The Diminishing Significance Of PLM

Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to sit down with Rohit Biddappa, PTC’s Marketing Manager for India. We spoke for over three hours in the coffee shop of the hotel where he was staying and discussed a wide range of topics. I was expecting him to enlighten me a little about Project Lightning. But he claims that he is not very enlightened about Lightning himself.

Of the many things we discussed, one particular topic got my attention. Rohit was talking about the changing face of PTC. Up until about 2000 PTC was a CAD company. From 2000 to 2010 PTC became a CAD + PLM company. And now from 2000 onwards PTC is supposedly going to be something like a product development company where CAD and PLM are merely two of its many offerings. This is supposedly happening due to the change at the top with Jim Heppelmann taking over from Dick Harrison as CEO. Dick was PTC’s first sales rep and rose through the ranks to become CEO. He is largely viewed as a CAD guy and that’s pretty much how he ran the company. As all new CEO’s do, I believe Jim will be eager to stamp his mark on the company and I believe this repositioning is largely the result of that.

The idea here is to promote something that PTC has been calling Product Development System or PDS for some time now. Earlier PTC had separate resellers for Pro/ENGINEER and WindChill. Going forward there will not be that kind of distinction anymore. Rohit tells me that PTC resellers will not go to companies to sell CAD or PLM or some other offering. Instead they go and offer something called a free Value Roadmap consultation. Instead of paying a visit to a company’s Engineering head they may seek an appointment with the CEO instead to show him how PDS can help him turn his company around. Here is a slide I grabbed from a recent webinar by Brian Shepherd, Executive Vice President of Product Development at PTC.

Click image for larger view

As you can see, PLM still forms a major part of PDS. In fact it is the backbone into which all other offerings plug into. But the point to be noted here is that PTC is more interested in selling their PDS to companies and not just PLM.

Actually I am noticing a trend here. Siemens PLM Software is dropping “PLM” from its name and changing it to Siemens Industry Software or something like that. I believe the idea here is not to be viewed as a PLM company. But rather to be viewed as some kind of a end to end solution provider with PLM as one of its offerings, quite similar to what PTC is doing with PDS. Dassault Systemes appears to be the only one who is holding on to the PLM acronym. As on today, the company refers to CATIA, SIMULIA, DELMIA and ENOVIA as its “PLM Brands” and its web site title reads “PLM solutions, 3D CAD and simulation software”.

I am not suggesting that two of the big three PLM vendors, PTC and Siemens, are dumping PLM. To me its more like they are demoting PLM a couple of levels. Frankly, I’m not sure whether they want to be known as PLM companies anymore. Maybe they are looking at positioning themselves as something larger than PLM. I find this ironic because earlier they made it quite clear that their business was surrounded wholly around PLM. Siemens even went to the extent of putting “PLM” into its name, something which is in the process of undoing. As the slide above shows, PTC’s businesses (and I guess Siemens’ as well) will still be surrounded around PLM. Just that I feel they are trying to tone down the noise about PLM a little. It will be interesting to see if Dassault Systemes starts singing a similar tune some time in the future.

This reminds me of something Autodesk CEO Carl Bass said about PLM in 2007, “There are only three companies in the world with a PLM problem. Their names are Dassault Systemes, PTC, and UGS [now Siemens].

  • Brad Holtz

    Siemens PLM Software is not changing its name (at least not at the moment. I think you are confusing Siemens PLM Software and its parent organization, Siemens Industry Automation. Several key employees, including Bill Carrelli have dual roles – in other words, they carry separate business cards that show either Siemens PLM Software or Siemens Industry Automation as the company name.

  • Siemens PLM Software is most definitely changing its name. I received a letter from Siemens to that effect. According to the partner agreement between Siemens PLM and SYCODE, if any entity changes its name of constitution the other party must be intimated.

  • Stan Przybylinski

    Some of the players in the industry are seeking to change the definition of PLM so that it does NOT include CAD. Of course, they will still manage CAD data, need CAD integrations, etc., but they feel the tools themselves should not be part of the definition of and metrics used by the industry.

  • Martyn

    PLM never got these firms the stock evaluation they thought it would. Remember it was going to be worth billions and billions and billions when the analysts were paid to hype it. Time for another three letter abbreviation other than ENC (Emperor's New Clothes).

  • Brad Holtz

    Until Siemens actually goes public with a name change, any reference to a potential change, particularly when you aren't giving the actual name, seem more confusing than helpful. My opinion.

