IoT & Embedded Technology Blog

LiveWorx 2023: A Cloud-Native Future

by Brendan Bradley | 5/19/2023

During his keynote speech at LiveWorx 2023, PTC (NASDAQ:PTC) CEO Jim Heppelmann emphasized the company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) strategy, laying a roadmap for a widespread cloudification of the company’s portfolio.

PTC has performed a series of strategic acquisitions in order to bring the cloud to its current suite of tools, investing billions in its stance on the future of cloud-native services. The company acquired Onshape in 2019 for a reported $470 million, integrating Onshape’s industry-leading SaaS CAD platform into PTC’s wider product development portfolio. Likewise, PTC acquired Arena Solutions in 2021, a leading supplier of SaaS product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions, and Intland in 2022, supplier of the cloud-ready Codebeamer application lifecycle management (ALM) platform.

While acquisitions have played a crucial role in PTC’s cloudification strategy, the company has also internally been developing its own cloud-native services. PTC announced the release of Creo+, a cloud-native version of its leading Creo CAD solution, alongside the release of Creo 10. Whereas many cloud-native adaptations of tools provide fewer capabilities than their local counterparts, Creo+ will include all of the capabilities of the newly released Creo 10. As PTC’s legacy solutions in these fields such as ThingWorx, Kepware, and Vuforia continue to mature, these cloud-native SaaS additions to the portfolio place PTC well-positioned to serve the future of product development. PTC plans to continue to establish a comprehensive SaaS portfolio under the Atlas name, which will include cloud-native versions of codebeamer, ThingWorx, Creo, Kepware, Windchill, and Vuforia. Rollout of these services is planned to take place over the next few years, with the end goal of providing both on-premises and cloud-native versions of each solution.

The driver behind Heppelmann’s cloud-native strategy is what he refers to as “just in time development”. In today’s modern world, time-to-market is an increasingly important factor in successfully living in highly competitive environments. Heppelmann highlighted the use case of VF Corporation, a global apparel manufacturer. In order to effectively keep up with the exceptionally short product development cycles in retail, which are subject to daily changes in consumer sentiment, VF Corporation uses PTC’s set of SaaS tools. These tools enable a flexible development process that can significantly reduce product development times.

Heppelmann also pointed to the increased adoption of agile methodologies, both in software and hardware development, and the success of distributed teams during the COVID-19 pandemic as proof of a cloud-native development future. A separate fireside chat between PTC’s Chief Evangelist Jon Hirschtick and VP of Engineering at Silverside Detectors Philip Taber explored further how PTC’s Onshape CAD solution, when integrated with OnScale’s simulation platform, allows for agile development in product development. Taber emphasized the ability to adapt to obstacles, collaborate effectively, and develop quality products in a shorter amount of time as key benefits his company has seen when using cloud-native solutions. This renewed emphasis on delivering solutions to enable agile product development comes after the 2016 release of PTC AgileWorx, which has since been discontinued.

To learn more about the shifts in product development and market sentiment fueling the SaaS industry, check out VDC’s upcoming report, The IoT Market for Cloud-Native Development Solutions.