Recently, TBR attended PTC’s Liveworx event in Boston, where we spoke with PTC’s consulting, global systems integrator and cloud partners about their evolving alliances with PTC and the competitive landscape.
The sheer scale of the event — in attendees as well as booths and presentations — was only matched by the scale of stuff: huge trucks, factory mock-ups, bikes, countless 3D printers, and product life cycle management and factory-of-the-future solutions. It was an IoT, manufacturing and networking candy store. It was also an exceptionally smoothly run event, with plenty of plenary sessions, breakouts and opportunities to speak with PTC professionals and their technology alliance partners.
One main stage speaker summed up the vibe as: “an asset-centric view of digital transformation.” TBR has attended countless events featuring or centered on digital transformation, but Liveworx definitely brought the physical world to the digital space.
As a 25-plus year veteran of the IT and OT space told TBR in a Voice of the Customer interview, “So you won’t actually go out to just a product management type of work coming from software companies. You want a very reliable overall infrastructure, and we are talking hardware and we are talking physical world. The digital will become more and more your playground where you just kind of simulate when you just kind of understand what else can I add to my overall infrastructure to my operations. We can’t afford to actually take our eyes away from what is happening in the physical world. That’s where the advantages are gonna come.”
3 Alliances Trends: Selling, Trust and Engineering DNA
Sell to, Sell Through, Sell With
In each discussion with PTC’s services partners, including Deloitte, HCLTech, Infosys, L&T Technology and Capgemini, TBR asked about go-to-market strategies and how services vendors evaluated their opportunities with PTC. While everyone praised PTC’s technology, sales teams and overall approach to the market, only a few said PTC brings clients directly to them.
If any one element separated the vendors listed above (since almost everything below is uniform across them all), it was whether, when and how PTC brought these partners into engagements; some claimed long-standing relationships or particular technology or services expertise made PTC inclined to bring them to the table with new clients. (Although these same vendors also said PTC treated everyone fairly — see below.)
In TBR’s view, this remains a tricky component of the partner landscape, requiring careful management as PTC continues to grow and adds new — possibly strategic — partners to its ecosystem.
It’s Good Doing Business With PTC
Not surprisingly, every IT services vendor and consultant TBR talked to spoke highly of PTC — this was PTC’s event, after all, and the attendees all spoke about various engagements they’d worked on that included PTC as a partner.
Pressing for specifics on what separated PTC from other technology and software partners, TBR heard variations on the same three themes: breadth of portfolio, ease of doing business and trust around being treated fairly. Everyone spoke about working with specific PTC offerings and added that they were familiar with the full breadth of PTC’s portfolio and were reasonably comfortable bringing all of PTC to their clients.
In TBR’s view, having an end-to-end or comprehensive portfolio isn’t a critical component for growth in the technology ecosystem; educating your partners on what you can do is. PTC’s consulting and services partners indicated PTC was better than average at sharing knowledge and explaining its portfolio, but still had room to grow. Undoubtedly, four days of demonstrations and presentations at Liveworx helps.
On the last point — that vendors trust PTC to treat them fairly — the physical setup of the partner booths at Liveworx made it easy for TBR to ask direct questions about competing for PTC’s wallet — and mindshare. “Do you think you’re getting the same opportunities as those guys right behind me?”
Without exception, every consultant and IT services professional said they believed PTC followed the leads of clients and/or partners but didn’t favor any particular services vendor in a competitive situation. TBR maintains healthy and informed skepticism around any vendor professing to be agnostic and the uniform responses may have reflected the environment (standing in space surrounded by PTC), but the message remains the same: PTC partners well.
‘Engineering Is In Our DNA’ — Yes, and Everyone Else’s DNA, Too
Every IT services vendor and consultancy TBR spoke with described their own product engineering expertise as differentiating them from competitors at the event and in the broader market. TBR heard multiple versions of “engineering is in our DNA” and “we have the most [certified] [experienced] [skilled] engineers,” leading TBR to look around and consider which vendors — of those mentioned above — weren’t in attendance and what their absence might say about relative product engineering offerings and capabilities.
One consultant, after noting her experience working with PTC’s products while at a previous employer, said she’d been asked to be at Liveworx explicitly because she could credibly talk with PTC clients and other partners about engineering challenges and her consultancy’s expertise.
Fittingly, her comments echoed the “asset-centric view of digital transformation” heard on the main stage. While product engineering capabilities separated the consultancies and IT services that were present from their no-show competitive peers, TBR struggled to discern differences, other than scale, among the attendee vendors. Over the next few months, TBR will dive deeper into these vendors’ engineering practices.
TBR publishes detailed research on the top 10 IT services vendors’ relationships with the three hyperscalers — Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure — and will replicate that approach with the top platform and software vendors, potentially including PTC. Stay tuned!