PTC Exec: $1B Rockwell Deal Will Act As 'Force Multiplier' For Partner Selling Opportunities


A PTC executive said channel partners are expected to receive significant new selling opportunities thanks to the industrial software vendor's new strategic partnership with Rockwell Automation.

The Needham, Mass.-based company announced Monday that Rockwell Automation will make a $1 billion equity investment in the company as part of the strategic partnership, prompting PTC's stock price to reach an all-time high Monday in its 29 years as a public company.

"The feedback's been universally positive. Everyone views this as a win-win," Don Busiek, senior vice president of corporate strategy at PTC, told CRN in an interview.

The announcement comes as PTC's Internet of Things business remains the company's fastest-growing business, with related sales growing 33 percent year over year in the second quarter to $29 million.

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As part of the partnership, PTC and Milwaukee-based Rockwell will work together on technical projects as well as global go-to-marketing initiatives. More specifically, PTC is planning "unmatched" integration between its IoT offerings — ThingWorx, Kepware and the Vuforia augmented reality platform — and Rockwell's FactoryTalk and Industrial Automation platforms to help customers increase plant productivity and efficiency, reduce operational risk and improve system interoperability.

For PTC's channel partners, the deal means a chance to increase the number of verticals they sell into, as well as the number of products, because the partnership opens partners to Rockwell's customer base, domain expertise and product offerings, Busiek said.

"Now all of a sudden we have Rockwell's 35,000 live customers as prospects to sell into it. That doesn’t apply just to our direct sales team but also our partner ecosystem," he said.

For instance, there are some verticals where PTC has lacked domain expertise, such as oil and gas, where Rockwell can now provide assistance so that partners can sell PTC products into that market. Those partners can also sell Rockwell products on top of their PTC portfolio, for which Rockwell will provide enablement resources.

"It’s a force multiplier in terms of who they can sell into," Busiek said.

In addition to Rockwell providing resources to PTC partners and customers, PTC will also do the same for Rockwell's partners and customers, Busiek said. PTC plans to roll out a new incentive plan for partners specific to this partnership, the executive added.

Elaina Shekhter, CMO of EPAM Systems, a PTC partner and No. 31 on the CRN's 2018 Solution Provider 500, welcomed the new opportunities that came with the company's announcement.

"The strategic alliance between our partner, PTC, and Rockwell Automation, is exciting news, expanding our IoT partner ecosystem to cover new domains and verticals," she said in a statement. "We’ll be able to support the broader reach of PTC through our full end-to-end IoT service capabilities, industrial design and infrastructure, middleware and integration capabilities."

PTC is not the only industrial software company Rockwell has recently invested in. On Monday, it was also announced that Claroty, an industrial IoT software provider, raised a $60 million round from Rockwell, among others.