People are always asking me about the architectural benefits of Aras Innovator, so I sat down with Aras CEO and Founder Peter Schroer to get the real deal.
Question: Why doesn't out-of-the-box enterprise software work?
Peter: Because the software never matches what you need, no matter how smart the guy writing it may be. It'll never fit the unique, real-world requirements of your business out-of-the-box, no matter how standards-based, simple or robust it is. How can a company that produces cereal, one that builds auto parts, another making surgical tools and one building airplanes have the same requirements and use identical PLM solutions? It just doesn't work like that. For each and every company, the order-to-cash processes are different, the customer acquisition processes are different, the product design process is different, and they all have different regulatory requirements.
Question: Why can't people get to a "best-fit" solution easier? What's wrong with software today?
Peter: Essentially, it's been too difficult [and/or costly] to modify the software to fit your processes. It's been even more difficult to modify that software again six months from now because your processes have evolved. And, assuming you're able to modify the software and get it into production, with all that modification it's now close to impossible to upgrade it. This is because legacy enterprise software technology allows customization through very "clever" abstractions of the object model vs. the relational database design. The more you customize and the larger the data set, the more these abstractions create scalability and performance issues. It's a huge problem.
Question: So what's the answer for companies worldwide?
Peter: Enterprise software architecture needs to be more dynamic. At Aras, we like to think of this concept as liquid software. You know, like the T-1000 in Terminator, liquid metal guy. He can shape shift, recover rapidly, morph... that's what enterprise software has to do and it's what Aras Innovator® does today. We coupled a Web services catalogue of PLM significant tools with a modeling engine that implements a dynamic object model. Two important aspects of the Aras modeling engine are 1) model changes can be made in real time while users are on the system and 2) all model changes are directly implemented in SQL-schema, which is incredibly important.
Question: What exactly does this mean and why is it important?
Peter: This means that as the PLM operating model changes, Aras Innovator is directly adding, deleting, and modifying tables, columns, indexes, and constraints in the database. Only through this technique can the system performance and scalability leverage the native power of the underlying database engine. Typical legacy enterprise software systems maintain an abstraction layer which gets deeper, wider, and more complex with each customization. The more you customize, the farther the end-user is separated from the underlying SQL tables. The Aras modeling engine implements all changes at database level. Because of this, customizations do not affect performance and scalability.
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Wed, Sep 19 2012 1:17 PM