Mr. Thiel, how is the work on merging the two enterprises going? Did some things go more easily than expected, and what things do we still need to work on?
The common spirit is almost palpable. We are moving a great many things forward just on maximum motivation. Our staff are looking forward to the interaction and our work together. At CENIT, we have already gained plenty of experience in the M&A field: Since 2008, we from the 3DS PLM Business Unit have been integrating external enterprises every three years, so our team was able to provide some excellent groundwork. Additionally, as leading partners of Dassault Systèmes KEONYS and CENIT work in the same sectors and face the same challenges. This was a great help in driving the integration forward. What we’re addressing at this point is local skill development within the teams. We can now begin this process so that, for example, our colleagues at KEONYS become intimately familiar with CENIT solutions like cenitCONNECT or our Digital Factory solutions.
Our mission is making our customers more competitive. That begs the question: How is the merger with KEONYS going to make us even better? What strengths do we gain as a PLM provider?
PLM projects are resource-intensive and more international in scope than ever. The merger of these two market leaders has created by far the largest Dassault-Systèmes partner in the world. Ours will be the biggest 3DEXPERIENCE integration team on the market. With KEONYS, we are also expanding our expertise in fields of simulation and MES (manufacturing execution system) because our colleagues have very high competencies regarding SIMULIA and APRISO. Conversely, KEONYS clients will profit from CENIT’s proprietary software products like cenitSPIN and cenitFLEX+, as well as our scalable application management concept. That puts us in a position to serve full-scale PLM projects in the international context – because we have the skills, the customer contacts and the economic muscle.
Does that mean that our focus will shift to large-scale PLM projects?
No, by no means. We are committed to providing small and medium enterprises with scalable solutions that pave their way to digitization. Our concept here is “Ready to Grow”. And in concert with KEONYS, we can now offer this concept with on-the-ground resources in more markets.
How does communication between KEONYS and CENIT work at the concrete project level? Are the teams set up internationally from the start, or will the project managers draw on competencies from other countries as the need arises?
Both will happen. With the available skills and language proficiencies, we can take on major international tenders. Equally, project managers can call on specialists when they need additional expertise, and then it basically doesn’t matter which offices those experts come from. Overall, we want to promote internal exchanges and team networking at the operational level. “Connecting the dots” is the order of the day, and in the digital age it happens all by itself anyway. We support this via the collaboration initiative we’ve just launched. At the management level, coordination is through a joint Board in which the service and sales managers can exchange views and make joint decisions.
How do French companies view the move toward end2end digitization of the product development process? Are there differences compared to Germany?
For French clients, the challenges of digital transformation are absolutely identical. It’s an industry-driven issue, as can be seen from the fact that at the end of June, production digitization initiatives from Germany, France and Italy introduced a trilateral collaboration strategy. The German Industrie 4.0 Plattform, the French Alliance Industrie du Futur and the Italian Initiative Piano Industria 4.0 agreed on an action plan to promote and support digitization processes across national borders. It’s all about harmonization to help tackle the same challenges. The common denominator is PLM-based engineering as the backbone of digitization – based on precisely the core services provided by CENIT and KEONYS.
Mr. Thiel, many thanks for this interview.