At one time PTC was all about CAD (Pro/Engineer). Then it was all about PLM (Windchill). Then it was all about ALM/SLM (products whose names I wouldn't know). And now PTC is all about IoT (ThinkWorx).
Still, some financial analysts still ask about the PLM biz. Here is how PTC cfo Andy Miller answered when asked about open-source competitor Aras.
Shankar Subramaniam (Bank of America): On the PLM, I want to just understand some more on the competitive dynamics, especially how customers are thinking about open-source PLM solution with this software solution bought from you and your European peers.
Because it seems like Aras is finding some success in terms of selling seeds into the heavy industry market. But, you are also growing a PLM booking. So longer term, do you see customers kind of doing a mix of implementation between open-source and software solutions? Or is it going to be predominantly the solutions you are selling into the market?
Andy Miller: Yes. I think Aras is having some success at the edges. A lot of their wins are sort of strange projects in the core of the company, a little bit like how Autodesk can claim that every major manufacturing enterprise has tons of 2D seeds of AutoCAD. But it's not their CAD system.
So I think Aras is starting to win a lot of deals like that, sort of not the mainstream system but maybe a test management system over in one department or something like that.
So I think they're probably doing okay but I don't think that there's that much to the open-source story. I think they dangle that out there, but I don't think it's actually core to their value proposition and I don't actually think if it were that it would help them, because I think in this industry, PLM is very complex and there's not a vibrant open-source community in the PLM universe. And customers don't want to take on development responsibility for the core technology stack.
So I think that that may be talking about open-source is a good way -- good conversation starter, but I think at the end of the day they're selling fairly traditional looking PLM into pockets around the edges of the major systems that companies have deployed.
So putting it another way, they're not a major competitor to us at this point. They may occasionally show up in accounts where we're trying to show up. Aras announced a win at BMW some quarters before we did. But when we competed for really big business at BMW, they weren't even on the list of competitors. And they wouldn't have been, because BMW would never bet that important mission-critical system on an open-source strategy when there is no ecosystem of developers around that open-source community.
So I'm saying that's a great conversation starter, but I don't think it's a serious business strategy. But I am saying they're having some success in pockets, like pockets at BMW, pockets elsewhere, but I don't think they're yet displacing any mainstream systems.