The information created upstream in engineering -- things like the digital product descriptions, the bill of materials, and CAD models -- are the basis for delivering those services, Heppelmann told us. The information that is traditionally PTC's domain, i.e., 3D part product structures and BOMs, can augment the information traditionally found in siloed service systems and help service teams better perform service, understand where parts are, and feed service-related information about the product to the engineering team as part of a closed-loop process.
PTC has been pretty vocal and active in recent years about complementing its product development mission with an expansion into service. In 2005, PTC acquired the Arbortext technical publishing software, which today is used to deliver intelligent, interactive service information to field professionals maintaining products, including configuration-specific service procedures, 3D parts lists, and interactive training materials. There is even an iPad offering available.
More recently, PTC acquired 4CS, software used primarily by dealers and OEM service network partners to capture information into data related to warranty claims, product registration, service calls, and quality. By capturing data as a so-called "as maintained bill of material (BOM)," engineering and service groups can maintain a history of configuration changes and fixes that occur while the product is out in the field -- once again, keeping with PTC's strategy to close the loop between product development and service.
Bill Berutti, PTC's executive vice president for its new SLM and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) segments, said the Servigistics software will be integrated into PTC's standard PLM offering over time, but will also appeal to companies in the service space who don't necessarily need or want PLM.
Interesting article which shows how PTC recognizes value in all areas of product life cycle managment, especially servicing the product. Big change from several years ago when traditional PLM software was more product development centered. I can see where PTC and other CAD software providers will continue to branch out and add other life cycle management modules to their product offerings.
You nailed it, Greg. The PLM vendors definitely see opportunity (to of course, satisfy a need to drive revenue) by extending the vision of a lifecycle-centered platform to other product-related areas outside of straight engineering and R&D. Service actually is a really good complement in that much of the data and materials needed to improve service are rooted in the engineering area and a lot of what's collected and unearthed by service professionals can really be instrumental in evolving future iterations of a product.
Another good point. Several of the ERP vendors (SAP and Oracle, in particular) offer PLM capabilities as part of their enterprise suites. This would be a natural area for them to expand and frankly, one where they might have more depth in terms of domain expertise and capabilities compared with the more engineering-oriented PLM providers.
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