Navigating Product Data with PLM Apps

  • 4/29/2016

Your organization’s product data is your most important resource. It contains information that is relevant to nearly all stakeholders: from engineering and manufacturing, to marketing, service, and sales. However, most enterprise software tools that contain this data are inaccessible by users who didn’t put the information into the system, due to costly licensing of the software, intensive training required to understand and use the software, and the time it takes to integrate and customize it for each user. 

In order to access the rich data available in these systems, other stakeholders must resort to “workaround” processes – such as having the information exported in report format to Excel or PDF and communicated via email. These processes take data out of the enterprise system – meaning that any updates that are made to the data in the system will not be seen and used by the person with the workaround version. This can be a huge problem, as the updates to the original system render the workaround version – and any decisions or actions that leverage it – irrelevant, out-of-date, and inaccurate. 

Additionally, most enterprise systems require intensive training for new users to understand the ins-and-outs on how to use the complete system. This is perfect for users who need daily access, but what about stakeholders from departments that would get a lot of value out of accessing these systems, yet don’t need to go into the system every day – or even every week? These training sessions would just overwhelm them with a lot of information they’ll likely never use. 

What’s needed is an easy-to-use access point to enterprise systems for casual or light-touch users that will allow them to access product data in an interface as familiar and intuitive as technology that they already use today – like a smartphone app. Imagine how these smartphone-like apps would finally make product data easy to access and use by anyone who needs it throughout the organization. 

You don’t have to just imagine them, they’re here! With the introduction of Windchill 11 in December, PTC launched PTC Navigate – an innovative suite of applications to access product information broadly throughout the company. Each app has a simple, role-based interface to deliver product data from multiple systems of record in context, based on the user’s unique needs. And it’s browser-enabled, which means that PTC Navigate offers the same intuitive and easy-to-use experience as your average smartphone app on the device of your choice: your phone, your tablet, or your laptop.

PTC Navigate boasts a lot of unique features to make data access as easy for your users and their unique needs as possible. Apps can be easily tailored upon deployment to limit searches or deliver only the information users need. With a developer toolkit, deeper customizations can leverage existing PTC Navigate capabilities to create brand-new apps unique to your company’s or teams’ needs. And because PTC Navigate leverages ThingWorx technology, it can be connected to Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled products to collect, analyze, and deliver IoT data. Because the apps are system-agnostic, your users will have a smooth, uninterrupted experience -- even when back-end systems are upgraded or replaced: helping drive adoption and use. Finally, PTC Navigate ensures that your data doesn’t end up in the hands of any users that should not have access to it by taking cues on security permission from your organization’s own system of record.

Be sure to watch the short demonstration on how the Navigate apps work by PTC Senior Channel Solutions Director, Chris Bergquist below. 
To learn more about PTC Navigate, visit  

  • CAD
  • Retail and Consumer Products
  • Connected Devices