by Roopinder Tara, Tenlinks.com
Dassault Systemes has identified so many industries it means to conquer that it seems to me like a plan for world domination. Here are some of the industries mentioned at the 3DExperience conference:
Architecture and construction
- Apparel and fashion
There were more, but my head was starting to spin. To say it is an ambitious plan is an understatement. Each industry already has its entrenched leaders, with known and respected industry expertise. What would the maker of CATIA know about fashion, for example? Sure it can show me the next Boeing jet on airport runways, but can it simulate the spring collection on models as they sashay down Paris runways?
Dassault CEO Bernard Charles does not seem to be bothered by such considerations. Dassault Systemes has its roots in Dassault, the aircraft company, from which it was a small step to the design facilities of Boeing, Airbus… just about every major aerospace company, commercial or military.
If you allow yourself to think of cars as airplanes without wings, you can see how success in aerospace would have translated into the automotive market. As engineers hold airplanes and cars as the finest examples of their craft, Dassault products next got a warm welcome from many manufacturing companies.
But what of AEC, where the Dassault brand has little cachet?
How can Dassault establish credibility in so many diverse industries, in which its aerospace and automotive pedigree matters not, where nobody knows about CATIA, or may never have heard about Dassault fighter planes?
Dassault Mines for Credibility
With the recent Gemcom acquisition, CEO Bernard Charles gave a hint of how he hopes Dassault will achieve credibility as he targets new industries.
CATIA and SolidWorks were probably in use for the design of earth mining machinery. But what of the geologic analysis, the planning, management of the mines, etc.? Dassault was only scratching the surface [ha ha, get it?].
Dassault solved this problem by going out and buying the mining software market leader, Gemcom (its product is renamed GEOVIA by the time you read this). Gemcom was such a force to be reckoned with, that mining terms are named after the founder of the company, according to Bernard. Everyone in mining knows Gemcom, like everyone in airplanes knows CATIA. With this acquisition, Dassault bought itself instant credibility.
Can Dassault keep buying market leading software? The company reports $1.6 billion of cash and cash equivalents. It could buy four more companies the size of Gemcom outright.
Still, miners don’t know the Dassault name. But that is slated to change. Dassault is targeting corporate name recognition from the high vantage of national advertising campaigns (remember the iceberg commercial), along with a marketing maverick.
If Gemcom serves as an example, look for Dassault to try to achieve market penetration and leadership by buying industry leading software while at the same time increasing its name recognition to the world at large.
Impressing the public, which includes stockholders, other approvers, as well as targeted industries. Why not establish the idea that that Dassault is a huge company with a world vision, one that acts with the whole world in mind? This two-pronged approach, which relies on establishing name familiarity, would be vital in preventing skeptics from asking “Who the heck is Dassault. Don’t they make software that designs airplanes?”
Instead, they would remember a company that is good, green, benign, friendly, smiling… a personification of Bernard Charles himself, intent on saving the world – and, incidentaly, a comany you can count on to do your job.