Reaching a Tipping Point
In the PLM business, CIMdata’s “PLM Mind Share Leaders” list is a trusted resource for understanding which companies are making the largest impact on the PLM industry. Companies that get on this coveted list join the likes of Dassault Systèmes, Siemens PLM, Autodesk, SAP, PTC, IBM and Oracle. The last few years have seen little change in the lineup and many industry commentators have suspected the “music had stopped” and the chairs were full.
Earlier this year, when CIMdata released their 2017 annual report on the state of the PLM Market, there was a new name: Aras Corp, the developers of Innovator. How had this relatively small PLM provider battle its way onto the list? While Aras has been enjoying many years of modest growth and adoption, this year’s windfall accomplishments couldn’t be ignored by CIMdata. Clearly, Aras has reached a tipping point and the industry is taking notice.
Milestones and Advancements
CIMdata’s criteria for joining the list are:
- size and scope of PLM implementations
- technology completeness, and
- thought leadership
By all three of these measures, Aras has shaken up the industry in the last few years. On the adoption and implementation front, recent wins include General Motors (50,000 seats) and global automotive supplier Schaeffler Group (20,000 seats). Other notable wins in the last few years include Huntington-Ingalls, Airbus, Microsoft, and Hitachi, among others. These new accounts have totaled over 100,000 additional users.
From a technology perspective, Aras has built a reputation as a technology that “just works” and is highly configurable and robust. While Aras continues to improve and add to its suite of preconfigured application - document management, visual collaboration, configuration management, and many more – they have invested heavily in the underlying technology platform. This strategic choice to mold Innovator into a powerful application platform is allowing PLM to extend beyond engineering and design to the “headwaters” of product data such as sales and quoting. On the other end of the product lifecycle spectrum, Aras is adding new solutions geared to manufacturing including their manufacturing process planning (MPP) module. Many industry analysts see the future of PLM as an application platform and Aras Innovator is clearly leading the charge.
Beyond technology, Aras has been challenging the status quo and overturning common assumption about enterprise PLM for nearly a decade. As a result, the leadership at Aras has emerged as key thought leaders in the space. Their hybrid open source business model allows anyone to download Aras Innovator and use it for free. For more serious users and larger companies, a subscription option provides access to additional features, training and support. However, the most compelling benefit of subscribing is the guaranteed upgrade. As any PLM veteran knows, this is highly unprecedented in the industry.
Continued Momentum with $40 Million VC Investment
To add to Aras’ momentum, they recently announced that Silver Lake Kraftwerk, along with GE Ventures, are participating in a $40 million investment round. This investment is a huge validation of their long-term goals. In a joint statement, Aras said it will be utilizing this investment round to expand its global sales activities and accelerate its product roadmap. As a point of comparison, the industry’s only other independent PLM provider, Arena, has raised a total of $49.95 million while this recent investment round puts Aras’ total at $68.2 million.