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Dassault Systèmes Rounds Out Process PLM Capabilities via Accelrys

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: January 31 2014

Dassault Systèmes announced its intent to acquire Accelrys, Inc., a San Diego-based public provider of scientific innovation lifecycle management software for chemistry, biology, and materials, for approximately $750 million(USD). Combining with Accelrys should enrich the molecular chemistry capabilities, from discovery to manufacturing, of Dassault Systèmes’ formulation-based offerings for industries such as life sciences, consumer packaged goods (CPG), high tech, and energy, as well as advanced manufacturing industries. Bernard Charlès, president and CEO of Dassault Systèmes, believes that “the world demands a new paradigm for sustainability where chemistry, materials, and biology meet.”
 
The Accelrys Enterprise Platform provides a broad and flexible scientific foundation optimized to integrate the diversity of science, experimental processes, and information requirements across the research, development, quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC), and manufacturing phases of product development. Accelrys offers capabilities in scientific data management, modeling and simulation, research informatics, laboratory informatics, enterprise quality management, environmental health and safety (EH&S), and operations intelligence for customers in science-driven industries. The company employs more than 225 full-time PhD scientists) and its list of 2,000 customers includes many major industry players in pharmaceutical, biotech, CPG, and chemicals including Sanofi, Pfizer, GSK, AstraZeneca, Du Pont, Shell, BASF, P&G, Unilever, and L’Oréal.
 
Accelrys offers high-end modeling tools for chemistry, which are very strong in life sciences and chemicals research. In late 2013, Accelrys bought QUMAS, a specialist in life sciences compliance and quality management software. It will be interesting to see how Dassault Systèmes will merge three quite different infrastructures (Enginuity, Accelrys, and QUMAS) into the ENOVIA V6 product lifecycle management (PLM) platform while minimizing internal conflict with sales and services. Each department within a life sciences client company (e.g., research, procurement, manufacturing, quality, etc.) views data differently, and this is why no single process PLM solution for all departments has emerged yet.
 
It is interesting to note that in the manufacturing execution systems (MES) realm, Intercim (acquired by Dassault Systèmes in 2011) was quite smaller than Apriso (acquired in 2013), while in process PLM Enginuity (acquired in 2011) was much smaller than Accelrys. This may be a pattern—Dassault Systèmes tries something smaller first to get a feel for a market before going after bigger acquisitions.
 
While this may be a smart approach, Dassault Systèmes should be careful not to have too many end-of-life (EOL) products post-acquisition, as appears to be the case with the SmarTeam PLM product. A vendor that sunsets products can loose credibility with its sales teams, and the market in general.Should Dassault Systèmes be able to pull off this complete process PLM undertaking without many casualties, it will certainly give competitors—Siemens PLM, Infor Optiva, Oracle’s Agile PLM for Process, SAP PLM, and others— a run for their money.
 
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