PTC's PLM Portfolio Gets More Comprehensive: Day 1 Overall Impression at PTC/USER World Conference 2010

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Last year, after the TEC certification process for PTC Windchill 9.0 (download the certification report), I was convinced that this solution is quite functionally comprehensive.

In the meantime, I also outlined some weak spots of Windchill. For example, the solution's capabilities on product cost estimation and product service data management are relatively limited. After the first day at PTC/USER World Conference 2010, the most important message I've received is that PTC is on a strategic move to a more powerful product lifecycle management (PLM) portfolio comprised of multiple PTC brands, or in other words, product lines.

When we certified Windchill last year, we also included PTC InSight Environmental Compliance in the evaluation scope. According to PTC's branding strategy, Insight is a parallel brand to Windchill. However, noticing that InSight well covered the Regulatory and Compliance functionality module within TEC’s comprehensive PLM evaluation model, we decided to include InSight in the evaluation in order to present a more comprehensive look of PTC's PLM capability.

Today, after the keynote speech on PTC's technology vision and strategy, presented by Brian Shepherd (EVP, Product Development, PTC), I'd expect to include more PTC's brands into the certification if there is a need for a new evaluation for PTC's PLM offerings. Besides Windchill and InSight, some other brands to consider the inclusion are:


One year ago, PTC announced the acquisition of Relex, a solution focusing on product reliability and maintainability, in order to expand its capabilities in product analytics. Based on the analytics capability of Relex, PTC is able to help users tackle product reliability, safety, quality, risk, and maintenance issues throughout the product lifecycle. As introduced by Shepherd today, product cost analysis will be available with Relex later this year.


Arbortext is also a result of an acquisition taking place almost five years ago. The product's main capability is the delivery of technical product information for the use of product services such as call center, field services, and training. Although the Arbortext's core competency resides on authoring and publishing technical information that is often derived from product design models, it wouldn't surprise me if PTC further advances in the service data management area by combining Arbortext and Windchill together.

With new members joining in the PTC product portfolio one after another, the company's multi-brand strategy in the PLM domain is becoming apparent to me. I have to admit that this is not something I originally expected. When PTC announced the acquisition of Synapsis, I thought EMARS (the name of InSight prior to the acquisition) would be renamed as ComplianceLink (in the same pattern with RequirementsLink, ProjectLink, etc.) or something similar, under the Windchill umbrella.

However, after a year and a half, this didn't happen. So, I concluded that PTC's branding strategy is to keep Windchill as the flagship PLM brand surrounded by complementing brands, which also contain capabilities that are not included in the conventional PLM scope. In this way, it is harder for newer brands to leverage the strong market awareness of Windchill. However, this approach provides more flexibility to PTC's marketing mix as well as to users' PLM adoption roadmap.

So PLM seekers, if haven’t, now you may need to start including PTC's other brands in your software evaluation even though the main candidate for your PLM needs is still the flagship brand—Windchill.
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