Dassault’s New Grip on the Jaguar Land Rover and Ericsson Problems
Verdi Ogewell posted on October 23, 2019 |

When I met the head of Dassault Systèmes Euro North, John Kitchingman, during Technia's recent PLM Innovation Forum in Stockholm, Sweden, I found him strikingly satisfied. Kitchingman is based in the UK, and is ultimately responsible for a region that covers twelve countries: Great Britain and Ireland, the Nordic countries, Benelux and the Baltic states.

“Business is going well,” said Kitchingman, who took on the Dassault Systèmes job early in 2018 after 15 years at IBM. “The year before, 2017, went evenly while 2018, with a new sales program in place, saw growth at 7.1 percent. 2019 looks very good so far, with sensationally strong growth figures in the first two quarters.”

Solid growth is always gratifying, but significantly harder business fell under the wings of the Euro North chief during his first year. His responsibilities include two of Dassault's toughest and most problematic customer cases in recent years: the iconic Indian-British car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), owned by Tata, and the Swedish telecom giant Ericsson. Both companies have made major investments in Dassault's PLM platform 3DEXPERIENCEendeavors which were less than successful and were halted in the middle stages with missed deadlines and incurred extra costs. These are business deals that were concluded prior to Kitchingman’s entry at Dassault, but which ultimately ended up in his lap as the newly-appointed manager.

But Kitchingman says he sees a positive development here too.  

“We have continued to work on Ericsson's PLM platform, gone through a redefinition phase of the strategy, and together created a new five-year plan where we also looked at the solution's architecture. Furthermore, I have appointed a coworker–Claes Lithagen–to be responsible for what we do and that we deliver as we should. This has worked out well, and our joint action with Ericsson is now run with a team and with a collaboration that is among the strongest I have seen.”

As for Jaguar Land Rover, Kitchingman states that, just over ten years after the project was initiated, the company has finally rolled out a first solution that covers an entire vehicle program: the Defender model. There is still a ways to go, but the good news is that this rollout finally happened.

Undoubtedly, the Ericsson and Jaguar Land Rover deals—both of which have experienced tough problems getting up and running—have been challenging for Dassault's relatively new Euro North head of business. However, when he took the helm in 2018 things started to move. Kitchingman took action, and today these projects seem to be moving in new and better directions.

TOUGH CHALLENGES.
TOUGH CHALLENGES. "Business is going well," said John Kitchingman, who after 15 years at IBM took over as new director of PLM developer Dassault Systèmes Euro North movement early in 2018, with twelve countries under its wing, including the Nordic countries. Good growth is always pleasing, of course, but there are far tougher deals that fall under the wings of the Euro North base: Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson and British-Indian automaker Jaguar Land Rover. Both cases are major implementations of the 3DEXPERIENCE PLM platform, which managed poorly, with missed deadlines and incurred extra costs. As a newly appointed manager, this is business initiated before Kitchingman took office, but which ended up in his lap. "But I see a positive development here, too," adds Kitchingman.

Ericsson's PLM Project is Underway Once Again, With a New Strategy

JLR has gone more than ten years without having the full 3DEXPERIENCE solution in place, but the Ericsson case has not seen equally long delays. When the Ericsson deal was signed in 2016, the goal was to have the 3DEXPERIENCE platform up and running within 15 months, according to the CIO at the time, Johan Torstensson, and Dassault's Scandinavian manager at the time, Mårten Gustafsson.

Dassault did not have a ready to launch telecom solution on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, but instead aimed to develop one with Ericsson. This made for an unusually optimistic schedule, not least because the deal concerns a gigantic R&D organization inside Ericsson with 25,000 global employees and often extremely complex product solutions.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that project delays came into play. Above all, the migration of old data from Ericsson’s previous Dassault ENOVIA V5 and mainframe-based systems to the new 3DEXPERIENCE platform has created problems. In addition, Ericsson was betting on the always-riskier “big bang model” with simultaneous introduction in only one or a few occasions for the entire organization.

All of this has now been addressed, says Kitchingman.

