PDMW: A Data Warehouse for Windchill

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Like most useful products, PDMW was inspired by actual customer needs. In our case, a data warehouse was needed to house Windchill Oracle data separately from the transactional database, for use by multiple downstream systems and CPU-intensive custom reporting.

It had to be able to quickly load massive data volumes. It had to have well-documented table layouts which were simple enough for “non-Windchill” IT people to understand and work with. And because it was designed for use in secure, closed areas implementations, it had to eliminate the layers of software products and specific knowledge areas present in some large-scale warehousing architectures, since such experts would not have access to the data warehouse solution.

What resulted is a one-click, easy-to-use, and very high performance warehousing solution for Windchill data, which we named PDMW, for Product Data Management Warehouse. It provides for one-click or scheduled loads, in full or delta mode. It contains auditing to compare its data with Windchill between loads. It comes with standard reports, including compliance reporting, and allows for easy cloning of same to build out custom reports. It allows for embedded integrations which can be launched and tracked from with its GUI. And best of all, it is all bundled in a single product, eliminating need for a separate ETL tool, data warehouse, reporting GUI and DBA expertise.

Key Benefits:

  • Simplicity: Simplifies and flattens your Windchill data structures.
  • Accessibility: PDMW database is open and documented.
  • Ease of Use: PDMW loads and audits can be performed with a single click or can be scheduled.
  • Reporting: Contains standard reports, plus allows quick and simple creation of ad-hoc reports. Or, simply connect your own favorite and well understood BI tool to PDMW, as we have done with QLIK and Looker, and can assist with.
  • ROI: Allows you to use your existing BI tools and in-house IT expertise to make full usage of your PDM data. Reduces time and cost for building reports or interfacing your data to downstream systems.
  • Flexibility: Customizations (“instance based attributes”) are automatically detected and loaded to PDMW without need for programmatic or configuration changes.
  • Performance: Improves speed of report execution and unburdens your Windchill system from the performance hit of real-time reporting, e.g., 10,000 row full exploded BOMs.
  • Scalable: Performance-proven on 1B row Windchill installation (12 million part versions, 10 million documents, 140 million part usage links and 700 million customized data columns (IBAs), etc).
  • Multi-Site: Multiple Windchill instances can be housed in one PDMW database, allowing for cross-site reporting. Meld multiple Windchill instances into a single database, and report concurrently from each, if desired.
  • Environmental Compliance: PDMW standard reports include material and substance environmental compliance by Part and regulation set, with a list view and a Bill of Materials view.

PDMW has proven itself as a go-to product which can handle massive Windchill data volumes, yet is also simple enough to use where turn-key solutions requiring minimal support are required. As a proof of concept on its ROI, its data was used to construct a series of dashboards within the Looker BI tool, in just a few days, by an IT resource who had no prior knowledge of Windchill. The immediate future will see an expansion of PDMW’s internal reporting capability, including compliance reporting, and also a build-out of PDMW metric views to make 3rd party BI access even simpler.