28 Feb, 2007 By: Kenneth Wong

IBM's Balancing Act
Big Blue's partnership juggling act seems to get more complex with every deal it inks. In January, Dassault signed a new agreement with IBM under which IBM would basically peddle more Dassault products, adding ENOVIA MatrixOne and DELMIA to the list that already includes CATIA, ENOVIA VPLM and ENOVIA SmarTeam.
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Bear in mind, however, that IBM also has ongoing partnerships with Dassault's two biggest competitors. Several weeks before the IBM?Dassault announcement, IBM and UGS shook hands for IBM business partners to sell and support UGS Teamcenter Express software and services to SMB (small and midsize business) customers in six countries. A year ago, IBM made a nonexclusive deal with PTC to primarily address the emerging PLM market in China, but it also includes programs in the United States and Europe. Before that, IBM and Dassault adopted a new channel-management model that's designed to help IBM business partners capture growing PLM opportunities in the SMB market.

Tom Emmrich, general manager of business operations in the Americas for Dassault, doesn't think IBM is weaving a tangled web. ?The scope of the IBM?DS relationship . . . goes well beyond those signed with other entities and from elsewhere within IBM,? he said. ?Those agreements are fairly standard . . . DS solutions are the only PLM solutions sold by IBM under its own branding; the only solutions for which there are sales quotas on which IBM salespeople are measured and compensated; and the only solutions the IBM PLM organization remains dedicated to selling.?

Groundswell for Plant Lifecycle
In January 2005, PLM giant UGS snatched Tecnomatix, a company that developed and marketed software for managing manufacturing processes. Five months later, PTC nabbed Polyplan, which also sold manufacturing process management solutions. Dassault Systemes, competitor to both UGS and PTC, didn't feel the need to Click to E-mail Usmake a similar purchase, probably because its portfolio already included DELMIA, a high-end digital manufacturing suite.

Early this year, German engineering firm Siemens moved in on UGS. Officials from both sides touted the transaction as a move that would bring together plant operations and manufacturing process simulation. It's a marriage between the e-factory and the real factory, they proclaimed. If this deal turns out to be the first in a new round of mergers and acquisitions between manufacturing systems (plant machinery) providers and manufacturing solutions (software) providers, we may need to end up redefining PLM as plant lifecycle management.

About the Author: Kenneth Wong

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