Reflections on Final PTCuser Conference


I had the chance to talk with … PTC and their customers at last week’s PTCuser user conference. PTC has been busy, making a number of significant announcements. I will clearly not do justice to such a big event in one short blog, but I hope to hit the highlights for you and share my thoughts on the implications.

Note: Just to be clear, this is the last PTCuser because the conference is changing and will be renamed PlanetPTC.

What I Learned

PTC is still serious about mechanical CAD. They believe that there is still innovation happening in that space, and that it will be an interesting market in the future. Good news for mechanical engineers and those that are fans of PTC CAD solutions including Pro/Engineer and CoCreate. They announced Project Lightening which is a multi-year strategy to reinvent mechanical CAD, but promised deliverables in the near term. Not much information here yet, but from conversations with PTC product managers this is a big focus area. Expect some significant focus on making MCAD much easier to use.

PTC is pushing the PLM boundaries. PTC furthered InSight product analytics by announcing product cost analytics and expanded Arbortext into service documentation and instructions. By going into areas like product analytics (particularly in areas like cost), PTC continues to push the envelope. PTC has a broad vision for PLM, and has already stretched the scope of PLM to include product documentation and engineering calculations in the past, and they don’t appear to be done yet.

PTC is making good on their Social Product Development initiative. The new SocialLink product is a great example of this. They added a new product, but also demonstrated how these new social computing capabilities will work across the entire PTC product portfolio. That is the right way to do it (in my opinion). The capabilities are generalized and part of the infrastructure (in large part thanks to Microsoft), but the application of the capabilities is happening in the solutions themselves. This allows product managers from each product line to decide how their users can benefit. Expect more here over time.

PTC has refocused on a Small to Midsize Business (SMB) PDM system – ProductPoint is no longer trying to be both a simpler PDM offering for the SMB and PTC’s answer to Social Product Development. With the introduction of SocialLink and other social computing capabilities, ProductPoint is now free to be a SharePoint-based PDM system. Good news for the SMB who doesn’t need (or can’t attain) a full PLM system.

PTC enters PPM market – PTC is launching a product portfolio management solution based on Microsoft technology. The early indications are that PTC’s solution is more focused on project roll ups and programs than decision support in product portfolios and R&D investment. Stay tuned for more on this in the future as I learn more.

PlanetPTC replaces PTCuser – PTC users have asked PTC to take a broader role and responsibility in the user event. PlanetPTC also includes a community site and virtual events like webcasts, showing that PTC really believes in the power of social media.

So that’s what I hear from PTC, I am sure I missed something. I hope you found it useful. What do you think? What else should I have asked them? What else would you like them to do?