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SSI 30th Anniversary
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You often hear me talk about the platform of platforms ecosystem and how shipbuilding and other industries are using it to build their future digital enterprises. A key aspect any platform that wants to effectively participate in this future ecosystem will need to have is the ability to consume, distribute, synchronize, link or federate information with other platforms as a first-class citizen – no matter where the platform exists and which software vendor created it.

One valid concern of this strategy, sometimes referred to as best-of-breed, is that the integration between software vendors is not good or simply not there. In the past (over 5 years ago), many integrations between software vendors were conducted by customers of the software. This had a whole lot of issues and is the reason many people to this day still cringe when talking about integrating between software vendors’ projects.

The good news is that the software landscape has changed and the companies that are fully committed to the platform of platforms ecosystem understand that seamless integration as a 1st class citizen is the way forward. This is why you hear many companies now talking about APIs and promote their partner ecosystem. The goal with APIs is to make it easier for other software partners in the ecosystem to be able to consume and distribute information into your platform or tool. In essence, any software vendor that focuses on continually adding to and improving their APIs will see better, more natural and seamless integrations that customers do not have to implement.

SSI fully embraces this platform of platforms ecosystem and continues to grow and improve the way we consume and distribute information across your digital environment. We already have several access points and APIs that our partners, clients and even competitors can use to exploit the information that is in our environment. Yet, we decided to create even more functionality in our quest to liberate your information.

The main reason we continue to produce more and better ways for our partners to access information is that we believe, for this platform of platforms ecosystem to succeed, our partners need to create a seamless integration between our products – that is invisible to users – with a minimal amount of effort.

As SSI and our partners became more ambitious and continued integrating our solutions, we found that we needed a better way to create native ShipConstructor parts. Our partners were always able to create native ShipConstructor items including parts; however, it was like conducting delicate brain surgery.

This is why we developed a creation framework we call Genesis. This framework allows our partners to create SSI native and intelligent parts outside of the traditional SSI user CAD environment. This makes it extremely easy for our partners to access and create parts inside our environment without having our environment installed. 

As with the majority of the enhancements SSI develops, we worked very closely with our extensive SDN (SSI Developer Network) partners. I would like to talk about two partners who have publicly talked about how they have used Genesis to quickly create an integration that creates intelligent SSI parts.


ExpressMarine

Above is a model transferred to ShipConstructor from ExpressMarine with no additional manipulation.

ExpressMarine, one of SSI’s SDN (SSI Developer Network) partners, recently conducted a webinar on their solution and the integration with ShipConstructor. View it here. ExpressMarine is specifically built for the marine industry, using a fresh approach to parametric modeling creating a ship structure is possible in days instead of the normal weeks or months. Visit their website for more information. 


PROSTEP

Above is the initial prototype (June 2019) of a NAPA model transferred to ShipConstructor with no additional manipulation. NAPA original model courtesy of NAPA.

PROSTEP uses Genesis in their OpenPDM Ship environment where they support many of the common shipbuilding tools. They were able to prove how easy it is to create native SSI entities from their OpenPDM Ship environment using source data from a NAPA model.

PROSTEP is a vendor-neutral consulting and software company that has a lot of experience integrating systems across the marine industry and other industries. This includes systems such as CAD, PLM, ERP, MRP, PDMs, IoT and many other TLA (Three Letter Acronyms) from various vendors. Visit their website for more information.


Closing Remarks

Any company that wants to participate in the future platform of platforms ecosystem will need to embrace the idea that information needs to freely flow across many systems, tools and companies.

I truly believe that software vendors and integrators need to make sure information flows seamlessly across the ecosystem while remaining invisible to the user. For this to happen, software vendors such as SSI need to continue to create and improve on how we expose our information and processes. Allowing a partner to create an integration in days (or even in hours) that is robust will help blur the lines of where one application starts and the other ends to the user.

Our Genesis framework is our continuous commitment to this seamless future, and we are continuing our work to enhance it and other methods of liberating your information.

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