How we’re building a partnering business for 3DEXPERIENCE

Andrew Sparrow
6 min readMar 3, 2020

It was in February 2017 when it shook my little world.

I was set to spend another 48hrs immersing myself in Industry4.0/Smart technologies at the i4.0 Summit.

Then, right at the start of the conference John Kitchingman, the then newly appointed Dassault Systemes, EuroNorth Managing Director had taken the stand to talk Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing and mentioned something called the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.

As he finished and handed over to another speaker, I was already intrigued by the idea of this new platform to encourage and enable collaborative innovation. I switched one of my phones to record for the new Speaker and I plugged into the conference wifi with the other, determined to find out more about the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.

It all dropped quickly into place: There was this 4IR; a new revolutionary era driven by changing customer demands for amazing new products/experiences, and the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform was the enabler of collaborative innovation, to bring PLM and Smart Manufacturing to a new level.

It was at this point my priorities changed dramatically.

I had to plug directly in to innovation and Platformization for the 4IR. PLM/Smart Manufacturing (3DEXPERIENCE) would be my chosen vehicle to make it happen.

But, where could I find people/colleagues who understood it and together build a business?

Searching for a shared vision

I decided in the meantime I’d put my head down, grow a community, and build my personal reputation.

Months passed and I began to wonder if such people were out there?

People who understood the macro perspective? But equally the details necessary to deliver solutions. Aka World-class people, but remained humble?

Would I find a group that understood the need for tech-enabled innovation? And, that didn’t have an ego that stopped them partnering in the background, as part of their business model?

My idea was to support the major vendor and consulting group(s), while remaining out of the spotlight.

A group that understood winning the hearts and minds of the audience meant marketing content that either educated or entertained or both and therefore didn’t waste time trying to sell the world on how good we are — after all, who watches/reads/listens to advertisements these days?

A little backstory

I won’t labor, but it was a few years ago, when I built a business that prided itself in partnering with one of the biggest solution vendors in the world, SAP and global consulting groups, PwC Consulting, who became IBM Global Services and Andersen Consulting, who became Accenture.

At our peak we were 300 strong globally and didn’t care that no one had heard of us, because we sat in the background helping to win new projects and deliver them with our aforementioned partners. We loved it, our people loved the flexibility as a small company we gave them and the fact that they engaged with some of the biggest companies in the world, care of our partners.

We were a “body-shop” (we never denied it), but one with a very big difference — we cared about our partners and would be with them side by side, each step of the way.

A new dawn

It was over a year ago when we met and I admired his drive to make a difference, to be different, and his determination to deliver the 3DEXPERIENCE vision, like no other. Soufiane, the original founder of XD Innovation and I got along well — our energies aligned, as did our passion.

Back then, the timing and location wasn’t right, but as our circumstances evolved the opportunity arose again only a few weeks ago. He introduced me to one of his partners, the VP of Services, David Mann and we clicked right-off, at our first meeting down in Dana Point. We shared a passion for consulting, the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, for delivering world-class solutions and for the 4IR.

We both shared the desire to work with large enterprise and new disruptors but we both knew one of the best ways to do that is to partner with others; to recognize what we can do and know what we can’t.

We decided as part of XDI Services overall offering, we would be the ‘Project Partnering’ business of choice.

We racked our brains as to what we’ll be doing

The Vision

We believe there are large global solution providers who want a loyal marketing, sales and delivery partner that’s prepared to take responsibility for helping to engage customers and to deliver solutions, without demanding the limelight.

The culture

Having dealt with large solution providers over many years, the one thing I know really annoys them is when they only hear from their supposedly names strategic partners, when a bill needs paying for a sub-contracted service.

We knew Project Partnering had to be about so much more than just “selling people”.

It had to be about sharing in the responsibility of identifying, engaging with and delivering to customers and projects! It’s knowing you’re never alone out there, because we’re there by your side.

Our cultures with our partners needed to align. We need to think together, to share similar values and beliefs — pretty much a marriage!

We need to complement each other with our people. We know our uique people love working in a smallco, with the flexibility, agility, great remuneration and direct ability to make a difference to the company. And, we had to have the technical and business skills that our partners wouldn’t necessarily hire themselves.

Now our partners have their own Talent Acquisition teams, however most are diversified across multiple skills and have little time to build talent pipelines for prospective projects, frequently leaving the front-line salespeople concerned that they may not have the delivery capabilities waiting behind them! We however prepare for every project, come what may, so we’re always ready to mobilize and deliver.

Our partners have their own marketing teams, ‘flat-out’ in the channels pushing great content/assets, however we often think differently and have the luxury of being small, agile and able to turn on a dime to produce content that is always contextual to our collective audience.

It’s fun and always more effective to combine the two of us!

In conclusion

It’s going to be a thrilling journey ahead for Project Partnering, as we look forward to working with our partners and their customers in delivering the very best that the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform can deliver.

Look forward to working with you


I drive Product Innovation & Optimization projects for companies using cutting-edge tech & software solutions to keep them at the forefront of the customer-centric 4IR

I blog, vlog & podcast passionately about our need to innovate & thrive, about managing the product lifecycle (PLM) & ever improving smarter manufacturing (MES/MOM/Digital Manufacturing). I love working with the solution vendors, the large consultancies & system integrators & helping them promote themselves & best practice, while at the same time helping deliver great projects through my networks

I love & thrive in working with some of the world’s largest companies such as Airbus, Capgemini, Dassault Systemes, Ericsson, JLR, TOTAL, Siemens, Sony, Subsea7 & Unilever, to name a few

I’m a big people-person & have spent my life meeting as many people & cultures as I can. At my last count, I am lucky enough to have visited & done business in over 55 countries

supporting you in your collaborative journey with the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

#PLM #Cloud #Cloudplm #3dexperience #enovia #catia #solidworks #DELMIA #MES #MOM



Andrew Sparrow

Engineering & Implementation Resources/Solutions in Product Lifecycle & Smart Manufacturing - Shows, Blogs, Vlogs, Podcasts for the Future World