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Industry Insight: Discussing 3DEXPERIENCE with Ian Pilkington, Northern Europe 3DEXPERIENCE Director

Thursday June 16, 2022 at 9:00am
If you work in design and engineering, then chances are, you've heard the term 3DEXPERIENCE. But, what is the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform? What are the benefits? And how does it differ from SOLIDWORKS? We took the opportunity to speak to Ian Pilkington, Northern Europe 3DEXPERIENCE Director for Dassault Systèmes to find out exactly that.

Q: What is the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform?

A: The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. Well, I think you can think of it as a cloud-based collaboration platform. Cloud being the important thing, so people can access it from any place at any time. It's really a place where teams can use their applications to connect with each other to help them really make better decisions and better outcomes for their business. 


Q: Who would use 3DEXPERIENCE?

A: I think our traditional customers would definitely get value out of what the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can offer. Certainly our SOLIDWORKS customers can connect into that [3DEXPERIENCE] and manage their files to collaborate with each other much better, but also people outside of our traditional user base, so those people in the business who maybe look after purchasing or marketing or any of the other functions if they've got access to the right data at the right time, as I've said before, it just means that they can make much better decisions faster without having to chase around for the right version of the information or the right price or the right specification sheet. So, really, there's a place for the platform with everyone; I think if we ask the right questions, we'll find some value there. 


Q: Is 3DEXPERIENCE just for Engineers?

A: Well, I think if we look at today's environment. I mean, even today we've heard about inflation going through the roof. Companies are struggling, every body has just got to get more efficient.  You've got to reduce the cost base, improve the quality, and be able to get the products out to the market faster and so all of that has always been relevant as long as I've been involved in engineering, but never more so than at the moment. And so, I think the platform as a whole really makes people more competitive because they've got the right view of the right information at the right time. And, I keep using this point about making better decisions faster, and that's really what it's about; if you've got the right information at the right time, you can make better decisions, and whether you're a small company or a large company, that's absolutely critical.


 Q: How does 3DEXPERIENCE differ from a standard software purchase?

A: We sell access to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform through what we call roles. So rather than traditional software where you buy SOLIDWORKS, or you buy DraftSight, you actually buy a collection of capability based on what your job function is. So for a designer, that may include some SOLIDWORKS capabilities, but it may also include capabilities around project management, project execution, change management, some of these things that our traditional users really want, but it may be something completely outside of engineering such as project planning or marketing capabilities. So, the way we sell it [3DEXPERIENCE] is subtly different. And also, we sell it [3DEXPERIENCE] on a subscription basis, so people find it easy to get on board and if it's not what they want, to get off, so we're not tieing people in for long periods with the subscription model. 


Q: What challenges do customers usually face with this shift from software to solution?

A: Traditionally, what we've sold is a point solution. So many of our customers use SOLIDWORKS as a point solution to create assemblies drawings. Really, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is around is expanding that, so we're not just focusing on single bits of capability. We're focusing on the collaboration around the customer, the supply chain, marketing, purchasing, etc. So the solution really is what you know, what is the end goal? What is the end benefit to the company? Not just whether we can perform great simulations or whether we can build beautiful drawings. The solution really is, you know, reducing time, increasing quality, reducing cost. 


Q: How can the team at Solid Solutions help?

A: I think it's a really interesting one. I think our traditional markets have been software sales transactional, so I think Dassault and Solid Solutions have been very successful in doing that over the last 25 years. I think the move to more of a solution sale is critical for us and our customers. People want us to advise them what the best practice is, what our experiences are, how they make things better, whether that startups, medium sized companies or even large companies. So I think this move to be more of a trusted business advisor is really interesting for us [Dassault Systèmes] and obviously of great value to our customers as well. 

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