The new year is a time when many reflect on milestones and prepare themselves for the future. At PTC, that’s something that we do routinely – and it’s been a significant contributing factor to how we’ve evolved in our 30-year history.
This year marks a milestone worth mentioning: Jim Heppelmann has served as PTC’s president and CEO for a decade – and has led the company through its most transformative years.
Consider this: PTC entered the 2010s as a $2 billion market cap CAD and PLM company, based in a suburb of Boston and today is as a leader in CAD, PLM, IoT, and augmented reality solutions with a brand-new global headquarters in Boston – and a market cap of more than $10 billion.
And that’s just the broad-stroke points behind the transformation of PTC over the past decade. As the chief change agent, Heppelmann’s savvy vision has expanded our technology portfolio and solutions, but also required a cultural transformation.
To recognize Heppelmann’s 10-year anniversary, we’re highlighting some of the most pivotal moments of his stewardship:
Building Connections: With a vision to provide customers with more value, PTC expanded its portfolio of technology to the Internet of Things in 2013 with ThingWorx. Heppelmann was ahead of his time; most industrial companies did not fully understand or recognize the value IoT could bring and the advantages made possible by knowing more about their products and machines. Harnessing the power of connecting CAD, PLM, and IoT was (and remains) at the center of Heppelmann’s vision and PTC’s strategy.
Visionary in Industrial Innovation: With Harvard Professor and well-known business strategist Michael E. Porter, Heppelmann co-wrote three thought leadership pieces about the transformative potential of IoT, and later, augmented reality (AR). Published in the Harvard Business Review, this trio of articles sets the stage for how industrial companies could (and should) be capitalizing on IIoT and AR technologies.
A New Reality: PTC extended its technology portfolio once again in 2015 with Vuforia, an industry leading augmented reality platform. Heppelmann saw the potential for AR to revolutionize how people work within industrial environments and empower them with the right information at the right time.
Power in Partnerships: Recognizing the power in partnerships, Heppelmann guided PTC to establishing key strategic alliances with Rockwell Automation, Microsoft, and ANSYS. In 2019, that trend continued with expanded partnerships with Microsoft and Magic Leap to support the Microsoft HoloLens 2 and Magic Leap 1, respectively, continuing to provide customers with flexibility and choice. Additionally, partnerships with Matterport, and Vodafone expanded the company’s market footprint and broadened its product offerings.
Adding Value and Innovation to Solutions: Emerging and powerful concepts like digital twin and digital thread come to life through PTC’s portfolio of technology, and infusing our products with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities is solving real business challenges. For example, machine learning within IoT enables value like predictive maintenance and the addition of AI-driven generative design for CAD brings fresh ideas and efficiency to design.
A Subscription Company: After two-plus decades as a company that sold perpetual licenses for its software, PTC fully transitioned to a subscription business in 2019. Customers purchasing subscriptions benefit from shared commitment to success, flexibility and lower upfront costs, and cloud deployment options.
The Future is SaaS: The acquisition of Onshape in October 2019 ushers in a new era for CAD and ensures our long-term sustainability as a software company. As the markets we serve increasingly want software-as-a-service (SaaS), the addition of a SaaS platform gives our customers the flexibility to choose between on-premises and SaaS.
Awards and Accolades: Over the past decade Heppelmann has been recognized for his vision and leadership, including being named one of “7 IoT Leaders to Watch in 2017” by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, “IoT CEO of the Year” by PostScapes, and “Technology CEO of the Year” by MassTLC. He also received the “CAD Society Leadership Award” for his work with IoT and was recently elected to the MassTLC Board of Trustees. As a company, PTC has assumed leadership position in the marketplace across all its products and solutions.
Cultural Transformation: The majority of the above highlights made headlines, yet some of the most significant changes at PTC over the past 10 years weren’t newsmakers. Rather, they were slow and steady progress toward strategic initiatives that ultimately have transformed company culture. These include increasing workplace inclusion and diversity, modernizing the workplace and collaboration, and cultivating purpose and philanthropy. In recognition of these efforts, PTC made its first appearance on the Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work list in 2017. Voted on by employees, PTC has made the list for three years running.
With Heppelmann as CEO for the past 10 years, there has been transition and transformation. As we kick off 2020, the change over the last decade should be recognized and celebrated by all who have been involved – both leaders and employees. Due to their hard work, PTC is a recognized leader in each of our technology categories and is changing (and will continue to change) how products are designed and manufactured, and how people work. We also acknowledge the special support provided by our customers and shareholders during this journey.
There is much work ahead on our digital transformation journey, but we have a leader with a clarity of vision and an eye on continued innovation.
Nancy White is the content marketing manager for the Corporate Brand team at PTC. A journalist turned content marketer, she has a diverse writing background—from Fortune 500 companies to community newspapers—that spans more than a decade.