Executive Summary

  • This is the Brightwork Research & Analysis software rating series.
  • We rate both the software and estimate the risk of implementing each application.

MUFI Rating & Risk for Arena Solutions Arena PLM

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: Intuit Quickbooks Enterprise (Select For Vendor Profile)


Arena Solutions is highly concentrated in the high tech industry where it provides a solution that can be leveraged to tie together companies, with their suppliers, subcontractors, and their contract manufacturers.

Application Detail

Arena PLM is a SaaS-based system that has a very sophisticated set of functionalities that enable collaboration between people inside of a company as well as between people inside the company and outside, in fact, it is the best collaborative application that we have reviewed. It is also one of our top-rated user interfaces. Arena provides a very fine level of control of the participation.

Arena Files Associated

Arena PLM allows the user to get to wherever they need to go quickly. For instance, there are easy to use tabs and drop downs along the top of the user interface. The main work areas have a large number of links, that can take the user to what they are looking for. There are breadcrumbs along the top, allowing the users to move anywhere in the sequence of the process.

If a company wants to collaborate with an outside entity, it does not have to provide access to the entire bill of materials with that entity. Instead, the entity will typically only see the portions of the bill of materials that are pertinent to them. For instance, there may 20 suppliers that supply 65 parts and subcomponents for what is a finished good to the customer company. However, when each supplier logs into to Arena PLM, they will only be able to see and work with their parts and subcomponents, they will not be able to see other suppliers or other components that make up the finished good.

Because of Arena PLM’s archival capabilities, it allows companies to manage their BOM as a true strategic asset. Many new products that a company introduces are not new at all but are based on older products, with some slight alteration. The easiest way to begin the design of a new product is to copy over an old product BOM, and then make changes to the parts of the product BOM (which may be a very small subset of the overall BOM) that will make the product considered a “new” product. This BOM copy can be performed quickly in Arena PLM, and all of the associated data is copied as well, including the suppliers for each BOM, costing, etc. Maximum reuse of this nature allows a company to introduce new products at minimal effort. Companies can choose to use the application fundamentally or too deeply analyze the application for historical information. Arena Solutions sees their software as having the potential to be used in the following way.

Over time, Arena becomes the repository for institutional knowledge: records of how certain design challenges were solved, how iterations of innovative technology were developed and how the product development process was handled. – Arena Solutions

Arena Revision Cross Out

Notice the revisions above. This shows the user what has been changed, the old number, along with the revised number.

­Version control is one of the most important aspects of BOM management. A good BMMS not only keeps all the BOM information in synch but can also alert people when their BOM has changed.

Indented BOM

Through Arena’s redline functionality, you cannot miss a change and inadvertently order the wrong part. You can easily compare two revisions of a BOM and see how they differ. “3 Tips for Effective Product Revision Control and Communication,” Arena Solutions, 2011

Arena Review Board

Even when an OEM has an internal engineering change order procedure, the CM is often not involved early enough to respond efficiently to the change. For small and medium-sized manufacturers, the conventional method to communicate BOMs and changes is still manual, utilizing phone, fax or e-mail. The fact that these manual ECOs are so arduous often drives people to cut corners in the documentation, communication, or gathering input to evaluate the impact of the change.  “Collaborative Tools for Product Development: A New Approach,” Arena Solutions, 2011

Indented BOM

This is of course incredibly important. It’s much easier to review changes that are made apparent to the user than asking them to catch what has changed by looking through a list. Many engineering and design projects had run into snafus because someone missed a critical revision when they were scanning many line items looking for what had changed. With this capability, users don’t miss changes and get the wrong part as a result. BOM revisions can also be compared.

Engineers are often asked to release designs earlier and earlier even when they are not ready. They must work hard to pass the right and correct information to manufacturing so their design can become a reality. With a complete and accurate engineering bill of materials, the hand-off to manufacturing will be made much smoother.  – Engineering Bill of Materials: The Ins and Outs – Arena Solutions 

In addition to the benefits noted by Arena Solutions, I have observed other benefits, which I have listed below:

  1. A quality BMMS reduces the BOM management required for both ERP systems and external planning systems if a BMMS is not in place.
  2. A quality BMMS manages BOM information in a far superior way to any ERP or planning system. Primarily, all changes are made in order with excellent BOM management data functionality and then copied over to the ERP and planning systems.
  3. A well-controlled EBOM, and by extension a BMMS, helps prevent errors from reverberating down the line.

Arena PLM is an easy decision for any buyer unless they work with recipes and not bills of material. For those buyers, typically in the process industry, a recipe specific solution like Hamilton Grant will be a better fit. Buyers that choose Arena PLM can expect a fast implementation, and software that has a high ROI because it not only improves areas like engineering, but it enhances the data management for any system that uses a bill of materials, which is quite a few systems.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

