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PTC Charges into the Cloud with SaaS PLM

PTC launches PLM Cloud, a SaaS licensing option for its Windchill product.

PTC launches PLM Cloud, a SaaS licensing option for its Windchill product.

In early 2006, PTC tested the SaaS waters with Windchill ProjectLink and Windchill PDMLink as on-demand solutions, hosted on IBM hardware. The conclusion was that market demand was lukewarm at best. So the company left the on-demand segment primarily in the care of partners like NetIDEAS. Last year, however, PTC must have looked around and saw the SaaS market sizzling. It went out and bought NetIDEAS, laying the groundwork for this week’s announcement.

This week, with the launch of PLM Cloud, PTC jumps into SaaS with both feet.

“In the past, we’ve been a bit skittish with our answers about our Cloud strategy,” acknowledged Tom Shoemaker, PTC’s VP of product marketing. “Now, we can say, yes, we’re here, we’re all in!”

PTC’s press release states, “Recognizing that many SMBs (small and midsized businesses) may lack a dedicated IT staff but still want to adopt a proven PLM environment, PTC designed PTC PLM Cloud specifically to enable team collaboration and data management in the cloud. This flexible offering eliminates the typical, but risky, SMB practice of shared folders and file naming conventions which hamper product development.”

Newer PLM and PDM vendors like Arena Solutions and GrabCAD, which launched into the market with on-demand offerings, have no previous customer base dedicated to on-premise offerings, set up on a different pricing structure. Established PLM vendors like PTC, however, must deal with the inevitable conflict when introducing a SaaS option.

Chris Bergquist, PTC PLM solutions manager, said, “We deal with this head on. We’re offering the same pay-as-you-go licensing option to our existing customers.” What distinguishes PTC PLM Cloud, he explained, is the setup to “only pay for what you use.”

PTC PLM Cloud is based on its existing product Windchill. It’s available as Standard, Premium, and Enterprise subscriptions. Under the PTC model, you make a commitment to a year and a minimum number of seats. In months when your project needs grow, you may pay for additional seats. The company also offers lower-priced subscriptions for Contributor seats and View-and-Print seats, which cost significantly less than Author-Editor seats (for those assigned to create, edit, and add content to the PLM archive).

Bergquist pointed out that, with PTC PLM Cloud, strong CAD integration and management is included, with support for PTC products as well as rival products AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Autodesk Inventor.

PTC isn’t publishing the prices for its PLM Cloud. As standard practice, the company leaves its resellers and partners to negotiate the terms.

Mobile device support for PLM Cloud is on the road map, Bergquist said.

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.

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