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Within PTC Atlas, all components of the PTC portfolio are to become available as SaaS. Today it is the turn of Creo, which is also immediately launching version 10.

At PTC’s annual LiveWorx conference, the company reveals where it stands and where it wants to go. It’s the first time since 2019 that PTC is hosting the event physically again, after several years of going virtual. Clearly, things have seriously changed in four years for the company. The PTC of 2023 is a different company than the PTC of 2019.

Everything becomes SaaS

We will explain in detail what we mean by this in a more extensive article soon. However, the move to SaaS is definitely part of it. In his keynote at LiveWorx, CEO Jim Heppelmann says that after the 2019 edition, they realized that the portfolio had to move with the times and start being offered as a service. “Customers love the product but don’t want to maintain it,” he indicates.

In addition, they also recognized at PTC that SaaS is not only easier to use, but also allows customers to get started with a software package faster. For example, you don’t have to worry about system requirements and purchasing specific hardware for it. It also allows you to move toward an evergreen model, where everyone is on the most recent version. “Customers might be twenty patches and two versions behind with the on-prem versions, that’s never the case with a SaaS solution we offer,” Heppelmann illustrates.

With the move toward SaaS, PTC is taking quite a big step, by the way. Last year may have been the year that, for the first time, more than fifty percent of B2B software was offered as SaaS (at least that is what Heppelmann claimed during his keynote), but in the world of CAD and PLM, changes do not usually happen so quickly. Yet for the current fiscal year, PTC already projects that 25 percent of sales will come from SaaS. SaaS solutions are also showing much stronger growth than non-SaaS solutions. So it is clear that even the somewhat conservative world in which PTC operates is ready for it.

PTC’s + strategy

Since 2019, PTC has made pretty big strides in developing its SaaS platform, which it has named PTC Atlas. This consists of all the familiar product names, but followed by a +. In fact, it all started with the acquisition of Onshape, a development platform that could only be purchased as a SaaS. PTC Atlas is based directly on this.

This was followed by the acquisitions of Arena, Intland and, fairly recently, ServiceMax, among others. Arena focuses on Product Lifecycle Management, Intland is now known only as Codebeamer and offers Application Lifecycle Management. ServiceMax was the largest acquisition in PTC’s history ($1.5 billion) and adds Field Service Management to PTC’s platform. Augmented Reality tool Vuforia also soon followed, and last year it was the turn of Windchill (also PLM, but with a different use case than Arena, but more on this in the upcoming article) to get a + behind its name. Based on the initial roadmap toward SaaS, the collection of connectivity solutions within Kepware should also be available as Kepware+ by now. PTC added that without much fanfare last December.

PTC Creo+

According to the roadmap we link to above, after Kepware+, it’s Creo+’s turn. That is what PTC formally announced today. Creo is actually what it all started with for PTC a very long time ago (PTC was founded in 1985). CAD, in fact, is where it all began for the company. In 1987 PTC launched PRO/Engineer, which would become Creo. As an aside, despite the fact that the “P” in PTC stands for Parametric, it is also possible to do direct modelling in Creo. Users aren’t restricted to parametric modelling.

So with the addition of Creo+ to its SaaS offering, PTC is not only taking another step in its journey toward a full SaaS platform. It is also symbolically an important step, because in doing so it is also putting what you might call the foundation of the company on that platform. Adding all kinds of SaaS acquisitions to it only makes sense; with Creo+, PTC is signaling that it really means business. As if that wasn’t already clear after spending just under 3 billion in the past four years. Most of that money went into expanding its SaaS offerings.

Creo+ doesn’t mean (yet) that PTC puts Creo as a whole in the cloud. The software still runs on a local machine, if we interpret what PTC executives told us correctly. It’s the user management that is done from the cloud. By offering this, it makes it possible to do more, with more people. This mainly involves the ability to work on a project with multiple users simultaneously, in real-time. This should allow for more efficient work processes and thus a faster delivery time. PTC is working on a ‘proper’ cloud version of Creo+, where the software is streamed to a browser window. That’s not an easy task for a CAD solution, so it’s not surprising that it takes a little more time.

After Creo+, all that remains now is to wait for Thingworx+ and Codebeamer+. If we take a look at the cadence of the past few years, that might be settled within now and a year.

Creo 10

In addition to announcing the availability of Creo+ on the SaaS platform, PTC also announced, in passing, Creo 10. This includes a host of larger and smaller updates and additions. It takes too far to discuss these here. PTC itself has put up a blog post about this on its own site. You can find it via this link.