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Also posted on: The Norfolk Punt
PTC is a company that many software development people may not have heard of but it is big and successful—it has some 6,000 employees, about 28,000 customers worldwide and has been in the S&P500 since 1997 (see here).
It began by offering CAD engineering solutions but has added product life-cycle management (PLM) tools (its Windchill product is a market leader) and sees its future in developing engineering solutions for the Internet of Things (it acquired ThingWorx in 2014).
A year or so back PTC acquired MKS—one of the more impressive (if, perhaps, less aggressively marketed) ALM (Application Life-cycle Management) vendors. Now it has also acquired Atego, an extremely interesting developer of model-based systems and software engineering applications (see here and here), based in Cheltenham, UK.
The two companies are a good fit—Atego and PTC have collaborated before. Atego has a good deal of OMG standards support around UML and SysML and model-based systems engineering architecture; and PTC has proven visualisation and delivery capabilities around CAD, PLM and ALM. With the increasing importance of software for product differentiation and the rise of Software Factories and Product Line Engineering, many people are starting to see PLM as systems development writ large. There is some overlap between PTC’s Windchill and Atego’s Asset Library, but also some interesting synergies here too. PTC’s new capabilities in the Internet of Things arena, which has been attracting Atego of late, are also synergistic.
According to Brian Shepherd (EVP Enterprise Segments, PTC), “the competitive landscape is characterised by complexity, and manufacturers must employ a holistic approach when designing smart, connected products”. This sounds like a welcome emphasis on Systems Engineering to me and Shepherd points out the increasing importance of “multifunctional teams [which can] work in concert while modelling the interdependencies of mechanical, electrical, and software engineering components—supporting customers’ needs to integrate multiple systems engineering disciplines”.
Acquisitions always have an element of risk, but key players, such as Hedley Apperly (VP Product & Marketing at Atego) are still part of the team with PTC. I think that the new company should have a good future; and that Atego’s architectural modelling and process capabilities fill a gap in PTC’s previous PLM/ALM story.