This deal gives manufacturers product service support and access to service data from a single source. Customers of 4CS using PLM software other than PTC's will need to monitor PTC's integration plans for the 4CS products.
On 6 September 2011, product life cycle management (PLM) and design software provider PTC announced that it has acquired 4CS, a software vendor focused on warranty management and service life cycle management (SLM), for an undisclosed sum.
This is a positive move for manufacturers seeking to improve support during the product service life cycle and to continuously improve on the design of new products. Gartner expects PTC to provide an integration road map between 4CS software and its existing PLM software portfolio before YE2011. Manufacturers should expect to see improved support of as-maintained (or service) bills of material. This will enable PTC customers to use a single PLM platform from initial product design through support for a product's entire service life. Therefore, PTC customers will benefit from 4CS's modules, which expand PTC's PLM support to warranty management, customer support, parts management and service intelligence — filling a large PLM gap. Benefits should include cost reductions, quicker failure analysis, and accelerated time to incorporate service knowledge into the design process. PTC offers current 4CS customers substantially greater corporate viability and expanded resources.
The needs of service professionals are a new domain for PTC — as was regulatory compliance when PTC acquired Synapsis, and quality management with PTC’s Relex purchase. Customers of those acquired companies find PTC supportive, although software capabilities and the user communities have not expanded rapidly. This is the likely scenario for 4CS customers. Also, the best approaches to cross-pollinate service knowledge and processes with the current mainstream of product design and PLM support remain to be discovered. Other PLM vendors are likely to invest more in SLM given this event and the needs of industries such as aerospace, automotive, industrial machinery and shipbuilding.
4CS customers: Accelerate purchases and maintenance renewals under current pricing to create some additional cost certainty. Post-acquisition, seek assurances that the terms, conditions and period of continued support stay at or exceed current levels.
PTC customers: Consider adopting 4CS applications for your service business.
All other manufacturers: If your company seeks holistic PLM support, including extensive product service support, consider PTC.
Some documents may not be available as part of your current Gartner subscription.
"PTC Is Expanding Its Enterprise Reach" — PTC, one of the PLM vendors, will need to prove its vision and capabilities to make more progress as a market leader. By Marc Halpern and Michael Burkett
"Survey Underlines Need for Organizational Warranty Collaboration Across the Manufacturing Value Chain" —This research, based on interviews with 117 manufacturers, provides analysis and recommendations regarding the obstacles to warranty collaboration. By William McNeil and Simon Jacobson