The first in a series of interviews with PLM vendors, this exclusive conversation between our Editor, Ben Hanson, and Scott McCarley, Product Marketing Director at PTC, took place at the NRF “big show” in January and looks at the future of our industry.
Ben Hanson: How was the 2012 calendar year for PTC and FlexPLM?
Scott McCarley: It was a great year. In fact, it was the best year we’ve had to date. Retail continues to be the fastest-growing vertical for PTC, and we’ve seen some fantastic new software developments attract lots of new customers. It’s been a tremendous year for customer growth, as I think your readers will have seen in the WhichPLM Annual Review
BH: What are your priorities for 2013, whether it’s in software development or market sectors? Obviously retail is going to continue to be a significant area of investment for PTC.
SM: Absolutely, we’ll be maintaining a continued focus on and continued investment in retail. As for market trends, there are several areas in which we feel PTC offer unique differentiation, and we’re continuing to work in a way that positions us to capitalise on those trends.
For example, we see a continued trend towards the adoption of out of the box solutions for retail PLM, and we’ve developed what we feel is the most comprehensive PLM system in that market, with the greatest breadth and depth of functionality. And this has enabled our customers already, today, to quickly deploy the strongest possible foundations, while taking advantage of the configurations we offer – which are specifically tailored to industry verticals like footwear or apparel. On this basis, we are beginning to see implementation timescales as short as four months.
We really foresee this trend continuing over the coming year, with customers not just seeking to achieve rapid time to value, but to place themselves on an upgrade path that allows them to realise additional value through the kind of supplemental functionality that PTC is rapidly delivering.
These same customers, too, will have the opportunity to incorporate industry best practices as a result of working with us. PTC has had the opportunity to learn from two thirds of the world’s top retailers what it actually means to deploy a retail PLM system – what are the true best practices – and over the coming year we’ll continue to bring that knowledge to bear on the product itself to create the best possible out of the box configuration. This allows smaller and medium-sized businesses to cost effectively participate in PLM as well.
BH: So, although PTC is a market leader, you aren’t just targeting companies at the larger end of the spectrum?
SM: No – everybody benefits. This increase in out of the box functionality and best practices is important for smaller businesses too, who need to achieve value quickly in order to meet their own budgetary needs.
BH: And presumably this is also driven by a lower total cost of ownership?
SM: Yes. Total cost of ownership goes down, and you can also look at other methods – like hosting models – to help keep costs down as well.
There are some other interesting things that we’ve been doing: working with consumer goods, for example, and bringing together hard goods and soft goods. And again, I think that’s a real differentiator for PTC, as I believe we’re the only provider that’s able to offer comprehensive support for hard goods and soft goods within one system.
[quote]When you create a retail-focused PLM solution like FlexPLM, what you’re essentially doing is freeing your consumers – giving them the opportunity to focus and innovate on their products.[/quote]
BH: Some of the most prominent trends from the keynotes and the show floor here at NRF have been omni-channel and consumer-led retailing. It seems as though perhaps PTC is doing with reduced cost and broader out of the box functionality is allowing smaller retailers to reach the level where they can have the kind of centralised repository of data that underpins these trends.
SM: When you create a retail-focused PLM solution like FlexPLM, what you’re essentially doing is freeing your consumers – giving them the opportunity to focus and innovate on their products. And we’re providing the backbone that allows them to really do what they do best.
If you enjoyed Scott’s interview, be sure to check out the next in the series of “NRF Conversations”, appearing exclusively on WhichPLM soon. In the meantime, why not check out our Best Of NRF, or Full NRF Report for more insight and opinion from the biggest retail show on earth.