Aras Continues to Extend Its Low-Code Platform Capabilities to Build Intelligent Automation
Lionel Grealou posted on October 13, 2020 |
What’s new with Aras Innovator version 12 Service Pack 9
(Image courtesy of Aras.)
Aras, a digital industrial application company, announced the availability of Aras Innovator 12 with increased usability and greater efficiency across the extended enterprise. (Picture courtesy of Aras.)

Aras provides further capabilities and enhancements to manage complex product digital twins and integrations across the digital thread—boosted with low-code application administration, advanced configurability and custom app development.

Aras Innovator’s extended capabilities cover 5 core areas, from user productivity, core PLM, visualization, and new platform applications and advanced configurability with new low-code/no-code features. (Picture courtesy of Aras.)
Aras Innovator’s extended capabilities cover 5 core areas, from user productivity, core PLM, visualization, and new platform applications and advanced configurability with new low-code/no-code features. (Picture courtesy of Aras.)

This latest release extends the Aras platform from previous month’s announcements with enhanced and new features, including a faster search engine, UI refresh with more personalization capabilities, improved tree grid view and graph navigation, better multi-tasking, to Microsoft Office and SOLIDWORKS PDM connectors, requirements for engineering and digital twin core, model-based system engineering (MBSE) integration and traceability, simulation process and result management, and more.

Aras made it clear from the beginning that the power of Aras Innovator is to provide an open, flexible, scalable and upgradeable platform of applications that can be updated or replaced with other ones. As John Sperling, senior vice president of Product Management at Aras, put it in one of his YouTube videos: “we don’t expect you just to use our standard application suite ‘as is’ …  you can build with Aras to fit your unique business situation … with the low-code capability provided inside the box.”

What’s in the red box? Either the Aras platform itself or any of the 11 standard applications covering the complete life cycle can be upgraded independently. (Picture courtesy of Aras.)
What’s in the red box? Either the Aras platform itself or any of the 11 standard applications covering the complete life cycle can be upgraded independently. (Picture courtesy of Aras.)

Such a level of open flexibility is what many product lifecycle management (PLM) analysts recognize as one of Aras’ unique selling propositions. The company manages to move away from the traditional “out-of-the-box” usability concept to which many other PLM vendors are prone, and instead has a “red box” that can finally be opened (though one must ask to what extent). Peter Bilello, President & CEO of CIMdata, acknowledged that “business processes change quickly and often, without concern for the ability of supporting systems to change with them. It is critical for organizations to implement a strategy that enables them to adjust, adapt, and adopt when they need to.” 

Modularity and adaptability can certainly bring organizations closer to digital transformation continuity and operational sustainability. On the subject of sustainability, Bilello elaborated that “by taking a sustainable platform approach, organizations are enabling the enterprise to get their work done in the most efficient way possible and can ensure end-to-end optimization and connectivity that is critical to an organization’s digital transformation.”

Low-code development refers to the ability to easily and rapidly configure and customize what’s in the red box, as well as build new applications and capabilities on top of a standard package. This is sometimes referred as a “no-code” development platform (NCPD) as it also allows nonprogrammers to create applications through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional computer programming languages. This approach has the potential to provide tools and capabilities that can truly enable the digital thread, by making customization widely open while helping organization stay abreast of the latest tools and technologies when they are used with an automated Aras Upgrade Services subscription. 

In the press release, John Sperling also declared that Aras was following that same approach internally. “We use our own platform as the basis of our worldwide product development processes, and even through recent periods of disruption we’ve been able to accelerate our release cadence to deliver a continuous flow of new functionality to our customers.” We wonder if (and how) this would extend to the use of low-code development to build standard Aras platform and application capabilities. This is certainty an area of interest that might require a further deep dive into Aras’ red box.

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