In what some might call a stepping stone to the cloud, PTC has acquired its long-time partner NetIDEAS Inc., which specializes in providing software hosting and services around PLM.
For more than a decade, NetIDEAS has provided secure hosting environments for PTC customers looking to offload the heavy lifting around PLM deployment and day-to-day maintenance. Instead of investing in the server and storage infrastructure to run Windchill PLM on their site (along with the IT personnel to administer the enterprise application), NetIDEAS hosts, administers, and supports Windchill along with providing additional consulting services.
Sanjay Verma, PTC’s divisional vice president of global services, was adamant that the acquisition has nothing to do with PTC’s long-term vision for the cloud. “This has nothing to do with Software-as-a-Service—this is a completely different model and we’re not talking about the cloud at this time,” he maintained. As opposed to delivering a version of Windchill available as a monthly service over the public cloud, the NetIDEAS relationship makes the PLM software available as a managed service and with a traditional licensing arrangement.
Bringing Managed Services to SMBs
Verma says the NetIDEAS technology and staff will allow PTC to broaden the managed services offering to small- and mid-sized companies that now recognize the value of PLM, but don’t necessarily want to invest the time and resources in doing sophisticated PLM development. “Companies recognize that in order to get the full value of PLM, they need to develop sophisticated applications and a managed delivery system in their own organization and some have decided they don’t want to do that,” Verma explains. Companies seeking a partner for managed services also want to align with a company that has a strong financial position and market leader standing, he says, and PTC enhances NetIDEAS from that aspect.
What NetIDEAS and the whole model of managed services brings to PTC is the opportunity to get closer to these customers and gain a deeper understanding of their pain points and needs. Part of that learning experience will be figuring out exactly how to approach the cloud, which Verma admits is an inevitable transition. “This will help us understand that market much better,” he says. “No doubt the world is moving towards SaaS, but there are questions in the company as to when and how.”
In other news, PTC announced an update to Windchill, version 10.2, which adds many new capabilities in the area of compliance. Specifically, medical device manufacturers are looking at a 2014 mandate to comply with the FDA’s Unique Device Identification (UDI) compliance directive, which calls for every unique product, product version, and production configuration to be assigned a UDI to be prominently displayed on its labeling. Medical device makers are facing a significant challenge to handle the vast amounts of data required for UDI-compliant submissions so PTC has developed a preconfigured, out-of-the-box solution, PTC UDI, to streamline the management and traceability of UDI data.
Windchill 10.2 also includes new quality-related capabilities for accelerating problem resolution, including tighter integration between quality analyses tools and core change management processes. There is also expanded compliance capabilities related to the Conflict Minerals legislation.
Below is a video highlighting the new features of Windchill 10.2, including the new compliance capabilities.