Last week PTC made several important announcements around its product portfolio at PlanetPTC Live 2011, PTC's customer conference. In the days after the conference as a general practice, I got many questions from several existing PTC, non PTC customers and the financial community about PTC's new products and strategic direction. In this post I have briefly covered my analysis and presented only few high level conclusions from these discussions. I remain open to further discussion.
PTC has gone through several changes in the last nine months under the leadership of its new president and CEO Jim Heppelmann. Most important changes have been around its strategic marketing and its CAD product-line roadmap under the brand name Creo. The new vigor in PTC's approach was highlighted at its annual user conference which has been renamed PlanetPTC. After being a long term player in the mature parametric CAD business, PTC's emphasis on its growing Windchill business had put its CAD business at the back seat. Last year, PTC unveiled its vision to simplify and re-structure CAD market with its Creo product line.
Creo 1.0 release may not have a tremendous technological evolution over PTC existing CAD product Pro/ENGINEER, but the strategy to break down Pro/ENGINEER into smaller applications relevant to specific issues that manufacturers face, definitely makes it easier to adopt and understand than any other CAD application in the market. PTC has segmented its CAD offering into nine different applications that address product complexity at various stages of its lifecycle. A common data model and common backbone guarantees seamless interoperability amongst various Creo applications.
In contrast, the standalone availability of each Creo application will enable end-users to work easily with product development systems offered by other vendors. PTC has also made sure that it opens up the Creo product line such that each application can be enhanced based on end-user requirements by third party partners.
Increasing product complexity and growing emphasis on sustainability is exerting tremendous pressure on manufacturers. PTC is answering these challenges and more by its Windchill 10 release for the enterprise that will continue to aggregate the products from its various acquisitions. PTC's strategy is to offer a single data source for all product related information such as closed loop quality system, social, supply chain and services information. PLM end-users can expect a deeper functionality on services and warranty with concepts like SBOM (service bill of material) that uses the functionality from its Arbortext acquisition.
PTC also discussed its MKS acquisition and its relevance to PLM (Product Life-cycle Management). MKS provides solution for requirements, software change management, configuration management, version control etc. Increasing product complexity requires applications that can support multiple engineering domains and multi-disciplinary approach from PLM vendors. PTC's plans to integrate MKS in its Windchill product is expected to increase adoption of its products in verticals like automotive, hi-tech, medical devices etc, where manufacturers continue to seek enterprise product development systems to answer increasing product complexity and compliance.
PTC demoed the mobile application hosted in Cloud that offers shake and break or explode of entire assembly visually. PTC is also devloping mobile application for service and maintenance of products using Creo Illustrate.
While the Creo product release and strategic direction of PTC meets the end-user demands, the price to upgrade and the long term maintenance costs are direct concerns of the end-users. PTC's approach to mobile and Cloud based delivery have been practical and based on customer demand rather than a marketing push to increase or retain its customer base. End-users seeking easy to use interoperable set of product development applications should definitely consider PTC product line.