Arbortext's document technology is a good fit for Parametric Technology Corp.'s (PTC's) product life cycle management (PLM) capabilities. But exploiting the full business opportunity of this deal will be a challenge.
On 6 July 2005, PLM software vendor PTC announced that it has agreed to acquire Arbortext, an enterprise publishing software vendor, for $190 million. PTC expects the deal to close by the end of July 2005, subject to customary conditions and approvals.
This acquisition will enable PTC to deliver more complete PLM solutions and solidify PTC's relationships with large customers that use Arbortext. It will also provide PTC with pipelines into new business opportunities both within and outside manufacturing, including life sciences, where Pfizer recently replaced Microsoft Word with Arbortext for its regulatory submission publications. Arbortext's continuation in standards body activities is critical to winning such deals. Gartner expects PTC to embed Arbortext's publishing technology throughout its product line and spread it across its large manufacturing customer base.
The acquisition will enhance PTC's opportunity to boost its PLM presence. PTC can extend beyond its engineering legacy by leveraging Arbortext's XML-enabled "document manufacturing" and multichannel publishing technology. PTC can give publishing groups streamlined access to product content. This would enhance PTC's ability to create and maintain publication components (such as product descriptions, parts lists and warnings), much as it supports manufacturing data and processes today. This would provide a larger and more visible presence for PTC, and a powerful match of the two company's offerings. We believe PTC will exploit this integration opportunity.
PTC faces the prospect that current Arbortext partners, such as EMC/Documentum, FileNet, IBM, Open Text and SAP, may balk at heightened competition from PTC. Documentum, in particular, has traditionally provided an integrated, XML-aware content management (CM) component for Arbortext, but PTC could extend its own CM capabilities to act in this role instead. By year-end 2008, PTC will be both a partner and competitor to CM vendors (0.8 probability).
Joint customers: Look for and adopt integrated PTC-Arbortext offerings.
PTC-only customers: If you don't have an XML publishing solution today, adopt Arbortext. If you do, consider switching.
Arbortext-only manufacturing customers: Have PTC and your PLM provider integrate your PLM product with PTC's CM technology.
Nonmanufacturing Arbortext customers: Assume your current CM integration is secure through 2007.
Analytical Sources: Marc Halpern and Rita Knox, Gartner Research
Recommended Reading and Related Research
"Hype Cycle for Product Life Cycle Management, 2004" — PLM applications offer better support for product development and are moving beyond their traditional engineering domain. By Marc Halpern, Dan Miklovic and Matt Light
"Choosing the Right Data Formats to Share Product Content" — The right format to exchange technical data for PLM will depend on business requirements and the extent of use across a value chain. By Marc Halpern and Rita Knox
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