Some notes on the Siemens Industry 2010 analyst event in Boston

The recent Siemens Industry analyst event consisted of two days of intense information sharing – following the event, and given time to digest the information my (very concise) summary is as follows:

Excellent products with good development strategies supported by broad ranging competence and capability to deliver real working solutions in often complex business environments. Siemens PLM’s competence in verticals was often (in the past) under-represented but this is changing quickly. Always delighted, however, to see their enthusiasm for technology and focus on the customer. There’s a clear re-acknowledgement of the opportunity in small to mid size businesses – reinvigorated sales and marketing focus and fresh views should help define the way forward.

I suspect that Chuck Grindstaff’s appointment as President and CTO will energise the organisation. I got the feeling in the past that the nature and personality of the PLM team was sometimes overwhelmed by elements of Siemens process and metrics; the injection of American positivity laced with German pragmatism is all to the positive and will no doubt lead to innovation on both sides (in PLM and the greater Siemens).

Siemens is seldom overtly aggressive but I had sight of some very bullish positioning and competitive focus. Keen to promote themselves as more ‘open’ than some of their erstwhile competitors, proof positive will reflected by a happy and growing customer base and thriving third party ecosystem.

Siemens is now delivering products that reflect the intent of project Archimedes. The launch of products such as Mechatronics Concept Designer offers not only interesting point solution capability but delivers an opportunity to create closer ties between concept, design, manufacturing, QA and test; areas in which Siemens as a whole has pretty unique strengths in the PLM world… making it all work requires enlightened vision AND innovative product…easier said than done, and good to see progress.

The acquisition a couple of years ago of Innotec (COMOS) seemed somewhat low-key (much to my surprise). I observed at the time that the acquisition offered an interesting extension to the Siemens PLM strategy; allowing the organisation to extend PLM coverage to new business process areas and industry segments – specifically plant and process. It was good to see it making waves and inciting interest.

We all know that customers buy to address the business needs of their organisation and not simply to satiate the technology needs of engineers. The event hosted some good business focused presentations; of particular note were those from executives from The Lockheed Corporation and Proctor and Gamble. Often enthusiasm for technology gets in the way of a great story – I thought that the Siemens’ customers put the value of Siemens’ technology within their own organisations across very eloquently.

Velocity/Solid Edge received more airtime, not before time some might add. The small to mid-size market opportunity is an area that certainly deserves more attention from Siemens and good to see some actions becoming apparent. I think that there’s much more to do here to capture hearts and mind of the user community, expound the Siemens value to the market and strengthen and enable the channel to compete in a segment dominated by others. I’m sure that there are areas of strategy, messaging and go-to market that they’re still working on so it will be interesting to see how this fleshes out over the near term.