My interpretation of Kitchingman’s statements is that the time frame around the implementation has been expanded to a much more realistic five-year plan. A newly responsible Dassault Systèmes delivery manager for the Ericsson project, Claes Lithagen, has also been appointed, with responsibility for deliverances according to plan and ensuring that they are of the right quality. This is how Kitchingman formulates it:

“We’ve actually delivered all the time, even though during the journey a redefinition of the project orientation and time frame has been carried through. We have looked at this together with Ericsson and come up with new solutions. This has affected the strategy for the next five years and we have also looked at the solution architecture here. After this, we have come to a common vision and commitments. And we have begun to deliver.”

Ericsson's then-CIO (2016), Johan Torstensson, during a web TV interview with PLM TV News and Verdi Ogewell. Torstensson was the driving force behind the PLM deal with Dassault Systèmes. The 2016 decision to bet on the French PLM developer’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform was a large installation base with more than 25,000 users in the Swedish telecom giant’s R&D organization. The first plan was to have it up and running in 15 months. Today, a more realistic five-year plan has been established.
Ericsson's then-CIO (2016), Johan Torstensson, during a web TV interview with PLM TV News and Verdi Ogewell. Torstensson was the driving force behind the PLM deal with Dassault Systèmes. The 2016 decision to bet on the French PLM developer’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform was a large installation base with more than 25,000 users in the Swedish telecom giant’s R&D organization. The first plan was to have it up and running in 15 months. Today, a more realistic five-year plan has been established.

Kitchingman adds that, “Our relationship with Ericsson could not be stronger than it is right now. It's seldom I've seen such a committed, strong, and forward-looking collaboration as what we're seeing right now.”

Making the Right PLM Choice is a Career Decision

In earlier articles on these cases, I’ve noted that new platforms in the PLM sphere aren’t easy to deal with, either in terms of technological functionality, or in terms of what a bet can lead to for those who make the decisions.

"Revolution devours its own children," claimed the French revolutionary leader Danton when he was sent to the guillotine by a 1794 tribunal, an institution he had helped to set up. This applies not only to major social upheaval, but can symbolically represent major PLM decisions. If you fail to land a big PLM bet, the response tends to "eat" those who were responsible. It happened at Ericsson, and it happened in the Jaguar Land Rover case. These types of ventures are undoubtedly crucial career decisions.

My earlier and more detailed articles and analyses on these companies can be found here:

Telecom Giant Ericsson Halts Its PLM Project with Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE

Is Jaguar Land Rover About to Stumble on the Final iPLM Stretch?

Jaguar Land Rover Rolls Out the First Model on 3DX

“The Jaguar Land Rover project has also advanced,” says Kitchingman.

More than ten years after the project was initiated, results have been achieved: the new Defender model, according to Kitchingman, is the first vehicle model developed using a fully deployed 3DEXPERIENCE solution. However, the project previously called iPLM has been renamed "The Engineering Toolset."

“This was showcased in the car show in Düsseldorf some time ago, and this model of Defender had been developed with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform,” he says, noting that, “the project is now moving towards introducing 3DX for other model programs.”

The JLR case once again proves how hard it is to go live and successfully implement a complex platform based on new technologies. But let’s be clear on one thing; the responsibility for failure, or success, isn’t simply a matter of software problems or inconsistencies. It depends just as much on the organization within the company where the technology is implemented, the resources assigned, and the time frames that are applied, among other things. Normally a project like this is a matter of a “trinity” containing three or more major parties, where the company’s organization typically works together with the software developer and a third-party service provider.

Still, it’s hard to switch to a whole new type of PLM platform.

Previously, JLR had worked with Siemens Teamcenter in combination with Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA for CAD as a backbone. The intention with the iPLM project, as it was called at the time, was to establish the entire development work on 3DEXPERIENCE—something that turned out to be easier said than done.

It is not uncommon in large OEMs that it takes five to ten years to establish platforms carrying new technologies in the way that 3DEXPERIENCE did when the project was first launched at JLR around 2010. Five years was the original time frame JLR calculated; now we know that this time doubled, and a lot still remains.

Naturally, the technology itself must be taken into consideration, but the implementation approach is just as important in the case of JLR. JLR is a large organization—with 8,000 engineers employed directly, plus thousands of engineers and product developers in the partner network—containing internal departments and external development partners. The latter are of utmost importance, since they contribute up to 80 percent of the development work.

