Implementing PLM solutions requires technical and business-related competencies, especially when it comes to translating business imperatives into process, people, data and platform / tool related solution elements, migrating data and transitioning to services operations. It is always a team effort from solutioning to handing over a solution that works. It involves a range of activities, across a number of stakeholders, from subject matter experts to business leaders and C-suite executives.
PLM certification is typically platform-driven and tailored to specific vendor solution, based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform from Dassault Systèmes in the case of Processia. Obviously, certification does not guaranty implementation success. However, it surely contributes to aligning with quality standards, latest technological advances and process good practice, mitigating risks of failure by adhering to vendor guidance and applying fundamental platform principles.
In this post, I elaborate on the purpose of PLM certification, why and how it relates to personal development objectives—highlighting lessons learned and feedback from my discussions with Daniel, a technical PLM consultant and developer with Processia.
Training is part of everyone’s ongoing development path. It typically includes a mix of formal and on-the-job learning, including self-learning and, from time to time, formal technical certification. Such certification could be compared to obtaining a license to drive a car:
- Having a driving license does not guaranty that one is a good driver; it only represents an official ‘license to drive’ per the given local regulations.
- Some drivers are better than others, even though they hold the same driving license.
- Some people never lose points on their driving license as they don’t actually drive (lack of experience, or they do not apply effectively what they have learned).
- The more one drives, the more experience one accumulates; nevertheless, bad habits can be difficult to correct over time.
- Even if one holds a driving license, experience requires ongoing practice to maintain knowledge accuracy and nurture good habits.
- If regulations were to change (or when driving in a new country for example), getting a refresher course might help align to the local standards.
- Also, one could drive a racing car on a closed circuit, even without holding a driving license… They might still however lack credibility and remain illegal when driving on public roads without a license.
Perhaps the ‘driving license’ metaphor stops here… For very specialized or technical subject matters, certification provides assurance of compliance and alignment with the latest ‘practice’ (i.e., how the vendor has designed and built its platform, how it should be implemented, configuration or customized, leveraging value from the collective knowledge). From a 3DEXPERIENCE point of view, Dassault Systèmes describes certification as follows:
“The rapid pace of technological change is demanding new skills from today’s workers – skills that employers have difficulty finding due to short supply and intense competition (…). As a Certified 3DEXPERIENCE platform User [or Implementation Consultant], you can boost your career and demonstrate your proficiency in world-leading industry design solutions.”
There are various certification programs when it comes to 3DEXPERIENCE and new programs are continuously being developed as the scope of the platform evolves. An extract of the latest list of 3DEXPERIENCE certifications can be found on the Dassault Systèmes’ website here: https://www.3ds.com/training/certification-program/3dexperience-certification/
Discussions with Daniel Mougnan, Technical Consultant
Daniel Mougnan has been a PLM technical consultant with Processia with over 4 years of service, working as a developer for 18 years overall. His expertise covers CAA V5 and V6, and a variety of programming languages, such as java and other 3DEXPERIENCE customization methodologies.
So, what’s in it for Daniel at Processia? What did he learn from the 3DEXPERIENCE certification? How does that help him grow his knowledge and expertise? How does he apply this knowledge on PLM implementation projects? And how do customers benefit from it?
Over the years, Daniel has been mostly learning on-the-job and adapting to customer project requirements and problem-solving imperatives. He recently got certified on the following 3DEXPERIENCE programs:
- 2019: Services Software Expert
- 2020: Solution Architect
- 2020: Infrastructure Consultant
- 2021: Infrastructure Architect – Solution Certification
- 2021: Enovia Brand Essentials
As Daniel rightly put it:
“From the beginning of my career in PLM, I’ve always been very curious; and I want to stay current with the state of the art of the technology. These certifications are a recognition of all my efforts and time learning along the years. My expertise is now more visible to my clients and colleagues.”
Why getting certified
The rationale for the above certifications can be summarized as follows:
- As a technical SME and developer, Daniel needs to understand what’s under the hood of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform; since the platform is evolving with each release, it is an ongoing learning journey.
- While he is already an experienced developer, it is important for him to stay current with the latest principles, tools and methods, in context of the latest platform advances (remaining future-ready to embark on the next project).
- As new processes and capabilities are embedded within the platform, it is also essential for Daniel to continue to grow from a technical developer to a “technical consultant”, widen his knowledge while remaining a trusted expert in his field of competence.
- Transversal certification contributes to expand his perspective, understand the bigger picture and extended implementation requirements; this includes how his activities fit in context of other SMEs in the team; this will make him more versatile and open the door to new technical roles in the context of customer projects.
Certification benefits all stakeholders
In turn, everyone benefits from certification as it contributes to:
- Improving teamwork with certified resources leveraging knowledge overlaps, fostering effective collaboration, cross-functional communication and proactive interactions, bringing more value to both customers and the Processia team.
- Leveraging skill development across technical and business domains, aligning to recent standards and platform improvements, up to the latest release; understanding what has changed and the value the platform brings to its end-user groups.
- Increasing individual confidence and credibility when engaging with customers and partners.
- Opening the door to new roles and career development opportunities, including more challenging and rewarding client project opportunities.
- Bringing further quality assurance and expertise to customer engagements, while providing ongoing vendor alignment and the ability to interface with more stakeholders.
PLM certification strategy
With most technical roles, PLM certification is one of the mandatory steps towards talent development. Certification is not a “do and forget” activity or something dedicated to junior staff. It fits within a wider continuous learning process, and it is down to each individual with the support of their line manager to put what has been learn into practice, as soon as possible (and continue to learn on-the-job).
Processia has set the ambitious goal to continuously certify all its technical consultants on the latest platform releases. Regular formal platform certification contributes to better employee satisfaction, improved customer value services, and continuous relationship development through Processia’s 20-year partnership with Dassault Systemes.