CEOs Plot to Perk Up PLM with .Net
Q&A: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and UGS CEO Tony Affuso sit down to talk .Net and product lifecycle management platforms that take on search and collaboration duties.AUSTIN, TexasProduct lifecycle management software has long been thought of as a tool for "tech weenies." But Microsoft and UGS are setting out to change that perception. The companies, which on May 3 set in motion the development of the first PLM platform built entirely on .Net, aim to bring PLM to the widest possible user setfrom the extended supply chain to marketing and manufacturing to retailas both a digital collaboration tool and a search tool. Theyre in a good position to accomplish their goal as many Microsoft productsthink Outlookare ever-present collaboration tools. UGS, which has nearly 4 million licensed seats and 46,000 customers, announced it will tighten integration between, among others, its TeamCenter and Microsofts ASP.Net 2.0, Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005, which are all based on .Net. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and UGS CEO Tony Affuso sat down with eWEEK Senior Writer Renee Boucher Ferguson at the World Congress on IT on May 3 to talk about their plans. Whats the big deal with PLM for Microsoft, given its status as a niche application? Affuso: You know it used to be. Its not anymore. PLM is the lifeblood of a product manufacturing company. It helps organize and share ideas and products across an organization. It used to be just the tech weenies would use it to track design engineering. But now its all about collaboration and involving different teams [and] bringing in costing people, testing people, reliability people.
Tony, you and I spoke in 2002-2003 about digital collaboration. You said then the technology had about a 10 percent market penetration. Has that grown in the last three or four years, and how will Microsoft help going forward?