Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Many SMBs despise enterprise applications for good reasons. For one, many applications become a life's mission to deploy and adapt, kind of like the Ziolkowski family sculpting the Crazy Horse Memorial. Two, system changes require bizarre memos reminding users to back up everything and prepare for nothing to work indefinitely. And it's a turn-off opening up a joint-checking account with a developer hawking licensing schemes like a three-card Monte's hustler —“You want servers? Server licenses I got. Users? We have user plans like you never saw.” The mission of Aras is to change the rules of the game so that you gain competitive advantage using powerful enterprise software without horsing around with crazy licensing schemes and oppressive software management.
Aras puts its money where its mouth is: The initial download of its Aras Innovator is free. Aras is doing for PLM what Red Hat did for Linux: open source format licensing. Open source licensing means that you can make its Innovator applications available to as many users as you need to without penalty. Aras makes its money supporting you as you get up and running, and as you extend its PLM and Quality Systems Compliance applications throughout your enterprise. By the way, the suite includes solutions for RoHS and WEEE compliance, lean product development, change management, and good stuff like that. It's full-function and technically competitive with anything out there, only Aras skips the accounting department-intensive licensing and upfront costs to your benefit.
Innovator leverages a model-based engine and a SOA (service-oriented architecture) platform. This means it's easy to install, deploy, and adapt for your processes. Innovator supports the latest Microsoft platform products, such as SQL Server 2008, Windows Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008, so it supports your IT skills.
But the key to it all is flexibility. Model-based SOA solutions enable complex object model, business rule, and workflow changes on-the-fly without programming and no downtime. Upgrades happen in days and don't mess up customizations. Best is the licensing. Users can come and go as needed.
Now out in version 9, Aras Innovator has been enhanced with things like a single-system multi-language internationalization for global collaboration. You can read all about that in today's Pick of the Week write-up and the links you'll find there.
If you're in the market to get into PLM or to replace what you have, download – it takes 30 minutes or so — the full Aras Innovator from the link in the write-up and see for yourself. Aras is betting that Innovator will help you expand your business with the enterprise applications you need without the headaches you don't need. In my book, that's reason enough to check Aras Innovator out.
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering Magazine