is developing into an experience economy. Value is no longer created by sales of products or services but by sales with an associated experience factor. The customer no longer pays for the product or the service, but for the experience that he or she associates with the product and the manufacturer.

3DExperience Examples

Picture 3: 3DExperience examples

In Apple’s case, this resulted in a new kind of business outlet that customers in the first instance visit not because they want to buy a particular product, but because they belong to the Apple community and can experience exactly that in the Store and with the Apple products. Only these products give them the “experience” and for this they are prepared to pay more than for functionally similar products from the competition. Nespresso and Starbucks take the same approach, selling their coffee to customers as a special experience.

The second part of the term “Experience” refers to the emotional experience associated with delving into virtual digital worlds. Computer games increasingly “chain” players – the more real the world of the game appears to be, the more the player feels that he is part of the game through his interaction with it. New marketing methods arising from the world of games are also appearing in industry, for example those known as “serious gaming”.

With 3DExperience, Dassault Systèmes has acted on this theory and extended it with the 3D visualization element to include virtual reality and augmented reality, i.e. technologies that impart the feeling of real immersion in the digital world.

In addition to the sale of products, the Dassault Systèmes 3DExperience platform lets the user experience a three-dimensional world. All of the products offered by the supplier will in future be embedded in this platform, from CATIA and ENOVIA through to Exalead and 3DVIA.

V6, originally developed as a new version of the PLM software, is the architecture that forms the backbone of the platform. This, however, is of no concern to the customer since he uses industry-specific solution building blocks tailored to his needs. Dassault Systèmes now builds these solution building blocks with 3DExperience solutions.

The vendor wants to kill two birds with one stone. On one hand, this strategy should reach out to new markets, industries and users who could not be addressed by previous marketing because they are not directly a part of industrial engineering or because engineering in these industries does not play such a prominent role. On the other hand, customers and users should be freed from the necessity of having to work through the functions of a particular software program in order to determine whether, and how, the program can help them with a particular task. Instead, they are offered solutions that directly address these tasks.

The vendor now has a total of 10 brands in his portfolio. Behind these brands there are hundreds of software modules. The brands and individual products will in future take a backseat behind industry-specific solutions that are available for the application in question.

3DExperience for 12 industries

Dassault Systèmes has a large customer base, mainly in industries that can be regarded as core industries. Large numbers of the products that form the 10 brands are used in these core industries, and the supplier’s name is trusted just as much as his software systems are. The four core industries are Transportation and Mobility, Industrial Equipment, Marine and Offshore, and Aerospace and Defense. These currently represent the largest portion of the overall business.

The supplier has, however, also set his sights on eight other industries in which up until now he has not been so heavily represented or known. Growth in the coming years should primarily come from High-Tech, Consumer Packaged Goods and Retail, Architecture, Engineering and Construction, Energy, Process and Utilities technologies, consumer durables Consumer Goods & Retail, Finance and Business services , Life Sciences and Natural Resources.

3DS industries

Picture 4: 3DS industries

Although new growth should come from the new industries, Dassault Systèmes is committed to continue to support its most important existing sectors to the full extent. As we shall see, this is also shown by the fact that the first 3DExperience solutions have been defined for the automobile and the industrial equipment industries.

For all 12 of the industries named above, existing solutions will be completed or created in the coming years in such a manner that each one optimally supports a specific section of the value creation process. Every industry has several segments such as car, truck, bus, racing car, motorcycles and trains, but also segments that include engineering services suppliers, component suppliers or systems manufacturers.

For every single one of these sectors and subsectors, Dassault Systèmes is now putting together industry-specific solutions from existing modules or developing new ones. This process follows a general pattern that can be roughly described as follows:

  1. An initial investigation is made into what trends and market requirements break down into specific initiatives for an individual industry.
  2. In a second step, a range of solutions is defined that can respond to the most important challenges.
  3. The third step consists of subdividing a solution into a range of so-called Industry Process Experiences in which the specific functions of the various software tools are combined for particular processes.

Practical example: Smart, Safe & Connected


Picture 5: Smart, Safe & Connected (www.3ds.com)

Let us take an example that is already on the market and is well-suited to show the 3DExperience strategy. Smart, Safe & Connected is one of the first solutions to be made available for the automobile industry. For manufacturers of cars and small vans, a total of seven Solution Experiences have been defined up until now: My Car Experience; Lean, Green & Compliant; Smart, Safe & Connected; Modular, Glocal & Secure; Target Zero Defect; Production Execution; Services & Aftersales.

