Lawrence Romine, VP of Marketing for Altium, is here to discuss the release of Altium Concord Pro and it’s aim to provide a fresh approach to library and component management. Romine describes the modern, streamlined experience that reduces context switching, keeps communication in sync and enables an information flow that dramatically improves workflow, productivity and accuracy. We also talk about Altium Designer 19.1, what that includes and what you can expect from this performance-based releas

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Show Highlights:

  • Lawrence started his career in electronics like most of us. His father was an EE and since the age of ten, he knew what he wanted to do - it was always engineering. His career of 20 years has evolved through the selling or business-end of engineering.
  • He started in design with a particular interest in Audio at McCormick Audio from where he became involved in the semiconductor business working for Insight Electronics, selling and supporting Xilinx. In his search for more involvement with software, he joined Altium where he’s had a varied career over the last 15 years.
  • What is Concord Pro? A library and component on-premise solution that works with Altium Designer and includes the MCAD collaboration capabilities which support Solidworks, PTC, Prio, and Autodesk Inventor. 
  • Concord Pro is very simple; it’s focused on library and component management to include an on-premise server. 
  • How is Concord Pro different to Vault, NEXUS and NEXUS Server? NEXUS Server is a rebrand of Vault, and the aim was for it to become a regulated ‘or gated’ design process. It made sense at the time to consolidate Vault under the NEXUS umbrella.
  • Define the NEXUS ‘Channel’: NEXUS is a process-oriented solution, not a product, comprising configurable off-the-shelf modules; that Altium Configures and deploys on the customer’s premises with a joint agreement on the outcome - it’s applicable across the board; irrespective of the size of the company.
  • A good example of successful deployment is in a smaller medical device manufacturer, which has a rigorous process to which they must adhere.  
  • Why was there a change from Vault to NEXUS? Customer surveys about library management confirmed that elements of NEXUS Server didn’t truly fit the profile of customers in the traditional Altium Designer Channel. Everyone has a need for reliable library and component management which considers supply chain information, ideally during the design phase but it doesn’t mean they need full lifecycle approval capabilities or to enforce any rigor in the design process itself, for example, gating of approval processes. These elements have been removed from Concord Pro, to make it more streamlined for the majority of users. 
  • What happens to Vault and Nexus Server users now? For current subscribers, it’s a free, painless move to Concord Pro. If you’re not using TC2 or the lifecycle approval process, all you need to do is update your existing product. 
  • For those that are using TC2 and lifecycle approval capabilities - just keep doing what you’re doing.
  • Vault and Nexus will be maintained but not added to or sold individually going forward. Features will, however, be added to Concord pro.
  • How does the ECAD-MCAD integration work? With Altium Concord Pro, we have a bi-directional push-pull arrangement with Concord Pro as the intermediary. So, you can make changes in one environment or the other, be it ECAD or MCAD - and the genesis of those designs can start in one domain or the other and push those changes into the other environment.
  • As soon as an engineer emails a file, it’s no longer the most recent version, because they continue designing - check out the Concord Pro Page.
  • What many engineers and designers are creating and calling a Bill of Materials is indeed a parts list. What Concord Pro brings to the table is enabling users to create a Bill of Materials as they go and this applies to everyone.
  • Do take advantage of the 60-day evaluation offer on Concord Pro.
  • Moving beyond Concord Pro, what’s on the horizon for Altium? We want to continue our aggressive growth and enhance the capabilities of our tool as our users are requesting. 
  • We are releasing Altium Designer 19.1 with a significant focus on engagement with the customer across the board where our customers congregate. There are significant investments in the stability and performance of the product.
  • We listen to the customers and address what they tell us they need. We will continue to give our users a stake in the product and give them a voice.
  • We are also looking towards the next 3D. 
  • What initiatives does Altium have in regards to raising the game on BugCrunch? We definitely listen to BugCrunch. We prioritize our action according to the number of votes received. 
  • We are paying attention, our developers are addressing a large number of issues daily. We will do more regarding responding or communicating to the users because a user’s perception is their reality. 
  • BugCrunch participation is not overwhelming; we need to inform users that it is their voice, and we need to do better with acknowledging and engaging the user.  
  • Shout out to Kelly in Salt Lake City - the largest Altium Designer user group, who are voting collectively to get their votes to the top of the priority list.
  • What keeps you here personally? I’m still here because I chose this career path, business is about sales and marketing, which is ultimately about the narrative - the story - and this is a hell of a story. People are better off at the end of the process. 
  • We put out a solid product and we have a great ‘why’. We focus on the user first, we engage bottom-up and it’s working really well.
  • Our sales process is unique - we believe that the user is the decision maker.

Links and Resources:

Podcast with John Watson
Concord Pro Page
Concord Pro Tutorials
Do Smaller Companies Need Data Management? Podcast
Altium BugCrunch

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