MUFI Scores

Search for the vendor in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table. Shortening Key: 
  • Ma. = Maintainability
  • Us. = Usability
  • Fu. = Functionality
  • Im. = Implementability
Average Score for Big ERP5. ERP
Average Score for CRM6.
Average Score for Small and Medium ERP8.386.78.5Small and Medium ERP
Average Score for Finance8.88.888.8Finance
Average Score for Demand Planning7.67.277.1Demand Planning
Average Score for Supply Planning6.76.976.8Supply Planning
Average Score for Production Planning6.86.976.9Production Planning
Average Score for BI Heavy5. Heavy
Average Score for PLM77.26.87.3PLM
Average Score for BI Light7.78.798.3BI Light
Arena Solutions Arena PLM10101010PLM
AspenTech AspenOne48107Production Planning
Birst88.5108BI Light
ERPNext10107.510Small and Medium ERP
Delfoi Planner866.57Production Planning
Demand Works Smoothie SP910710Supply Planning
Hamilton Grant RM1098.59PLM
IBM Cognos2.731.53BI Heavy
Infor Epiphany7865CRM
Infor Lawson8767Big ERP
Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions9959Finance
JDA DM97.588Demand Planning
Microsoft Dynamics CRM2322CRM
NetSuite CRM6433CRM
Netsuite OneWorld7788Big ERP
Oracle BI4436BI Heavy
Oracle CRM On Demand4535CRM
Oracle Demantra533.54.5Demand Planning
Oracle JD Edwards World4136Big ERP
Oracle RightNow6745CRM
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS10101010Production Planning
Preactor8737Production Planning
QlikTech QlikView99109BI Light
Rootstock9899Small and Medium ERP
Sage X38878Big ERP
Salesforce Enterprise88.597.5CRM
SAP APO DP3432Demand Planning
SAP APO PP/DS2243Production Planning
SAP APO SNP3484Supply Planning
SAP BI/BW1.5242BI Heavy
SAP Business Objects32.573BI Heavy
SAP ECC336.53Big ERP
SAP SmartOps4475.5Supply Planning
SAS BI6.5796BI Heavy
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting7897Demand Planning
Tableau (BI)9101010BI Light
Tableau (Forecasting)10859Demand Planning
Teradata86.39.76BI Heavy
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)7897Demand Planning
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)56107Supply Planning

Vendor and Application Risk

Buyers of Arena Solutions Arena PLM have every possible advantage working their direction. Arena PLM is one of the highest rated applications we have ever rated. It is a rare situation where a buyer has the opportunity to purchase software that is both the functionality leader in its category, along with being highly implementable and user-friendly.  Finally, buyers can expect leading process consulting from Arena Solutions, so the implementation not only has a very high likelihood of being successful, it has all of the potential to completely change how the BOM is used within the buyer for the positive. Arena PLM tends to be implemented in mid-sized companies, but as the functionality leader in the space, it can be implemented at the largest companies. This means that Arena PLM can open up a tremendous amount of value that is currently poorly served by the BOM functionality within SAP and Oracle tier 1 ERP systems. Furthermore, Arena PLM has an almost perfect combined application and software vendor risk rating. This means that almost all of the risk comes from the buyer’s environment, not from Arena PLM.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Likelihood of Application Implementation Success and Failure

Estimates are for a typical project. A specific implementation requires details from the project to make a project-specific estimate.

Search for the application in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table.
ApplicationProb of Implementation SuccessProb of Implementation Failure
SAP Smartops0.390.61
NetSuite CRM0.460.54
Sugar CRM0.620.48
Base CRM0.910.09
SAP CRM0.350.65
Salesforce Enterprise0.720.28
QlikTech QlikView0.820.18
Tableau (BI)0.980.02
SAP Crystal Reports0.460.54
SAS BI0.760.24
Oracle BI0.350.65
IBM Cognos0.230.77
Infor Epiphany0.580.42
Microsoft Dynamics CRM0.260.74
Oracle RightNow CRM0.410.59
Oracle CRM On Demand0.360.64
SAP Business Objects0.320.68
SAP BI/BW0.250.75
SAP PLM0.290.71
Hamilton Grant RM0.890.11
Arena Solutions0.960.04
Delfoi Planner0.70.3
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS0.960.04
AspenTech AspenOne0.550.45
SAP APO PP/DS0.270.73
Demand Works Smoothie SP0.930.07
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)0.820.18
Demand Works Smoothie0.960.04
Tableau (Forecasting)0.90.1
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting0.820.18
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)0.860.14
JDA DM0.570.43
Oracle Demantra0.330.67
SAP APO DP0.280.72
Intuit QB Enterprise0.80.2
Microsoft Dynamics AX0.40.6
SAP Business One0.490.51
Sage X30.620.38
Infor Lawson0.580.42
Epicor ERP0.40.6
Oracle JD Edwards World0.310.69
Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne0.360.64
SAP ERP ECC/R/30.320.68
NetSuite OneWorld0.650.35

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Risk Management Approach

The only implementation issues that a buyer of Arena PLM can expect to the fact are the traditional issues that face PLM/BOM management implementation projects. Arena Solutions has tended to be implemented by smaller companies – the only reason being they do not have the brand recognition of being associated with a primary software vendor. As such they have become acclimated to having their software implemented in clients with limited resources. We predict Arena Solutions will eventually be more widely recognized for its excellent software and will become a significantly more prominent company and will be implemented by larger buyers, buyers with much more resources. An Arena PLM implementation is one that any project manager should look forward to, as it has a high likelihood of adding significant value to the buyer.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the BI Light software category. Or go to this link to see other analytical products for Arena Solutions Arena PLM.