At the risk of starting a firestorm, I'm interested in hearing from Windchill users on the value of maintenance, specifically with Windchill.
First, some background
We are a small company with only 8 seats of Creo. The nature of our business (design consultancy) meant, traditionally, that projects live within our walls for a short time and then are handed to the client. Typically that might be from concept through preliminary engineering until tooling or production release. The value of Windchill (although PTC requires us to buy and pay maintenance on it) was not worth the pain in implementing and maintaining it.
Recently, we've been doing more sustaining engineering for clients. maintaining their database and implementing running changes and ECOs. That, and larger projects with larger database sizes, have pushed us into looking to implement PDM Link. That is likely to come this year.
On the maintenance side, the primary, near exclusive, value to us from maintenance is access to new releases to keep up with our clients. We rarely use tech support, it's simply not fast enough for our needs. With PTC stretching out the release schedule to over 2 years, it makes no financial sense for us to pay maintenance each year and have moved to paying only every 3rd year or longer.
And so my question;
As we implement PDM Link, I'm wondering if we should rethink our philosophy on maintenance. Will we likely find more value in access to tech support & the KB?
I'd be interested in your thoughts, especially those from smaller organizations like ours.
Windchill is a very different beast than Creo from a maintenance perspective. I can't imagine running Windchill without active maintenance, for example in the month of May 2015, I opened 8 TS calls all concerning Windchill. I don't remember the last time I opened a Creo (Pro/ENGINEER) TS call.
We did recently migrate to a new server, so some of those calls might be caused by the migration and will taper off. On the other hand Windchill is running and running well, it just seems (IMHO) that Windchill is more finicky and there are more moving parts to it that need adjustment and constant fine tuning.
Windchill PDMLink and ProjectLink 10.1 m040
140 Windchill Users
50 Creo Users
1 Biz Admin
1/2 System Admin. (Yes, just half an admin, but he is... ALL RIGHT.)
CAD / PLM Systems Manager
I agree with Marc; PDMLink is definitely more finicky. I've found TS to be far more useful for WC than for Creo Parametric. There have been a few cases here and there for Creo problems, but overall it's likely even more lopsided than a 95%-5% split.
For smaller companies, didn't PTC release something lighter and easier to implement/maintain that was strictly for managing CAD data? I seem to remember an announcement some months ago about something for companies that want to store their CAD data but had no need for all the bells and whistles that PDMLink provides. There was a little talk about it on the Exploder but something I never followed as it wouldn't be a good fit for us.
Yes, it's called PDM Essentials and it seems like a good fit for us. Funny thing (not really) is that PTC bundled PDM Link for us years ago even though we didn't want or need it and we've paid maintenance on it for years (I tried to stop they refused to reduce our bill). We could go to PDM Essentials, but we'd have to buy it even though we already own PDM Link. And then we'd pay maintenance on both, I believe.
Our VAR said a stripped down PDM installation would be a cost effective way to go and would give us more flexibility in the future.
That was my feeling as well, especially in the early stages as we get up to speed. I'm still interested in hearing other opinions, but it sounds like we need to factor in staying current on maintenance into our calculations.
I fully agree with Marc and Don. You will definitely need them on starting up with PDMLink.
Oh the horror of our conversion from ILink 3.3 to PDMLink 9.0. Worst summer of my career!
They provided help with some "fairly" quick patches and also reported others where they were fixed in later builds or even versions.
Am I correct in stating, since you didn't mention any, you do not have any management system now?
PDMLink 10.1 M050
230 users but maybe half of them use it sparingly.
2 Business Admis
1/8th System Admin. (Our IT manager went for training but is pretty much useless for that role)
We have a partner company that fills the System Admin role.
We do not. Up to this point, the project teams have been 1-3 people and the databases relatively small. We are now dealing with teams of 4-6 people, full production databases of 50-200 parts, multiple shared components and complex top down assemblies. We've gotten good at working without PDM, but it's getting harder to manage the data effectively.
Dodged the bullet until now? But yeah. 4-6 is the ragged edge and if you start bringing on new people you will certainly need some line of defense against the stealth modifier who will alter -all- the parts on a project trying to change the display of one layer in one part, burying the changes from other users. Or rename a part.
Too bad they don't have the original Intralink. It was a better fit for small groups and I think was cheaper overall, even excluding the purchase price.
And it was much, much easier to maintain. Didn't need a PHD in several different disciplines so you can maintain it all yourself.