The SmartCLIDE project has based its use cases on a set of 29 generic use cases, which 5 Pilot Cases demonstrate and make use of. The Pilot case by CONTACT Software, described here, involves the scenario where a service provider is working with customers throughout the lifecycle of a custom solution.

CONTACT Software is a leading provider of solutions for CAD data management, product data management (PDM), and product lifecycle management (PLM). Founded in 1990, the objectives of our founder, Karl Heinz Zachries, remain our objectives of today: making complex product data more accessible and connecting employees across technical and organizational boundaries.

“Making complex product data more accessible and connecting employees across technical and organizational boundaries.”

CONTACT is, at its core, a customer-focused company. We act in accordance with market requirements and, above all, the requirements of our customers. We maintain long-term partnerships with our customers according to our motto “Continuity and Perspective”. Our team has expertise in industry and industrial processes, PDM/ PLM technology, and project implementation.

CONTACT employs about 400 employees with headquarters and product development in Bremen, Germany. Our substantial R&D commitment ensures that we know what topics will be relevant tomorrow and develop – often together with our customers – appropriate solutions early on, for example, at the moment for the wide range of topics relating to Industry 4.0 / Internet of Things. We provide our customers with comprehensive support in concept development and implementation, replacing old systems and supplementing existing installations in the face of additional requirements.

As an overall provider, we feel responsible for the complete solution. Our customers benefit from coordinated, one-stop consulting, implementation, and technology. Our customers are manufacturing companies and development organizations that often operate worldwide and rank among the leaders in their market segments.

Design principle: modular instead of monolithic

The foundation for our design principle, “modular instead of monolithic”, is provided by the CONTACT Elements platform. Similar to Lego, CONTACT Elements’ modular design principle allows comprehensive applications to be created that are more than the sum of their parts: each outstanding in its own right, together something unique. The same is true of its consistent ease of use and thus outstanding user experience. Our open standard solutions support the product lifecycle from the initial idea through to its deployment at customer sites. Our open standard solutions are CIM Database PLM, Project Office, Collaboration Hub, and Elements for IoT. We combine data management for virtual products with the functions required for collaboration and for process and project management in product development. We offer an extensive library for industrial IoT services, with modules for the digital twinning of real products. We live in a world of innovative companies that are working on the products of the future each and every day and are putting the digital transformation to smarter products into motion. Our priority is to consider in-depth, listen carefully, and offer advice on an equal footing with our partners.

Business Needs and Challenges

CONTACT Software is currently in a transition phase in its architecture, from a client/server installation on-premise to a cloud-based installation, with customers using only web clients, thus having all of the functionality in a browser. Of course, one of the main focuses is to make the transition as smooth as possible.

However, the tools for setting up and orchestrating a diverse and complex cloud architecture are not as developed as some software engineers hoped them to be.

Especially the support of state-of-the-art methodologies in IDEs in use at CONTACT lacks depth. Thus, a great need in the current phase is to be able to simplify not only the deployment and management of cloud (micro-)services but in fact their development as well.

As a result of the openness of our products and our goal to collaborate with customers in the development and improvement of our software, we need tools that support the user and let him work as efficiently as possible. For example, when customizing a solution to their needs, we may need tools to support the creation of additional services and deployments. In addition, all parties in the collaboration are intensely aware of the need to create and use secure software both cloud-based and on-premise. Therefore, tools that support the secure development and creation of (cloud) services are of utmost importance.

Working with SmartCLIDE

For us, SmartCLIDE will be a catalyst when working with cloud technologies.

It will be a great help in sales scenarios, when the demand for a quickly deployable, but stable demonstration of a custom-tailored solution is high (depending on the requirements of the potential customer) and also in later steps of the collaboration with a customer. With SmartCLIDE we want to collaboratively work on our solution with each customer and develop it further in order to make it the best possible fit for the individual end user’s needs. In order for this to work properly, we will rely on the easy-to-use functionalities of SmartCLIDE and the low-level programming examples.

SmartCLIDE will allow the user to monitor the quality of written code and deployed services. We aim to use this functionality not only to increase our code quality and the corresponding test coverage, but we will also use it as a tool to help monitor performance of deployed services in a live production environment, both on customer premises and inhouse. Specifically, SmartCLIDE will help us to detect and avoid possible bottlenecks and breakages.

Header image by Сергей Корчанов from Pixabay

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