Yesterday, after unveiling Creo , PTC's soon-to-arrive design application suite, the company arranged for a panel of analysts to address attendee questions about the product. The roundtable included Marc Halpern, Research VP at Gartner, Sanjeev Pal, Research Manager at IDC, and John MacKrell, a senior consultant at CIMdata. The trio spoke about potential challenges, as well as what they considered to be the most interesting Creo features. Here are a few bits from the discussion.

On CAD challenges:

"For me, the most exciting element of Creo is the idea of linking the configuration management, particularly from manufacturing bill of materials, to the CAD models, the digital mockups ... It's a very difficult problem, and I'm very much excited and look forward to seeing, once this goes out on the market, how it works. I give PTC a lot of credit for going after it." -- Marc Halpern

"[Customers] don't want to restrict themselves to 'I'm working with this application, and I have a supplier or an acquired company, and we can't work together because they have a different CAD system.'" -- Sanjeev Pal, on Creo's potential to handle external CAD data.

"One of the major problems, and anyone in an industrial setting understands this, is CAD data is highly underutilized today. It's way too complex ...The user interfaces are too complex. The operations are too complex, especially in the 3D format. If you can unlock that to the user community through simplified user interfaces and simplified operations, that is a great thing ...To expand the CAD use over to people like CAE analysts, for example, and allow them to do operations on the model more easily than they do today is really important." -- John MacKrell

"If the interfaces are easier, you can simply hand it over to somebody on the factory and floor and even in the supply chain ... Those are the three areas -- manufacturing, sales, and supply chain -- that I see the greatest opportunities." -- Marc Halpern

An attendee later pressed the panel on what the risks are of the emerging product suite:

"I've been around this type of software for 30 years. I have never seen a major platform that didn't have risks ... When you shift these platforms, of course there's risk, considering the changes in architecture, the way data needs to be reorganized, and ways that algorithms now need to work. And I perceive that that's the biggest risk: Out of the box, come this summer, we'll have to see how good a job PTC does in terms of the quality and delivering out of the box something that is industrial strength. I give PTC the credit for putting their name on the line to move in this direction." -- Marc Halpern