“When the merger with SDRC is finalised, we’ll have 1.6 million seats worldwide. But we have an opportunity [target] to reach 40 million in the next five or six years. For every one user we have in engineering, there’s another 25 people in the extended enterprise and supply chain that also need that same data,” said UGS ceo Tony Affuso, at the software firm’s annual press event in Los Angeles last month. And parent company, EDS, after buying SDRC and UGS’ remaining shares, now has five lines of business: EDS, UGS, SDRC, iSolutions (infrastructure and integration consultant) and Business Process Management. Affuso explained to more than 100 journalists and analysts from 15 countries, that, legally, the merger (announced on May 23) will not be finalised until September this year. “By the end of 2001, we’ll have 24,000 customers, 5900 employees and an annual revenue of $1.2 billion,” added Affuso. “That makes us at least number two in the world now.” The main message from UGS throughout the two-day conference was “PLM” (product lifecycle management). Although not a new term by any means (SAP has been singing this acronym’s praise for months now with its SAP R/3 version 4.6 offering), it does show UGS’ (and EDS’) commitment to extend its software products into the extended enterprise, beyond engineering and into other areas of manufacturing such as process planning, plant simulation and web based collaboration between designers and manufacturing engineers. This means UGS will be up against SAP and MatrixOne in the PDM arena, plus PTC and IBM Dassault in the CAD/CAM market. As for EDS (which is now second behind Accenture in the PDM service providers market), it will gain from SDRC’s service-revenue opportunities, since, according to Affuso, “The software requires services to implement properly.” EDS will be hard-pressed to compete with SAP in some manufacturing operations. Clients who purchase SAP’s R/3 ERP software get its PDM software as part of the package. Executives at many manufacturing businesses are pushing their engineers to use SAP PLM since they are already paying for it as part of the ERP system, making it hard for engineering managers to reject SAP in favour of another solution. But what does all this mean for current SDRC software users? UGS’ iMAN PDM product is good for managing CAD files, SDRC’s Metaphase PDM offering is more suited to managing data across the extended enterprise. The two combined could make a ‘tasty’ offering for customers. “From our user survey, we found that people saw synergy coming from the merger, plus increased research and development, increased focus, and a larger dependable software vendor they could rely on.” Chuck Grindstaff, vp UGS, explained further: “Unigraphics and SolidEdge will continue on the Parasolid kernel. IDEAS will have Parasolid capability added to it. Metaphase users will get extra functionality added to the product from iMAN, and vice versa. “We will roll out two further versions of Unigraphics and IDEAS (which will include geometry exchange, then model exchange) leading to an integrated Unigraphics/Master Series product.” Grindstaff also hinted at a unified container application, integrating components from SDRC and UGS. “This will be able to connect to ERP, CRM and other supply chain software, using Accelis.”