PJ: What are Omnify Software’s main product lines, and what has been selling best of late?
CC: Our core PLM module still remains our best selling module, however more often than not new customers are opting to include our Quality and Project modules, as they recognize the benefits of having such key functionality integrated with the engineering data. Two years ago we created a product line called RapidStart, which is targeted at start-ups and small businesses that provides key functionally at a very attractive price point. We have seen a major growth with this product line since its inception.
PJ: Are there any particular PLM capabilities that you have and no-one else (or hardly anyone else)?
CC: Unfortunately, in our particular space, enterprise software, every vendor will tell you they can do everything that anyone else can do. While that may be conceptually true, the reality is that most charge exorbitant consulting fees and take months and sometimes years to deliver solutions. I think the big difference between our system and our competitors is that we provide all of our functionally in an “out-of-the-box” manner with high level configuration tools that allows our customer to get up and running as well as fully-integrated with their other business applications in a matter of days.
PJ: Who would be your sweet spot customer?
CC: Our sweet spot for customers is generally small to mid-sized business (under US$500 million revenue) with complex products that generally include electrical, mechanical, and software components. Typical industries for us would be Electronic Manufacturers, Medical Devices, Telecom, Aerospace & Defense (A&D), and Automotive.
Most of our business is done in the US although we have seen significant growth in the past three years in the European market. Most of our business in Asia and the Middle East is a result of US headquartered companies. We have quite a few customers with over 300 users, but on average the number of users is in the 50-100 range.
PJ: What is your competitive landscape, and why do you win over or lose to these competitors?
CC: Our typical competitors would be Arena Solutions, Oracle Agile PLM, and Aras. On occasion we’ll see PTC, Dassault, and Siemens. In general, we win based on our breadth of offering and out-of-the-box functionality. Generally when we lose it’s either because the prospect has had experience and a comfort level with another system or because a customer is looking for an On-Demand/software as a service (SaaS) model. Of course, we aim to address that last issue very soon.
PJ: Incidentally, what are your views and actions towards going multi-tenant SaaS/on-demand or not?
CC: We do have plans for offering an on-demand solution, and will probably have some formal announcements later this year. Our plan is to be able to offer on-demand, on-premises, and hybrid solutions and allow the customers to decide the best model that suits their needs.
PJ: What is your view on linking PLM with plant automation and manufacturing execution systems (MES) a la Siemens Automation (and Dassault in part with the recent Intercim acquisition)? Is there any interest on your side to follow suit?
CC: Since releasing our Manufacturing Process Management module in 2009, several customers have exhibited interest in a more formal integration with their (or their contract manufacturers’) MES systems. Such integration is not in our immediate future but will remain on our roadmap and elevated with customer demand.
PJ: What were the major highlights and messages from your recent user conference and similar events?
CC: Meeting global regulatory compliance is a theme that was highlighted at both our recent customer conference, with a keynote customer presentation, as well as at industry events. The majority of our customers/manufacturers are affected by regulatory compliance whether it be for the FDA, ISO, or FAA, etc., and they all need a way to meet the requirements as well as ease the compliance and audit processes. Because regulatory compliance typically requires tracking/traceability and reporting of product related data, PLM provides a very good foundation to manage this.
PJ: What is your collaborative E2.0/social tools strategy? Any views on Dassault's Exalead acquisition?
CC: We continue to encompass more social media concepts into our tool suite. Our current focus is to capture all human interaction and communication around the product development process and tie that directly to the product records. Of course, as the dataset grows and PLM expands its reach to other areas, that is where products like Exalead will have a significant impact in simplifying user’s ability to find appropriate records.
PJ: Although many trends might be relatively positive lately for Omnify, what issues/challenges are still keeping you awake at night?
CC: As one of the lesser known PLM players, our challenges seem to still be around name recognition and proving to prospects that PLM does not have to be an over-priced, lengthy implementation, highly consultative process. What helps though, is that we have a great group of customers who are always willing to back up our claims of a feature-rich, low cost solution that can be up and running very quickly.
PJ: What do you say about the Siemens Synchronous and PTC Creo capabilities? Any use for that in the small to medium enterprises (SME) space? I refer here to the old “direct (dynamic) modeling vs. parametric (history-based) modeling” debate?
CC: From our point of view, we've always tried to stay agnostic when it comes to CAD technology and ensure that we can manage data from all providers. Technically though, we like the direct modeling approach since it provides the "independent" vendors with more ways to automate processes (mainly changes) and provide more cost-effective (and generally easier) collaboration.
Direct modeling does have benefits for our market focus (SME’s), given their dependence on out-sourcing/partnering, smaller number of skilled designers, and generally more configurable product offerings. Due to legacy practices and philosophies, direct modeling will have the same uphill battle it has had for the past five years among the user community.
PJ: Anything you are at liberty to volunteer on the company's future moves, i.e., new functional scope, new verticals, SME offerings, etc.?
CC: We will have some announcements later this year that will indicate our plans for delivery model, which I alluded to previously. We will also be announcing some new technology that will extend our capabilities in areas of sourcing, contracting, and fulfillment. Worth mentioning is the recent relocation of our corporate headquarters from Andover to Tewksbury. This was just completed on March 28, 2011. This new larger location will support our current staff as well as future growth.