May 15, 2003
Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA software line is divided into a complex array of products and packages that potential new customers may find bewildering. This article explains how the scheme is supposed to work and why it can create unexpected costs for buyers.
In CATIA parlance, a product is not necessarily a piece of software capable of working independently. Nor must it provide a solution to a particular class of design or manufacturing problems. A product is simply a software module that requires a separate license and for which IBM Corporation, the sole sales agent for CATIA, levies an additional charge.
To simplify distribution, IBM sells CATIA products in packages with other software products. Such packages (also called configurations) typically make up a fairly complete set of tools for a particular activity. For instance, the Styled Mechanical Design 2 configuration of CATIA version five contains 14 separate software products for design and drafting of products that incorporate free-form surfaces. Some of these are the Freestyle Shaper, Assembly Design 2, Generative Drafting 2, Generative Shape Optimizer, and Healing Assistant 1.
Dassault Systèmes is not alone in bundling an array of products into packages. Parametric Technology also has separate product codes and prices for a variety of Pro/Engineer modules that it groups into application-specific packages and sells at a discount.
To further confuse potential customers, Dassault Systèmes groups CATIA V5 products into three classes. So-called “platform 1” (P1) products (designated by a number one at the end of the product or package name) are intended for small or medium-sized organizations.
What Dassault calls P2 products, which make up the largest number, are intended for CATIA’s core customer base of large aircraft and automobile makers. A number two following the product name indicates P2 products. P2 products and packages generally have more sophisticated functions than P1 software. They also cost more.
Platform 3 products are specialized applications for high-value niches. Examples include the Automotive Class A 3 product for creating visible surfaces of car bodies and Automotive Body-in-White Fastening 3 for designing welded joints in vehicle unibodies.
CATIA’s platform designations are unique among the leading high-priced CAD software. Neither Pro/Engineer nor Unigraphics segment individual products into fully functional and junior varieties.
- Method to the Madness
- Disadvantages for customers
The full article is available for a fee at CADCAMNet.