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Engineering Data to Manage but no PLM? Synergis Says No Problem

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I had the chance to talk with … the team at Synergis Software about their engineering document management solution, Adept. Synergis focuses on providing a simple solution to manage engineering documents – including CAD files – than a full PLM solution. For companies without big plans for PLM, particularly smaller companies, Synergis offers an alternative option. Perhaps they are on to something, 2009 was a tough year in our industry and Synergis reports having a very good year.

What do they Do?

First and foremost Adept is not a PLM system. Some would probably call it Product Data Management (PDM), but certainly not PLM. The solution is intended to help companies get control of their engineering information. The solution primarily manages documents. On the other hand, Synergis can help solve some PLM problems. One of the core needs for PLM is to get data under control. Engineers have documents of all types, including office productivity applications like spreadsheets. This is what Adept is designed to manage.

But most engineers also manage CAD files in Adept. In fact, Synergis has invested in integration with SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor that rivals many PDM systems. They have developed an integrated plug-in that sits in SolidWorks that allows users to perform searches and do check-in/check-out from a right-hand pane in SolidWorks. They have integrated with Inventor as well, and have announced a new plug-in application for that environment.

What do they Offer

In short, Synergis offers a simpler alternative to PLM. Or for architectural engineering, it is simpler than Building Information Management (BIM). Whether you call it “engineering document management” or PDM, Adept is an application that helps companies manage complex CAD and engineering documents.The solution does not have all of the capabilities that a full PLM system would have (see PLM, Please Take 3 Giant Steps Forward), but for some companies might be just what they need to solve a very tangible issue. To make acquisition of the solution easier, they also offer a subscription pricing option for the same solution.

Who do they Work with?

Synergis says that 70% of their customers are in the manufacturing industries. Of course, not all of those are managing product designs in Adept. Many are managing plant / line / equipment information. Synergis also counts companies in the utilities industry, oil & gas, and mining equipment in their customer base. In short, they serve industries that have a lot of engineering documents to manage.

So that’s what I hear from Synergis Software, I hope you found it useful. What do you think? What else should I have asked them?

SPEAK YOUR MIND

  1. Thanks Jim for the post. One thing I’d like to clarify is that Adept currently does not provide CAD integration for Pro/E. Other than that I’d like to know if others found this article useful and relevant.

  2. Thanks Jim for the post. One thing I'd like to clarify is that Adept currently does not provide CAD integration for Pro/E. Other than that I'd like to know if others found this article useful and relevant.

  3. As a user and administrator of Adept I can tell you that you probably won’t find better tech. support than what they provide. Imagine sending an e-mail asking for help and receiving a phone call with a solution to your problem in less than 15 minutes. Yeah, they rock.

  4. As a user and administrator of Adept I can tell you that you probably won't find better tech. support than what they provide. Imagine sending an e-mail asking for help and receiving a phone call with a solution to your problem in less than 15 minutes. Yeah, they rock.

  5. What I don’t fully understand is why would they be better than a PLM system, by providing less functionality they would limit the company from growing into adopting more of it as their processes mature. Are they much, much cheaper than PLM? Or are there other inherent comparative benefit in such a solution, that PLM systems can’t provide?

    • Paolo,
      You ask two excellent questions and bring up an excellent point:

      Question 1 – Are they much cheaper than PLM? I have not done any direct pricing comparisons, but I believe the solution is less expensive. I also believe that simplicity can lead to a less expensive implementation.

      Question 2 – Are there benefits that PLM can’t offer? No, not that I am aware of.

      So it comes down to cost and ease of use. From what I have seen, Synergis does very well in head-to-head comparisons against PLM vendors. I believe these are two factors they compete on.

      The other point you make is whether this will limit the companies in the future. You may have heard me talk about the “PLM Program” which is a tactical, step-wise approach to the strategic benefits of PLM. The point I make is that it does make sense to set a foundation on which you can grow, and that it’s important to have a strategy up front. I wrote about this a few times, and did some benchmark work on the topic while at Aberdeen Group. So I fully understand and agree with your comment.

      So, what would I suggest to a potential customer?

      1 – Set a PLM strategy
      2 – If that PLM strategy involves more than engineering / product data management, they probably want to invest in PLM. If it doesn’t, then they might want to consider a simpler solution.

      The question that this raises in my mind, which I have yet to explore, is whether an engineering data management impelementation can serve as a foundation / stepping stone to PLM. It would require a change in application, but isn’t the biggest challenge in a data management implementation getting the data in a manageable, consistent format? How easily could that be converted to a PLM system when the time came to evolve? I don’t have the answer, but that is a question I would ask if I were a manufacturer with relatively simple short-term needs and no significant goals for PLM in the future.

      Any insight on my question?

      Thanks for the feedback!
      Jim

    • Here’s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.

      “Companies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesn’t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. It’s more like ‘get this done’ and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. It’s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. “

  6. What I don't fully understand is why would they be better than a PLM system, by providing less functionality they would limit the company from growing into adopting more of it as their processes mature. Are they much, much cheaper than PLM? Or are there other inherent comparative benefit in such a solution, that PLM systems can't provide?

    • Paolo,
      You ask two excellent questions and bring up an excellent point:

      Question 1 – Are they much cheaper than PLM? I have not done any direct pricing comparisons, but I believe the solution is less expensive. I also believe that simplicity can lead to a less expensive implementation.

      Question 2 – Are there benefits that PLM can't offer? No, not that I am aware of.

      So it comes down to cost and ease of use. From what I have seen, Synergis does very well in head-to-head comparisons against PLM vendors. I believe these are two factors they compete on.

      The other point you make is whether this will limit the companies in the future. You may have heard me talk about the “PLM Program” which is a tactical, step-wise approach to the strategic benefits of PLM. The point I make is that it does make sense to set a foundation on which you can grow, and that it's important to have a strategy up front. I wrote about this a few times, and did some benchmark work on the topic while at Aberdeen Group. So I fully understand and agree with your comment.

      So, what would I suggest to a potential customer?

      1 – Set a PLM strategy
      2 – If that PLM strategy involves more than engineering / product data management, they probably want to invest in PLM. If it doesn't, then they might want to consider a simpler solution.

      The question that this raises in my mind, which I have yet to explore, is whether an engineering data management impelementation can serve as a foundation / stepping stone to PLM. It would require a change in application, but isn't the biggest challenge in a data management implementation getting the data in a manageable, consistent format? How easily could that be converted to a PLM system when the time came to evolve? I don't have the answer, but that is a question I would ask if I were a manufacturer with relatively simple short-term needs and no significant goals for PLM in the future.

      Any insight on my question?

      Thanks for the feedback!
      Jim

    • Here’s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.

      “Companies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesn’t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. It’s more like ‘get this done’ and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. It’s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. “

  7. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

  8. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

  9. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

  10. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

  11. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

  12. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

  13. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

  14. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

  15. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

  16. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

  17. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

  18. Hereu2019s an interesting perspective from an Adept customer on why they selected PDM over PLM. This might be helpful.nnu201cCompanies like us, we make highly engineered products, but they are still customized like crazy. The engineering time is a small portion of that cost and we want to keep it that way. So if I were to go out and look for a PLM solution it would never work. Our company doesnu2019t value that engineering cost as a benefit to the organization. Itu2019s more like u2018get this doneu2019 and move on to the next thing. Every decision we made when selecting a PDM solution was based on how many hours we could cut out of our process. Now, if we were designing cars it would be a whole other issue. The business is so different. Itu2019s all design and engineering. So we would be looking at a PLM system. u201cn

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