9 Key Learnings from PTC’s 2022 User Conference
October 21, 2022
After a couple of years of COVID shutting down the PTC User Conference the event returned to Orlando in early October of 2022 for what felt like an overdue reunion with 600 people.
Nearly 100 PTC employees joined alongside 500 members of the PTC user community. The 3 day event was jam packed with over 100 sessions ranging from keynotes to hands-on technical workshops.
There was so much energy, passion and knowledge in one room all rallying around how we can improve and better leverage the tools we use in design and manufacturing.
My 9 biggest takeaways from the conference below:
1. PTC is going all in on cloud SaaS with their "+" applications on Atlas. Creo+ and Windchill+ are in their early days but showing promise of modern cloud SaaS apps. The acquisition of Onshape, a PTC Technology is having a huge influence on the next-gen architecture.
2. PTC users are loyal to their tech stack, but not without their frustrations. For many CAD and PLM admins, the PTC user conference is an opportunity to speak directly with PTC about challenges, needs, and the direction of PTC solutions. Many conversations between users and PTC focused on challenges with upgrading (especially for those with heavily customized instances), whether PTC solutions to the Cloud will drive cost of ownership up or down, and slow resolution of issues.
3. PTC is open minded to partnership. Some of the PLM vendors are taking a "closed door" approach, wanting customers to wait while they build a solution for everything themselves, and therefore making it hard to integrate with anything else. PTC wisely seems to be moving towards more of a Figma, Salesforce or GitHub approach where they embrace partnership/connectivity and strengthen their ecosystem.
4. Interconnectivity will win. The PLM leaders at this show are demanding easier interconnectivity as they see it as vital for Digital Thread and their team's effectiveness. Easier APIs to work with and more seamless integrations will be a competitive advantage.
5. Teams want MBD now, but are facing headwinds. Many companies are pushing for productive MBD usage now but are being blocked by tool gaps (particularly visualization and the quality/consistency of PMI) and end user adoption.
6. MBE is a decade+ away. There are so many other gaps (MBD adoption, shifting to cloud, open architecture, improved UX) that need to be solved first that we are many years away from robust MBE in the industry.
7. End-user experience is becoming a top focus. For the last 20 years, customization was the answer to managing complexity, and end user experience went to the wayside - resulting in clunky tools that are hard to use. As cloud technology finally moves to the forefront in design and manufacturing, the next gen moves more into the workforce and talent competition increases, the focus on user experience will increase. User experience drives technology adoption - a top priority for current PLM leaders.
8. Vuforia is no longer just "cool". We saw some really interesting demos of Vuforia in action for work instructions and inspection procedures. What impressed me was the feedback loop to the user to tell them whether they had found the right part and if they performed the right action.
9. Nothing beats in person. The energy was contagious, and relationships were built that just don’t happen that quickly online. We will definitely be heading back in 2023!
The PTC user conference is a great reminder that your users are often sitting on the insights you need the most - kudos to PTC for recognizing that and showing up year after year.
There’s some debate around how PTC’s annual Liveworx conference might impact the future of the PTC user conference. It was my first time attending, but for many of my fellow attendees it was far from it (some people had been to 30+ events!). There is something really special about the commitment and energy that goes into keeping this user-run conference going year after year, and regardless of the never ending list of events and opportunities that arise, this event can’t be replaced.
Kudos to the organizing committee for putting off an incredible event!