Generally, JLR went on a mixed path during their implementation. However, I would characterize it as leaning towards a more aggressive approach, rather than a long-term vehicle program-by-program approach, although it swung in this direction along the way.

But with today’s announcement from Dassault’s John Kitchingman, we have an indication that a such “car program-based” approach has been applied and finally brought the solution into production.

However, this is still only one model program; several others remain, which also means that Teamcenter continues to play a significant role as a backbone in JLR's software arsenal.

JAGUAR LAND ROVER IN A CATIA DESIGN. The iPLM program, which was about establishing the 3DEXPERIENCE platform of the British-Indian vehicle manufacturer, has stretched out more than ten years from its initiation. But now, Dassault’s head of Euro North, John Kitchingman, states that the company has rolled out its first model fully developed on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The project concerns the Defender model.
JAGUAR LAND ROVER IN A CATIA DESIGN. The iPLM program, which was about establishing the 3DEXPERIENCE platform of the British-Indian vehicle manufacturer, has stretched out more than ten years from its initiation. But now, Dassault’s head of Euro North, John Kitchingman, states that the company has rolled out its first model fully developed on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The project concerns the Defender model.

"A Sensationally Strong 2019"

Generally, many things happened since John Kitchingman took over Dassault Systèmes Euro North and the 12 countries therein; not only in terms of tough projects that needed to be “pushed” over the hill, but also an internal business model that stalled and no longer delivered growth.

“Yes, at my 2018 entrance, we had some challenges here,” said Kitchingman. “We needed to strengthen our business and we did. This has resulted in improved numbers and for 2019 it looks sensationally good in the areas I am responsible for. We can't reveal any results yet but that will be evident in the upcoming Q3 report. Growth is achieved partly through the customers we already have and partly through a number of new customers we have received.”

“We are growing in our traditional industries such as automotive and aerospace, but also in ‘new’ areas like life sciences, construction and civil engineering, which means that the business tends to become more diversified,” he added.

A Transformed Business Model

Above all, John Kitchingman points out a "transformed business model" with a renewed customer approach as a strong reason for reversing the trend to growth again in the Euro North.

“We have looked at how to better bring our community together. I have personally spent the last 25 years not only selling, but above all delivering solutions. The point of this is to produce good, competent and well-functioning deliveries. In our new change program, called FIT, we have looked primarily at what the customer expects in terms of results and how we can secure the deliveries and support around this rather than the revenues it can bring to the table. We currently have about 100 employees in my Dassault region who work hard at this, together with highly competent external partners and service providers such as Technia, Accenture, Capgemini and others.”

35,000 Commercial SOLIDWORKS Users

Kitchingham further notes that the SOLIDWORKS area, which is about the company's mainstream CAD solution, runs smooth and is very successful.

“We have a very large customer base here with 35,000 commercial seats on the solution. Of course, our partners mean a lot to support and develop such a large community.”

The challenge in this area is mainly to get the SOLIDWORKS community onto the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Dassault's SOLIDWORKS manager for the Nordic and Baltic countries, Thomas Andersson, added to Kitchingmans statement that he was confident the 2020 version of SOLIDWORKS now has the tools to secure the migration of the community's file-based data to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform's aggregated database solution.

“The 2020 version is a milestone on the journey towards PLM in the Cloud, or on-premise for those who want local installations on their own servers. This is where it starts,” Andersson said, and he is supported by Kitchingman.

“Absolutely, I have already seen that the change is underway. In my own right, I have only been in this environment for two years, but I have attended two SOLIDWORKS World events, and we have renamed the event to 3DEXPERIENCE World which is in itself proof that people have begun to embrace the change and opportunities that present themselves with the rich Dassault Systèmes portfolio of apps available on the platform,” Kitchingman said.

Solutions That Increase Acceptance

Kitchingman adds that the purchase of additional solutions—such as the ERP software IQMS—shows that the effort made to facilitate the SOLIDWORKS community will do a great deal to increase acceptance for 3DEXPERIENCE.

“Why shouldn't mainstream players, at an affordable price, have access to what everyone now needs, or will soon need—a business platform that covers the full range of technologies needed for the increasingly digitalized product development process we now see emerging,” he added.

It's easy to agree, although the SOLIDWORKS users have been quite skeptical so far.

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