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Aras Changes PLM Industry with Open Model

By DE Editors

Version 9 of the Aras Innovator suite of enterprise applications is certified for Microsoft’s Windows Server, SQL, and .NET.

Almost a month after Aras (Andover, MA) delivered Version 9 of its Aras Innovator suite of model-based service-oriented architecture (SOA) solutions for enterprise product lifecycle management (PLM), the open-source solution provider announced that it had achieved a four-star CMII certification rating from the Institute of Configuration Management (ICM) — the certification provides independent validation of Aras Innovator’s compliance with the industry-recognized CMII best practices for configuration and change management.

Not only does Aras detail how SOA can advance enterprise PLM using less complexity and greater flexibility on the Microsoft platform, but its Version 9 offers single-instance multi-language capabilities as well as support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2008.

Let’s see what ICM saw in Aras’ capabilities to peg it as the next generation of advanced online workflows for business process management.

Customize on the Fly
Aras says that its Innovator suite of integrated applications is suited for enterprise configuration and change management, new product development and introduction, product compliance, innovation management, and global collaboration. This all helps companies manage product-related information from concept to development and introduction, and through production and end of life.

"We’ve made our suite of comprehensive enterprise PLM solutions openly available. Companies get advanced PLM solutions that are proven to run end-to-end for a global organization.”
— Peter Schroer, president, Aras

Innovator deploys a model-based SOA that enables complex object model, data schema, business rule, and workflow changes on-the-fly — without programming required and with no downtime — making solution customization fast and easy, says the company. Plus, the model-based SOA separates the solutions and related solution modifications from the underlying SOA, which is said to make even highly customized enterprise solutions easy to upgrade without impacting customizations.

All the functionality in the Aras solutions is completely customizable and extensible through the model-based SOA.

“Using an SOA, enterprises are able to complement and extend existing systems through Web services to incrementally automate complicated business processes much more quickly and easily than previously possible,” said Marc Halpern, Research Director at Gartner.

Aras Innovator delivers single-system multi-language internationalization and workflows for collaboration and innovation.

Global Collaboration: Languages & Timezones
The innovations in Aras Innovator Version 9, developed in response to users around the globe, include the single-system multi-language internationalization and localization. Because it is stored as data in Microsoft SQL Server it simplifies the development and sharing of language packs by eliminating external resource files, getting rid of the need to compile code before using translated solutions.

Now an unlimited number of user languages are simultaneously supported by a single system running one application server. Version 9 supports the ISO/IEC 10646 Unicode character and script set —representing more than 500 written languages, including double byte support for the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean ideographs.

“The Microsoft open approach provides practical solution innovations that deliver results because they come directly from our corporate community members worldwide,” explains Peter Schroer, president of Aras Corporation. Plus, language localization packages are openly developed by Aras corporate community members worldwide. Mandarin Chinese and Simplified Chinese are available now, the company says, and other language translations are under way for Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, German, and French (Aras is currently recruiting volunteers for translation activities).

A Global Corporate Clock enables sorting of user search results in the native language (collating sequentially), thus a single system installation used simultaneously by people all over the world provides each user with local time zone display. Yet the system records a user’s actions in one defined corporate time zone for synchronization of time- and date-sensitive activities.

Aras Version 9’s ability to coordinate global date and time complexity streamlines collaborative processes such as electronic workflow signatures, program scheduling deadlines, and the timeliness of product release, says the company.

Aras Innovator’s SOA enables global collaboration with online workflows that are flexible and easy to adapt.

Microsoft Platform for Scalability
To deliver enterprise scalability, manageability, and security, Aras Innovator Version 9 includes support for several new Microsoft products:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 provides a scalable, high-performance database engine for the Aras mission-critical applications that require the highest levels of availability and security. SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services delivers business intelligence in Version 9 for actionable analysis.
  • Version 9 is certified for Windows Server 2008, demonstrating conformance to Microsoft’s stringent platform requirements and providing a high level of corporate confidence.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 is for enterprises that use Visual Studio 2008 with Aras Innovator Version 9 Web services for office business applications using the Microsoft 2007 Office system and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.

Enterprise PLM Solutions
Innovator Version 9’s model-based SOA offers the ability to track product costs and measure target, estimated, standard, and actual BOM costs as well as the ability to create BOMs with multi-level views, flat parts lists, and indents. Additionally, it provides the ability to identify and mitigate product risks with closed-loop accountability; and the ability to associate documents and files to each project program directly. It also enables users to ensure that change management workflows control BOMs, parts, documents, and other system items, and a check action item provides accountability for schedule-based tasks and ad-hoc assignments. Innovator Version 9 also can verify that user permissions limit visible information to a person’s level of authorization and location.

Aras Innovator functionality include lifecycle state management on all items in the system, graphical online workflows for change process (ECR/ECO, ECN), program management with milestones and deliverables, new product project portfolio dashboards, secure project collaboration workspaces, resource scheduling and tacking, failure mode & effects analysis (DFMEA, PFMEA, SFMEA) — which the company says no other PLM has — as well as Inspection & Test Control Plans, Corrective & Preventive Actions, Deviations & Waivers, and Manufacturing Process Management.

Version 9 is said to run as an end-to-end solution for comprehensive enterprise PLM, and companies can complement existing systems to leverage prior investments. Plus, online workflows and phase-gate processes can manage product information across the entire lifecycle with browser-based forms, files, and data.

"Aras is changing the PLM industry with the open model," said Peter Schroer, President of Aras. "We’ve made our suite of comprehensive enterprise PLM solutions openly available. Companies get advanced PLM solutions that are proven to run end-to-end for a global organization, or that can be used to complement an existing PDM system with flexible workflows for engineering change, phase-gate programs, and many other processes."

Options Are Open
The enterprise open source format on the Microsoft platform makes the production-ready solutions freely available with complete access for unlimited users. Companies can use as little or as much of the extensive functionality as needed for no charge.

Aras Innovator Version 9 provides comprehensive solution functionality for enterprise-wide PLM deployments, and open XML / SOAP Web services easily connect to existing ERP or PDM systems to leverage previous investments.

Aras customers include Motorola, Lockheed Martin, Delphi, Ingersoll Rand, Rolls Royce, ACCO Brands, Freudenberg, Fox Electronics, Mega Brands, Structural Concepts, and the US Army.

Visit the Aras website directly.

Read why DE’s editors chose this as a Pick of the Week.

Download the enterprise production-ready Aras Innovator system with complete access for unlimited users.

Read about more specifics on Aras Innovator Version 9.

Check out an overview on the Aras Solution Suite.

Access several customer case studies on the Aras site.

Sign up to participate in a solution demo webcast.

Details on Aras enterprise-class support subscription packages, training, and professional services from Aras and Aras partners.

The Institute of Configuration Management (ICM) provides research, education, training, and certification in the field of configuration management.

Gartner Consulting services help use and manage IT to enable business performance.

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DE's editors contribute news and new product announcements to Digital Engineering. Press releases can be sent to them via DE-Editors@digitaleng.news.