PTC Pushes PLM Progress and Vision at PlanetPTC 2011


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?