5471047557_4dc13f5376_n-300x300It’s always fascinating to see what brings people to the Schnitger Corp. website. Some of it makes sense: I write about PLM and you want to know about PLM — boom! Sometimes, though, it’s not so obvious … Do you really want me to write more about Steve MacDonald and CD-adapco’s 35th year birthday cake? I’ve probably said all that can be said: it was blue and white; Mr. MacDonald liked the frosting. Perhaps you just can’t get enough of the photo?

In any case,here are today’s top queries and some quick answers:

Stratasys VARs
Stratasys has a lot of partners, which you can reach here on Stratasys’ website or by typing something like “Stratasys reseller Andover MA” into your favorite search engine. If there’s another question in there, ask again!

AspenTech revenue
AspenTech doesn’t get enough attention because it’s a very specific solution provider: chemical reaction modeling for the process industries, along with oil and gas supply chain modeling. The first is about thermodynamics, moles and milliliters: how much of what stuff added to what other stuff in what quantity and at what pressure/temperature do I need to get to my desired output? Whether it’s Cheez Whiz* or a specific grade of heating oil, many people use AspenTech’s solutions to model the chemistry and manufacturing process as the start of a plant design project. Other solutions for process optimization, operator training, cost trade-off and performance analyses round out aspenONE’s engineering offering; aspenONE’s oil and gas supply chain solutions are intended to help model gasoline production from well-head to neighborhood filling station.

But about revenue. The most recent quarter, FQ3 2015, had reported revenue up 7% to $111 million on software revenue growth of 12%. AspenTech has been moving its customers to subscriptions, causing some hiccups that seem to have smoothed out. For the year so far, 9 months ending March 31, 2015, total reported revenue is $326 million, up 13%.

When should a company provide earnings preannouncement?
I’ve written about this a lot —here and here, for starters– so won’t repeat it all again. Why does it fascinate people so? Perhaps because publicly traded companies can be opaque when they’re supposed to, by law, be at least somewhat transparent. They often lump bad things together, to take a hit once rather than several times as news trickles out.

Public companies really have three constituencies: customers, employees and shareholders. A single message (“We’re cutting costs!”) may make investors happy but not the other two groups; employees may hear management say “no more free pizza” while customers may think it means “reducing our support desk hours”.  Managing these messages and their impact is hard and uncertain. Getting ahead of the news is often the only real alternative.

Did Autodesk buy Nastran?
Yes, sort of, a while ago. Autodesk acquired NEi (used to be Noran Engineering Inc.) which had a product called NEi NASTRAN. You probably know that “NASTRAN” is really “NASA STRucture ANalysis”, a solver first created by Dr. Richard MacNeal under contract for NASA in the 1960s and made available to just about anyone who wanted to create a commercial offering from/around it. MacNeil Schwendler (now MSC) created a variant as did others; in 2002 (?) the US Federal Trade Commission made MSC give a copy of its evolved code to UGS (now Siemens) to settle an unfair trade practices suit. All the while, NEi had been working on a similar solution that was often benchmarked against the NASA-originated NASTRANs and that it called NASTRAN and that may or may not have its origins in the Cosmic licensing of the original public domain code. It’s confusing and depends on whom you ask. But no, as far as I know, Autodesk has not acquired MSC nor has it acquired NX Nastran from Siemens PLM.

*Actually, I’m guessing on the Cheez Whiz; aspenONE may not be able to model processed cheese foods. But wouldn’t it be cool if it could?

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