As much as I love hearing us talk about ourselves , I love it even more when customers talk about us </sarcasm>. In all seriousness, one of the things I miss the most about being a demo jock is being able to meeting with customers almost every day and hear about the cool new things they are working on and the part our software played in that. (As a side note, one thing I don't miss is lugging around a 35 lb SGI Workstation - I was a demo jock a long time ago). Its what keeps me going back to PLM Connection events year after year.
The second customer to talk about at this year's Siemens PLM Analyst event was Ben Shepherd who manages the PLM Global Center of Excellence for Lexmark. Printers are pretty complicated machines and Lexmark was a leader in applying CAD software to help make them better. Their CAD software pedigree includes:
using 2D CAD on a mainframe starting in 1980
a move to CATIA and the introduction of 3D in 1988
a move from CATIA to I-DEAS that started in 1994
a move from I-DEAS to NX that started in 2009 (and finished 9 months later!)
Ben gave a lot of details about their most recent migration from I-DEAS to NX and there were a few aspects of that journey that I found particularly interesting. As I mentioned above, the entire migration only took 9 months. That's not remarkable in and of itself, but let me put it in context: 500 users. Migrated from Unix Workstations to PCs at the same time. Zero impact to in process product development projects.
So what let the move so quickly? Ben outlined a number of factors - great support from the IT team, a user base that was willing to help and good partners. The factor Ben mentioned that peaked my interest was Synchronous Technology. When we announced Synchronous Technology more than 3 years ago, one of the use cases we envisioned was being able to easily move from one CAD system to another without loosing any information or capability to reuse the data from the original system. Lexmark proved this works not only for work in process collaboration between two different CAD tools, but for the migration of an entire CAD database from one system to another.
Ben concluded his presentation by talking hitting on a theme that comes up more and more these days: green. This was much more than just the normal surface treatment "green-washing" that I've see in other corporate presentations - Lexmark has actually tracks metrics on energy savings for their product development process. They have saved over 1.5 million kWh by their move from I-DEAS to NX coupled with the platform switch from Unix Workstations to PCs. That's real savings and it was impressive to see green tied to numbers instead of just concepts.
Since I love how the sound of my voice recorded on video (there comes that sarcasm again...) I grabbed Ben after his presentation to ask him a few follow-up questions. Here's the good parts of the interview: