This content is part of the Buyer's Guide: Finding the right fit from a range of PLM systems

Collaboration and flexibility focus of Aras Innovator

With flexibility and collaboration the core focus, Aras Innovator offers enterprises a PLM tool they can configure to meet their needs.

Aras Innovator is intended to deliver product lifecycle management capabilities like system tracking and support for the end-to-end product lifecycle and focuses on enabling collaboration across mechanical, electrical and software disciplines, as well as in the supply chain. A central data repository of product data ensures the consistency of information across business processes and multidisciplinary functions. Aras Innovator is available as a cloud-based system that is accessible via commonly used browsers or as an on-premises system running on a Microsoft SQL Server, .NET or Windows operating system.

Aras Innovator gives clients the ability to configure a PLM tool that meets their specific needs. The primary modules in Aras Innovator are:

  • A bill of materials (BoM) for specifying and directing product builds.
  • Component engineering, from selection through acquisition of products, for compliance reporting and eventual end of life.
  • Configuration management, which tracks and manages evolving product configurations and ensures that multiple disciplines engaged in the product and in the supply chain have current information.
  • Project management tools for new product development projects and programs.
  • Guidance for ensuring product quality and regulatory compliance throughout the product lifecycle.
  • Requirements for the management and maintenance of marketing for products as they are being designed, manufactured and delivered to markets.
  • Systems engineering for ongoing management of the lifecycle of "systems" products that involve software and the Internet of Things.

The latest version of Aras Innovator includes updates and additions in visual collaboration. The update also provides an enabler of secure product collaboration across disciplines, locations and organizations where users can easily view content, add markups and make comments in the context of PLM items such as BoM, parts, models, drawings, documents and change workflows.  Marked-up viewables are linked with text comments into discussion threads visible to other users who have proper permissions. The viewable types include 3D, 2D, schematics and layouts. Release 11 also added Aras Flow, an integrated mobile app ensuring continuous engagement when in meetings, on the factory floor or in the field. Additional enhancements were made to program management that included improved project tree editing, project and template cloning, deliverables in template and editable customizable Gantt charts, and new file handling that provided a simple and consistent user experience. Aras typically issues new releases of its system on an annual basis.

Aras has a worldwide client base that ranges from small and medium-sized companies to large enterprises. Its client base spans a broad range of industry verticals and has both public and private sector users.

Aras has a unique pricing model. It offers free access to its latest release of software through a no-license-fee-PLM model and also a cloud-based paid subscription to the software that includes new release access. It also offers training, upgrades, productivity tools, service packs, help desk support and a special subscriber portal. Pricing is on a per user basis and is scaled based on the number of users on the system. For example, companies with 50 or fewer users are charged $90 per user per month. This cost goes down to $47 per user per month for a company with at least 250 users and down to $23 per user per month for a company with 1,000 users. Companies with 15,000 users pay as little as $6 per user per month. Aras has a custom quote engine that allows you to obtain an estimated price quote on the system for your organization.

Like its PLM pricing, the Aras technical support and consulting services model for its paying subscribers is also uncommon in similar products. Subscribers receive free upgrades for all major and minor product releases, including those that are customized. They also receive service packs with security updates, software fixes and new features, live hotline and online access with unlimited incident support, productivity tools (including a data load tool and vault recovery), Microsoft certified versions, significant discounts on Aras consulting services, and free training. Clients that subscribe to the product at a the top-tier premier level get all of the features previously mentioned, plus remote upgrades to the entire Aras Innovator enterprise software suite, including upload support for customizations.

Aras offers a free 30-day trial of Aras Innovator on Microsoft Azure cloud.

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