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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: John McEleney, Head of Strategy, PTC (Part 3)

Posted on Saturday, Oct 10th 2020

John McEleney: One of the best things about a SaaS solution is that it’s very easy to get multiple people and locations to get onboard. The strategy with respect to Creo is to continue to improve the core base and then embrace and extend it with other cloud-related applications and functionalities.

We’re not forklifting everybody to our cloud offering. That being said if customers are leaning in, we also are not saying, “You have to stay with your legacy product.” There are many large customers that are going through the early evaluation process. They’re using Onshape as a glue to connect customers.

Sramana Mitra: Could you differentiate between PLM and pure CAD in this context? PLM is much more conducive to cloud architecture than pure CAD. Let’s separate the discussion a bit. Help me understand how much of the transition is happening in the PLM context and how much of the transition is happening in the pure CAD context.

John McEleney: To add another buzzword, we have PDM. Most existing systems have a file-based management structure. Onshape does. Most of the install base systems out there have a file-based system.

These files can be quite complex. How do you aggregate the different files and make up what a part of an assembly might be? How do you keep control so you have the right people working on the right versions? You typically manage them by using product data management (PDM) systems.

These PDM systems really take the metaphor of a bank vault. If you go to the local bank, you can deposit through the teller and they literally put it in the vault. You don’t want people stepping on each other’s toes. These PDM systems manage the data and control the files and what makes up a release package. PLM extends that.

There’s a PDM component of PLM, but PLM also manages a lot of what we refer to as the metadata and the change control process. They tend to be more cross-organizational systems to manage not just files but information about those files, workflows, and overall release management not just of the CAD files but also corporate-related management and information.

Since they’re not just managing heavy CAD files, they’ve ability to manage not just PDFs. The irony is that there’s not many web-based management PLM systems. Windshield is one of the few. Most of the PLM systems are what I’d call PDM plus plus. Their origin or DNA comes from the underlying CAD system. They’ve extended it to manage other files.

Windshield, by contrast, is much more of a cloud-based type of solution. In that context, there are plenty of people who are using PLM systems to manage non-CAD data whether it might be in the fashion industry or furniture industry.

We’ve integrations with Windshield that are under development and integrated to customers. We’re using URL’s which is uniquely great from an integration standpoint with Onshape to be managed at the PLM level. Then we can integrate with other infrastructure systems.

If you’re doing custom work, you can have a URL to an Onshape document that shows what a customer had requested in the initial design phase of things. Then as it is implemented, they may have a bunch of other things in how it was installed. That might be managed as well by a URL linking back. 

This segment is part 3 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: John McEleney, Head of Strategy, PTC
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