  • Guest

    So PTC is reverting to it's old approach of selling a concept to the CEO instead of tools to the people who have to use them. We are dealing with this to some extent now and it's frustrating. In the end all that will matter is how productive we are in engineering and manufacturing. How quickly can we get quality products out the door and to the customer. It won't matter if we choose ProE or CoCreate because of a “concept” sold to the CEO. Those of us using the tools will be held accountable even if we didn't get to choose them.

  • Actually I know the name. That letter is in my office. I'm at home at the moment.

  • Stan, PLM without CAD already has a three letter acronym. It's called ERP. 😉

  • Like many other vendors, PTC believes that CAD has become a commodity. They want to sell the bigger picture to upper management, I guess because they think that users aren;t mostly aware of the big picture.

  • well, ERP is more about pulling all accounting data from several activities in the company. PLM is more about capitalizing on intellectual value. It doesn't have necessarily to do with CAD.

  • Tom Shoemaker

    Lots of interesting dialog…

    I must say that there is no decreased emphasis on PLM here at PTC. Quite the contrary! I'll say the same for CAD as well. (Yes, I know, we are holding back some info until October 28).

    But as one of the principals in the creation of the Value Roadmap, I would like to chime in here. The Value Roadmap is a means to have a discussion with customers regarding their corporate or department goals, and how technology can provide support. We've presented it to all organizational levels– engineers, managers, and executives –and the feedback has been unanimously positive. It's not a product brochure — the words Windchill and Pro/ENGINEER are nowhere to be seen. It's simply meant as a way to have a dialog about the value of product development and the constituent processes that define it.

  • AgentA

    hmmm, stared at the slide you posted as provided by PTC SVP Shepard…
    no mention of CoCreate.
    looking again…still don't see a mention of cocreate.
    please let me know if I am missing it.
    please tell me that it is there.
    It is a shame that PTC has continued the policy of underinvestment in cocreate that the previous owners hoping for a sale had espoused. Yes, version 17 is an improvement as far as modeling goes, but the other administrative features, modules, Model Manager are were largely ignored.

    for cocreate users, lightning will be a good thing. If I was a pro/e user, I'm not sure if I want PTC redirecting R&D money that was previously spent on Pro/E improvements instead being used to give some explicit modeling features. Do the bulk of pro/e users really care about explicit modeling enough to redo the application stack so much?

  • Cadnerd

    When a representative from a software company meets with your bosses, bosses, boss to talk about “to have a discussion with customers regarding their corporate or department goals, and how technology can provide support” you should get ready to start attending “cross function team meetings” and “project roadmap checkpoint sessions” that will occupy at least 20% of your smartest people's time for the next 4 years.

    sorry, I couldn't help it… 🙂

    • Oceanpassage2

      Too funny and so true

  • Tom Shoemaker

    Touche 🙂

  • Guest

    Nice discussions… however all that organizations/engineers require is a tool which meets there needs for the industry there organization is in. For some its CATIA and its add ons, others; Solid Edge or AutoCAD….with the appropriate integration from R&D, Prod. Development, to manufacturing/production or service. It does not matter how things are packaged or called. Only question is, how efficient does it make my engineers and process? Time? Money? Ease of Development, time to market….etc? Hopefully the decision makers understand this and can navigate through the marketing propaganda since when they cannot … only the software company wins.

  • beyondplm

    Deelip and all,

    Interesting conversations and comments. I think, Product Lifecycle Management concept was born to promote software to support product design, engineering and manufacturing processes. PLM companies are trying to map “product development processes” and convert it into a stable portfolio of tools they can market and sell.

    However, the diversification of ways manufacturing companies are running their shop was one of the reasons why PLM vendors failed to stabilize product portfolios and reduce complexity of implementations. ERP was more successful in mapping of business processes and providing tools to do it. In addition, PLM clashed with ERP systems in their try to “own enterprise data”.

    Deelip, I'd probably correct the title of this blog – “The Diminishing Significance of PLM for Marketing”.

    Best, Oleg

    • Oceanpassage2

      Hi Oleg- excellent comment- also the time it took to get any value from PLM was too much for many organizations, hence all the PLM failures out there

  • Chris

    PDS is not new! PDS was created during Harrison's tenure.

  • Yeah, I have been hearing about PDS for quite some time now. But that was kind of lost in the PLM noise that PTC was making.

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