Dassault, IBM Land Boeing Jumbo Jet Design Deal

Boeing will move to Dassault Systemes' Catia V5 computerized design and management software to build its new 7E7 jumbo jet.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

February 12, 2004

2 Min Read

Boeing Co. will move to Dassault Systemes' Catia V5 computerized design and management software in an action that's expected to result in contracts worth a few hundred million dollars for Dassault and IBM, its largest partner, the companies said Thursday.

The product life-cycle management products bring a new dimension to the creation of jumbo jets as the software and services move deeper into enterprise computing, covering cradle-to-grave functions from design and marketing to manufacturing and maintenance. Boeing says the products will save two years in bringing its 7E7 jumbo jet to market.

"This is a big win for Catia V5," says Cyon Research's Amy Rowell. "It's taken some time for users to embrace V5 because it's a whole new architecture. The contract should result in 4,000 to 6,000 seats being created."

Rowell, an industry analyst at the CAD research consulting firm, says the contract will work with Enovia, an enterprisewide tool primarily developed by IBM, and with Smarteam, an engineering management tool. The remaining piece is Delmia, a digital manufacturing component. While Boeing is not the first company to move to Catia V5, it may be the largest to do so.

None of the main parties involved--Boeing, Dassault, or IBM--would give financial terms of the contract, but with so many CAD seats involved, it's likely to represent a few hundred million dollars over a few years, including the services and maintenance pieces of the contract. Rowell believes IBM's Global Services unit will be involved particularly in the Enovia segment, which features software application and integration tools.

Cyon's president and chief executive officer, Brad Holtz, says Catia V5 moves beyond simply being a CAD package to representing a whole new suite of products. "The last version of Catia is about 10 years old," he says. "Today we have much better tools that focus on more difficult parts of the whole process. [Catia V5] is quicker, more cost effective, and it helps produce a better final product."

He noted that many of Boeing's suppliers and subcontractors will acquire Catia V5 or parts of its product life-cycle management capability. Holtz adds that because more subcontractors will use the software, they'll have an enhanced role in the development of the jet. In fact, he says, some entire components of the plane that were previously designed by Boeing are likely to be designed by subcontractors.

The 7E7 is expected to be operative in 2008, Boeing says. The first customer is likely to be a foreign airline.

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