PTC Pushes PLM Progress and Vision at PlanetPTC 2011
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I had the chance to talk with … the leadership at PTC and their customers at the recent PlanetPTC conference. PTC took full advantage of the opportunity to update their customers on their progress and future PLM plans at the customer meeting in Las Vegas. As analysts we also had some behind the scenes discussions and a Q&A with a panel of PTC execs.

Most of the press and analysts I know were clamoring for an update and some insight into the much anticipated launch of the Creo design apps. They got that, but also a full helping of news on PTC’s PLM offerings – or what PTC calls their “Product Development System.” For the first time, I felt that PTC was giving equal weight to product development and PLM as they do to design and authoring. Pretty important shift, and one that shows PTC is in touch with the market and their customers.

Let’s Talk Creo – but not Just Creo

OK, Creo got deserved attention. After all, the Creo suite is a major change to PTC’s offerings, and one that PTC made a big bet on. The “Lightning” launch which resulted in Creo was a big move for PTC and this was the coming out party. To me, time will tell whether the launch is a big win or just proof that they are delivering. I am not a CAD expert and will defer to other analysts (and perhaps more importantly customers) on whether Creo meets the hype. But at a minimum the product is released and it looks like they are off to a good start.

But the discussion on the main stage did not start with Creo. PTC had three major focus areas:

  • Creo
  • Windchill  10 Updates
  • The Acquisition of MKS

These updates received a significant amount of attention, and show that PTC gets data management and business process – and not just for engineers. I mentioned my observation that PTC is delivering solutions across the enterprise in a way that reminds me of my “four dimensions of PLM expansion” in a hallway chat with CEO Jim Heppelmann. He confirmed that PTC will focus on delivering value where they can find unsolved problems in the enterprise, but only when they can bring something unique and highly value-added to the solution. Jim is not playing catch-up or feature wars with his competition, he is willing to develop a strategy that provides business value where his customers have problems. That sounds trivial, but I believe it is a fundamental statement on PTC’s changed view of customers. Customers are being listened to and embraced. In fact, Jim’s entire keynote started talking about conversations with customers in different roles in the manufacturing enterprise.

Enter … Enthusiasm

Another key takeaway from the conference is enthusiasm at the conference. I have not seen PTC employees – let alone their customers – with this level of excitement since…. OK, never. People are proud to be PTC right now, and that shows in the progress they are making. I will try to follow up with more detail on the Windchill, MKS, and the newly announced Service Information Systems updates shortly – after all – I am an “enterprise and product development guy” and not a CAD guy. But the thing I wanted to get across is that PTC is innovating across the lifecycle, focusing on customers, and excited about it. Sounds like a winning combination to me. Last year’s user conference was interesting, this meeting was actually exciting. I welcome opposing opinions, as usual, but you have to admit PTC has been busy!

So that’s what I hear from PTC, I hope you found it useful. What do you think? What else should I have asked them? What else should PTC be focusing on?

Comments

  1. Karen Caswelch says:

    Jim,
    Thanks for the update. Do you think the customer focus will lead to non-engineering customers? As you know, engineering is only part of the process for manufacturers, but PTC has seemed to be uncomfortable reaching across to other functions.

    • Karen,
      Great question. PTC has a strong vision to help outside of Engineering. They have proven they can do that with technical documentation (Arbortext) and also have solutions for Quality, Compliance/Sustainability, and others. They are launching a significant initiative into Service as well. So yes, I think this will help them reach out to non-Engineering people. My guess is that most will leverage PTC for engineering and product development solutions (CAD and/or Windchill) and then extend into these other areas.
      I am not sure I would say PTC is “uncomfortable” outside of Engineering, but I would say that they are certainly more comfortable speaking with their traditional friends in Engineering. But their vision, development, and acquisitions have helped them reach outside.
      I also think that PTC has they opportunity to rely on integrators/consulting partners that have broader relationships in the enterprise and can help them reach out further to extend their relationships and presence.
      Good thoughts, thanks!

      • Renaldo says:

        Jim, I am managing the adoption of Windchill at my facility shop and the most difficult step I am having is made the people understand that Windchill is not a software for engineering division it is a software for the entreprise. Make the people see the difference between product development and managing product´s lifecycle is very important to take advantage of all supports that Windchill provides.

        • Renaldo,
          I couldn’t agree with you more! The value of Windchill (and the same is true for other PLM systems) increases dramatically when you use it on an enterprise-wide basis. That doesn’t mean it isn’t useful in an Engineering-only implementation, of course. There is a lot of value to be gained just by managing, controlling, and sharing product data in a PDM-style fashion. But extending the reach into the enterprise and the supply chain unlocks even greater potential to improve the business. Good luck with your implementation, please stay in touch and let us know how it goes.
          Best,
          Jim

  2. Karen Caswelch says:

    Jim,nThanks for the update. Do you think the customer focus will lead to non-engineering customers? As you know, engineering is only part of the process for manufacturers, but PTC has seemed to be uncomfortable reaching across to other functions.

