Mathsoft's calculation management software will enhance PTC customers' ability to capture and reuse technical knowledge. However, some former Mathsoft partnerships are unlikely to make further progress.
On 26 April 2006, PTC announced that it has agreed to acquire Mathsoft Engineering & Education for $63.25 million in cash. Mathsoft offers Mathcad, software that helps users create, automate, document and reuse engineering calculations throughout a product life cycle. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in May 2006.
This acquisition will initially expand PTC's capabilities in design and engineering. It complements the mainstream of computer-aided-engineering technology and will expand the ground rules of how manufacturers evaluate software for engineering support.
Engineers use Mathcad to predict the behavior of engineering systems and adjust values of key engineering variables. The opportunity to integrate this capability with PTC’s parametric design software can increase support for processes that link systems engineering with detailed design. In the longer term, integration of Mathsoft’s calculation management capabilities with PTC's Windchill and Arbortext solutions has the potential to substantially advance technical document management in terms of supporting content reuse and regulatory compliance. Manufacturers will be able to trace the genealogy of those calculations to support certain regulatory needs. They can also directly reuse the calculations for further work, instead of re-programming them in spreadsheets or other software. This can reduce calculation errors and save time and money during life cycle activities.
However, we expect that some Mathsoft partners that compete with PTC in arenas such as computer-aided design (CAD) software will not continue their business partnership with Mathsoft. We believe that PTC will continue to support competitors' interfaces, but PTC's top priorities will be integrating Mathcad and calculation management tools with its own applications and cultivating new sales opportunities among Mathsoft customers.
PTC and Arbortext customers that do not own calculation management tools and have design and documentation requirements that depend heavily on engineering calculations should consider adopting Mathsoft applications.
Mathsoft customers that are not also PTC product life cycle management customers should assume that further development of interfaces between Mathsoft and PTC competitors will be delayed or, we believe, even terminated. They should evaluate the usability of the current interfaces and request fixes achievable in the next two to three months. If Mathsoft integration to design applications is core to their operations and the interfaces are not adequate, they will need to assess trade-offs between adopting a total design solution from PTC or adopting a Mathsoft competitor that integrates with their current design software.
Analytical Source: Marc Halpern, Gartner Research
Recommended Reading and Related Research
"Arbortext Acquisition Will Boost PTC's PLM Opportunities" — Abortext's document technology is a good fit for PTC's product life cycle management capabilities. By Marc Halpern and Rita Knox
"Set IT Priorities to Use Technical Product Data Collaboratively" — Market forces are pressuring manufacturers to innovate and design new products collaboratively. By Marc Halpern
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