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Managing Complex Software Engineering Alliances in a World Teeming With Digital Twins

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, May 5, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Michael Moser spends a good deal of his day collaborating in a digital world. With tech experience that reaches back 25 years with some of the biggest companies in the industry, such as HP, he is well-positioned to manage very complex software engineering alliances. When he came onboard at Dassault Systémes in Vélizy-Villacoublay, France, 15 years ago, he had already been introduced to interactive 3-D software, such as the engineering model for the Boeing 777. Since then, 3-D software has evolved significantly; it’s now a realistic, animated prototype capable of interconnecting via the cloud, he explained to me in an interview during the 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland. For Moser, who offered the session “Master a Portfolio of Tactics to Animate the Partner Ecosystem,” the challenge of the day is deciding how to build partner networks that capture mushrooming opportunities in a growing industry. 

What are digital twins, and how do customers use them?
Dassault Systémes creates 3-D experiences for customers to sell a product. The customers can then present it digitally through simulation, which allows users to demonstrate and experience the product before a physical product is built. It’s called a digital twin, because you have a twin of your real-world product in the digital world. Dassault works with many industries, such as transportation, shipbuilding, aerospace and defense, high-tech products, architecture and engineering, consumer package goods (supermarkets), life sciences (the human body), energy creation and consumption, natural resources (mining), and security (panic patterns and fires).  The program can create digital twins for nature and the planet, such as altering a riverbed to impact a valley. It can simulate molecules and life and test chemical reactions. It’s all physics in the end. 

What types of projects have used a digital twin?
Electronics, data management, online connections, Internet of Things technology, sensors. It’s used by healthcare a lot, not only for analysis but also for emergency support, and security for simulating a terrorist attack or nuclear accident. If you apply this concept to a city, for example Singapore, which is one of our customers, it can be used to investigate the impact of changes on new buildings and physical parameters, such as lights, wind, and pollution. A client asked Dassault to simulate towing an iceberg from Antarctica to Africa for fresh water. It worked, so now they know it can be done. We also can build thermoanalytic systems for rising temperatures resulting from global warming that consist of human models walking through a city and experiencing temperature variation. 

What are the benefits of building digital twins?
It saves money for the customer as compared to the old model of build a prototype, such as a town in the desert. With a digital twin, you don’t have the expense of building or destroying a physical structure. It’s also much more green and sustainable because you don’t have to building physical structures. With a simulated car crash, you might need 10 prototypes for a crash. With a twin, you only have to build one to certify safety. Another benefit is flexibility: They can be altered to optimize the design. It also saves time. For example, instead of asking customers to walk aisles and document their findings on questionnaires, you can have customers wear goggles, send them through a store, and change the aisles based on capturing their reaction. With goggles, you are really in the midst of the digital twin because it scans the body, and you can actually see your hands. You look down at your feet, and your feet are in the virtual world. You also get better feedback because you can test multiple scenarios to optimize design and collect feedback to incorporate it. 

How do you try to capture this growing, and sometimes illusive, market?
Not only does Dassault simulate and construct prototypes, we are engaged in solution partnerships. There are an enormous number of technology partners with programs integrated into software. They develop solutions and want to sell them, but they aren’t always properly promoted. They need to sell to a broader ecosystem of customers and users. I take those partners’ positions and interests and design a support structure to sell and promote their solutions. One technique I use is a social marketing platform called “Talk,” an online community where partners can explain their solution to potential users. We integrate them to go to market, develop sales leads, and provide a platform to communicate akin to LinkedIn that is comprised of a Dassault customer base. 

What do you foresee for Dassault’s future?
The challenge is to bring it to next level and give more freedom to this ecosystem. If you have a bulletproof Pentagon style, you won’t meet the requirements of the new world, which is integrated instantly with apps. I am in favor of loose controls because if you don’t work that way these days, you will lose opportunity. These skills are more needed than deep technology skills, at least in the partnering environment—you need collaboration skills and open mindedness. 

Tags:  collaboration  Dassault Systémes  digital twin  ecosystem  go to market  Mike Moser  partnerships  technology partners  thermoanalytic systems 

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