A conversation with Karsten Newbury, head of the Siemens Velocity business unit

My interest in Siemens’ Solid Edge business was recently re-awakened when I finally heard that Karsten Newbury was appointed to lead the Solid Edge business. His actual title is senior vice president and general manager for Siemens PLM Software’s Velocity Series product suite. Partially this occurred when I heard that Bruce Boes had departed the company to head up marketing at Vistagy (www.vistagy.com).

Karsten Newbury

Some of you may recall that I wrote several papers when Solid edge synchronous technology was first released in 2008. Back then it was billed as the greatest thing since sliced CAD bread. Finally users could just design, change existing designs easily, and import other CAD system data easily. Yet, in the two years since, it seems to have made little dent in the marketplace. Sure, some Solid Edge competitors sat up and took notice, even going so far as to add such capabilities to their software, or at least their software plans. Autodesk announced Fusion Technology and SolidWorks promised to expand direct modeling within the history tree.

Newbury, a long time Siemens executive, led the integration of the UGS acquisition into Siemens. Aha, I thought, at last the company seems to be paying attention to this CAD modeling gem. I asked for and was granted a telephone interview with Newbury, just yesterday. Below are the nuggets from this interview.

Ray: You have been head of Velocity marketing for some six months now, what are you doing differently than before?

Karsten: When heading up the integration into Siemens we identified certain technologies that could be more profitable. Solid Edge, with synchronous technology (ST) stood out. The establishment of the Velocity business unit was the first step to gain greater visibility and funding with Siemens PLM. I have the global responsibility for its success. I am reviewing all aspects of the business and the opportunities. There are more focused resources now along with more investment.

Ray: can you give me some metrics on how much the resource has increased?

Karsten: I cannot give you any numbers, but we have seen high double-digit license revenue growth in the last year. We have invested several million dollars in the business since the beginning of last year. I cannot share with you any details on the actual dollar amount of the revenue increase or manpower increase.

Ray: This leaves me a little cold without having details on the actual investment or manpower.

Karsten: You will just have to wait and see what the impact in the market is. The business unit is profitable and is expected to continue to be so. We will plow all the profits back into the business.

Ray: Have there been any recent management or organizational changes within your business unit that you feel are substantive?

Karsten: As a newcomer I have been examining our structure and will soon add a new person to head up the marketing function. In the three major worldwide geographic zones we have put in place new sales leaders.

Ray: What are your plans to gain market share in the face of intense competition from Autodesk and SolidWorks?

Karsten: We are focusing more on providing local support and providing more sales leadership to VARs worldwide. We have increased our channel percentage and will drive more into this direction; currently more than 90 percent of our revenue comes from channel partners. We plan to leverage ST’s real productivity gains and have users tell others about the benefits.

Ray: Do you envision any dramatic changes in the product and can you discuss the future of the product.

Karsten: This will have to wait for a more detailed session. ST3 is due out soon and incorporates about 2000 user enhancement requests. While Velocity is our brand we also want to make sure that the individual products are exposed more. The supporting Velocity products remain very strong and competitive. (Femap, Teamcenter Express and CAM Express)

Ray: Your competition has been taking potshots at ST. How do you counteract that?

Karsten: We do not worry about what the competitors say. We think users are looking for alternatives in their design approach. We want to drive real productivity gains for users and make their job easier. With ST3, due out soon, we expand these benefits even further. Solid Edge ST represents a real advantage over the competitive offerings. Users are talking about shrinking their design times from weeks to days.

Ray: Do you think Autodesk Fusion Technology is a serious threat to ST?

Karsten: Fusion technology seems to have acknowledged direct modeling benefits. We think we have a distinct time advantage over our competitors.

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