BigLever Software Introduces the Industry's First Integrated Product Line Engineering and Product Lifecycle Management Solution

Partners with Aras to Deliver New Levels of Efficiency, Reduced Complexity, and Competitive Advantage for Companies Delivering Complex Product Lines

AUSTIN, Texas – Jan. 26, 2015 – BigLever Software, the leading provider of product line engineering (PLE) solutions, announced today that the company has partnered with Aras to deliver the industry's first integrated PLE and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution, the Aras Innovator/BigLever Gears Bridge. The integration of PLE and PLM is a significant step forward in enabling companies to reduce complexity, break down organizational and operational silos, and achieve new levels of efficiency, interoperability and alignment across all aspects of planning, designing, implementing, delivering, maintaining, and evolving a product line.

"The sophistication of products and systems being deployed throughout the industry requires a commensurate sophistication in the alignment of tools and methods for the traditionally siloed hardware and software engineering," said Dr. Charles Krueger, BigLever CEO. "While the strategic alignment of PLM, PLE and ALM has been widely touted in recent years, the Aras Innovator/BigLever Gears Bridge provides a dramatic breakthrough in how the industry will realize this vision. The result is a distinct competitive advantage for our mutual customers."

While PLM focuses on the engineering and management of mechanically-intensive systems, as well as key business operations such as ERP, manufacturing, sales and beyond, PLE provides capabilities for managing product family variation across the engineering and operations lifecycle for an entire product line portfolio.

"With intense global competition, today's manufacturers often struggle to differentiate their products," said industry analyst Michelle Boucher, Tech-Clarity Vice President of Research for Engineering Software. "Embedded software and electronics are increasingly critical to deliver levels of innovation that will win over customers, who are seeking products tailored to their needs. Manufacturers are responding with more configuration and variant options. These trends increase product complexity, which creates challenges for product engineering. The ability to tie together PLM and PLE can help product engineering better address this complexity, enabling manufacturers to improve efficiency and bring exciting, very competitive products to market."

"We're excited to be working with BigLever to deliver on the promise of integrated PLM, PLE and ALM," said Peter Schroer, President of Aras. "For the first time, companies engaged in systems engineering will have a single, end-to-end solution that can handle the complexity of today's product requirements and take full advantage of emerging technologies and capabilities."

Advances in today's manufactured products are exhibiting exponential complexity growth – increasingly sophisticated software and electronics must seamlessly interoperate with an increasingly innovative array of mechanical parts. Companies must provide ever-greater product line diversity through more variability in the product features they offer, while achieving economy of scale through the efficient sharing and reuse of hardware and software assets. And, this variability must now be managed across the entire cradle-to-grave lifecycle of the products. This full-lifecycle reality demands a new way of managing product variability across organizational functions, technologies, tools, artifacts, methods, and processes. Product line engineering has emerged to fill that role. PLE provides a "common language" for precisely expressing, engineering, and managing product diversity across the enterprise: features. While features manifest themselves in different ways in each part of the organization – they provide a widely understood language against which a product line can be effectively managed across the entire lifecycle.

About the Integration of PLE and PLM

Simplification of existing PLM approaches comes from an inverted way of thinking, made possible with the feature-based integration of PLM and PLE: Rather than use a Bill-of-Materials to determine features, companies can use a Bill-of-Features to determine materials, where "materials" in this context means mechanical, electrical, wiring, software, calibrations, requirements, designs, test cases, documentation and much more.

Additionally, PLE provides a "single source of feature truth" – a holistic view into the feature variations for a product family – which eliminates the need for multiple feature management mechanisms for multiple tools, facilitates better interoperability across software and mechanical teams, and improves cross-functional alignment between engineering and business operations. The Aras Innovator/BigLever Gears Bridge brings PLE and PLM technologies together to allow companies to leverage this "single source of feature truth" for all software, electronic, mechanical, and operations artifacts. This enables companies to apply a unified featured-based approach and mechanism for sharing, assembling and configuring engineering and operations assets from across the lifecycle to dramatically streamline the production of an entire product line.

About the Aras Innovator/BigLever Gears Bridge

With BigLever's Gears PLE Lifecycle Framework, companies can establish a single automated, feature-based production system – much like a manufacturing factory – that uses product feature profiles to assemble and configure engineering assets from across the lifecycle to produce assets for all the products in a product line. Aras Innovator is a complete suite of solutions for managing complex PLM business processes, advanced product quality planning and control, collaborative product development, and new product introduction.

The Innovator/Gears Bridge brings the benefits of these two solutions together by extending Aras Innovator and enabling it to work seamlessly with the Gears PLE Framework. Built on the PLE Bridge API, this new bridge makes Innovator "product line aware," ensuring consistent PLE capabilities and enabling the execution of PLE operations from within Innovator menus. With the bridge solution, engineering organizations can utilize Innovator Bill-of-Materials (BOM) as first-class engineering assets in the Gears Framework and Gears variation point constructs as first-class mechanisms for managing product line diversity in Innovator BOMs.