What trends and challenges were identified for the third Solution Experience, Smart, Safe & Connected? Cars are becoming smart because more than 80% of innovation comes from the functionality of embedded software systems that, with gigabytes and millions of lines of source code and with 50 to 80 control units, have to fulfill more than 30,000 requirements. This makes the vehicle enormously complex and increases the pressure to achieve more safety and quality while at the same time lowering development costs. The answers lie in increasing standardization and validation at the earliest possible moment.


Picture 6: SSC-Behavior-Modeling-Simulation

The experience aimed for that motivates the car manufacturer to undertake this is formulated by Dassault Systèmes with the newly-promoted trademark “If We” – in this case something like: If we integrate new infotainment and mobility features, can we better address young customers in Western countries? Or: If we connect cars to each other, can we reach the “zero accident” goal?

What does the car manufacturer have to do to fulfill the requirements of the market? And what Industry Process Experience that help him do so can Dassault Systèmes offer him on his platform?

In our Smart, Safe & Connected example, this turned out to be seven process experiences. This number is arrived at by chance since, just as for the Solutions Experiences, the result could have been three, four or nine Industry Process Experiences. This depends entirely on the industry concerned and its value creation process and naturally also on the functionality that Dassault Systèmes is capable of delivering.

The seven process experiences are:

  • E/E architecture definition
  • Early validation and simulation
  • Embedded software development
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Active and passive safety optimization
  • Integration, test and validation
  • Functional safety delivery

Development also takes special industry-specific subjects into account, these being integrated by means of the process experience. In the case of Smart, Safe & Connected these are the areas of Functional Mockup Interface (FMI) for exchange of simulation data or the CO simulation of heterogeneous systems, AUTOSAR (software architecture for embedded systems – exchange of control unit software) and ISO26262 (ensuring the functional safety of a vehicle).

For each of these seven process experiences, a check is made regarding where the experience can be employed in the value creation steps between concept and production start. For example the first one, which is used to record requirements and describe the architecture necessary for the logical implementation of the electrical and electronic components, supports product development from concept through to design approval.

From these definitions of the industry process experience it is easy to see which end users in the automobile industry they are tailored for and what group of persons they are aimed at. Each of the process experiences comprises functions taken from differing software programs that only achieve their purpose when taken together and based on the joint platform.

Instead of offering a CAD product or a visualization tool together with a data management system, Dassault Systèmes offers solutions. The solution building blocks implemented for this purpose are defined by the customer with his application scenarios. As industrial solution components, Smart, Safe & Connected taken together support the development of electrical and electronic architectures, behavioral modeling and simulation, electrical and electronic equipment as well as the operational safety of the vehicle.

3DS goes into the Cloud with Compass

The newly compiled Solution Experiences will not only be offered as in the past as a CD or a DVD (and here again Dassault Systèmes takes Apple and other suppliers of digital experience as their example) and no longer as packages that are sold by Sales and then installed on the customer site, even though former products will remain available for a considerable period of time. In the course of the coming years, most software products will be made available as an App in the Cloud or via hosted services. This also entails reformation of the existing license system, since in future the focus will not be on a license for a purchased software package but payment for the use of the experience.

3DExperience CompassUsage itself will also be dramatically different from the practice today. The Compass, already well known, will actually function as a start button, with the user controlling his Apps in the Internet, Extranet, Intranet (on-line) or as previously via the PC (on premises) in the same way as he controls and switches on or off his Apps using the start button on a smartphone as needed. This is made possible by the 3DExperience platform, which connects the user to his applications on the premises, online or in a public or private Cloud. In line with the strategy, the user interface of the 3DS solution portfolio will be reworked, modernized and modified to cater for the requirements of mobile devices. CATIA on an iPad – just one of tomorrow's possibilities!

Cloud Services

Picture 8: Cloud Services

As in other social networks, a 3DS (as Dassault Systèmes now calls itself) customer will feel himself part of a large 3DExperience community. Social network functionality has been included in the 3DS portfolio for quite some time and is already intensively used in-house.

This makes 3DS the first PLM supplier to fundamentally reposition itself. No longer as a supplier of engineering software but as a supplier of services for industry and also as the first supplier to offer a digital experience that makes the real experience tangible by means of 3D.

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