Thanks for the input everyone. My original inquiry is below with responses below that in blue. I've added comments in red.
As a result of a merger, we're on both SAP and Agile PLM/E1. We're also on Intralink 3.x w/Wildfire 2 with plans to go to Wildfire 5 very soon. Upper management is seriously considering moving to an Agile module called EC (Engineering collaboration) so that we're more closely integrated with Agile PLM (which will be the PLM tool in our future). EC is basically an MCAD connector that connects native CAD to PLM. I hadn't heard of EC, but after talking to some companies using it, it sounds like it's a good tool that has been made to work well with most CAD tools out there (by order of Larry Ellison). I've spoken with some users who have deep knowledge/experience with ProE who claim it's a very good tool. It cannot compete feature to feature with PDMLink, but it's a matter of weighing the benefits/losses of the lost functionality.
The question is should our PDM tool (Intralink/Agile EC) be more aligned with our PLM tool (Agile), or our CAD tool (ProE). I think the answer is our CAD tool (there are connectors out there that can integrate PDMLink with Agile too), but have found no hard evedince to not go to EC other then a gut feeling. If we were to go to PDMLink (hopefully 10.0), we would only use it as we use Intralink (which I loved, nice and simple). A data vault with rev and release level control, along with some built-in approvals.
Does anyone have any thoughts on the topic?
1. I agree that you should align with your CAD tool, not your PLM tool. That said, it's always a hard sell. When I worked with a larger company, they had a doc management tool they used for ISO docs, that they wanted us to use for Pro/E and just couldn't understand why it wouldn't work. We eventually got a PLM solution called ProductCenter which integrated nicely with Pro/E (and could handle documents). The real issue came when PTC decided they didn't want to support the integration of external PLM systems, or at least this one in particular. Thus we got stuck on Pro/E 2000i2 with no way to upgrade. I'm not certain how this really happened either. For some reason, PTC closed access to the information that they needed to integrate Pro/E. I'm not a huge fan of PTC or Windchill for that matter (though I've never had the pleasure to really use it) but to me, the offerings from PTC would give you the best chance of future-proofing your system. I'm not sure if this helps at all, but this is what I've experienced. I agree but don't think it will fly as an argument to not use EC.
2. I guess some questions you can ask yourself are about your behavior in manipulating your Pro/E data. For example, we have multiple sites and also tend to rename objects for various reasons in the development process. Turns out Teamcenter doesn't handle this very well (they asked "why would you rename?"), especially across regions because it actually works like multiple local Pro/I 3.x server with a site to site replication tool. That was one of many behaviors we couldn't get away from that pushed us away from Teamcenter even though it was already going to be deployed further in the company to some degree. One thing EC cannot do is rename, which concerns me a bit as we take advantage of the rename functionality in Intralink often. We just need to figure out if that's a show stopper or not. Personally, I think it is easier to deal with upgrades a the database communication/exchange level than at the CAD integration level. The PDM/CAD vendor is going to keep those two aligned well enough that you can upgrade simultaneously or sequentially with relative safety. PDM to PLM data exchange can have issues as well but once mapping is figured out it's a matter of figuring out the automation of updates. The vendors know they just have to maintain this functionality. Good point.
3. Going to Intralink 10 instead of PDMLink 10 would save you from having to buy PDMLink licenses.
4. There is also Pro/INTRALINK 10.0 - which is like Windchill Lite. It is used to manage Pro/E files (CAD Data Management) with "release level controls" i.e. Promotion Process. For the last two responses above, we already own PDMLink (not yet implemented). If we were to go forward with it, we'd need more seats. I know about Intralink 10, but that's not the issue. Management wants to know why we shouldn't use EC to align with the suite of Agile tools we're already using.
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