    • Karen,nGreat question. PTC has a strong vision to help outside of Engineering. They have proven they can do that with technical documentation (Arbortext) and also have solutions for Quality, Compliance/Sustainability, and others. They are launching a significant initiative into Service as well. So yes, I think this will help them reach out to non-Engineering people. My guess is that most will leverage PTC for engineering and product development solutions (CAD and/or Windchill) and then extend into these other areas.nI am not sure I would say PTC is “uncomfortable” outside of Engineering, but I would say that they are certainly more comfortable speaking with their traditional friends in Engineering. But their vision, development, and acquisitions have helped them reach outside. nI also think that PTC has they opportunity to rely on integrators/consulting partners that have broader relationships in the enterprise and can help them reach out further to extend their relationships and presence.nGood thoughts, thanks!

      • Renaldo says:

        Jim, I am managing the adoption of Windchill at my facility shop and the most difficult step I am having is made the people understand that Windchill is not a software for engineering division it is a software for the entreprise. Make the people see the difference between product development and managing productu00b4s lifecycle is very important to take advantage of all supports that Windchill provides.

        • Renaldo,nI couldn’t agree with you more! The value of Windchill (and the same is true for other PLM systems) increases dramatically when you use it on an enterprise-wide basis. That doesn’t mean it isn’t useful in an Engineering-only implementation, of course. There is a lot of value to be gained just by managing, controlling, and sharing product data in a PDM-style fashion. But extending the reach into the enterprise and the supply chain unlocks even greater potential to improve the business. Good luck with your implementation, please stay in touch and let us know how it goes.nBest,nJim

        • Renaldo,nI couldn’t agree with you more! The value of Windchill (and the same is true for other PLM systems) increases dramatically when you use it on an enterprise-wide basis. That doesn’t mean it isn’t useful in an Engineering-only implementation, of course. There is a lot of value to be gained just by managing, controlling, and sharing product data in a PDM-style fashion. But extending the reach into the enterprise and the supply chain unlocks even greater potential to improve the business. Good luck with your implementation, please stay in touch and let us know how it goes.nBest,nJim

  3. Anonymous says:

    Jim, Good summary! I found two challenging topics during PTC conference – 1/ one size doesn’t fit all in the context of Windchill; 2/ integration of PTC technologies among the other enterprise software. This is something that, in my view, will help to PTC to get to the next level of achievements. Some of my other thoughts are here — http://beyondplm.com/2011/06/16/future-promises-and-concerns-about-ptc-after-planet-ptc-live/. Best, Oleg

    • Oleg, I see you wrote your blog on the redeye home. I was not that energetic, and so my later response. You make some good points, thanks for sharing. You mention cloud (no surprise from you – grin) and social computing as well, those were some good secondary themes.

      Regarding “one size does not fit all” – that is clearly an issue across the board with PLM, not just a PTC issue. Sometimes PLM is too much and companies just need engineering data management, more here: http://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2010/engineering-data/.

      I feel the same way about integration to other enterprise solutions (like ERP), it is a big issue for many and not just PTC. I think there has been a lot of progress made in this area over the last few years, including the work PTC is doing with Microsoft Dynamics. More from me on the roles or ERP and PLM (and even MES) here: http://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2011/erp-plm-mes/

      I did disagree in one area. I don’t really agree that PTC is into mobile PLM yet, Brian showed a cool prototype but there are a lot of questions that are not yet answered. I think they will go there, but what he showed is not even beta software yet. I do agree it will be valuable, but it needs to be done right. See more on what CIO’s need to know about Mobile PLM here: http://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2011/mobile-plm-cio/

      Thanks!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Jim, Good summary! I found two challenging topics during PTC conference – 1/ one size doesn’t fit all in the context of Windchill; 2/ integration of PTC technologies among the other enterprise software. This is something that, in my view, will help to PTC to get to the next level of achievements. Some of my other thoughts are here — http://beyondplm.com/2011/06/16/future-promises-and-concerns-about-ptc-after-planet-ptc-live/. Best, Oleg

    • Oleg, I see you wrote your blog on the redeye home. I was not that energetic, and so my later response. You make some good points, thanks for sharing. You mention cloud (no surprise from you – grin) and social computing as well, those were some good secondary themes. nnRegarding “one size does not fit all” – that is clearly an issue across the board with PLM, not just a PTC issue. Sometimes PLM is too much and companies just need engineering data management, more here: http://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2010/engineering-data/.nnI feel the same way about integration to other enterprise solutions (like ERP), it is a big issue for many and not just PTC. I think there has been a lot of progress made in this area over the last few years, including the work PTC is doing with Microsoft Dynamics. More from me on the roles or ERP and PLM (and even MES) here: http://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2011/erp-plm-mes/nnI did disagree in one area. I don’t really agree that PTC is into mobile PLM yet, Brian showed a cool prototype but there are a lot of questions that are not yet answered. I think they will go there, but what he showed is not even beta software yet. I do agree it will be valuable, but it needs to be done right. See more on what CIO’s need to know about Mobile PLM here: http://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2011/mobile-plm-cio/ nnThanks!

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