MSC Software has quietly been remaking itself: New owner, new leadership, new public face on its website and in webinars. Over the last few weeks, the wrappers have started to come off, as the company has quietly been releasing the 2010 versions of it major products and established a new division to focus on sales of SimManager. New versions of Adams, Marc, and Patran feature user interface enhancements to improve usability and productivity; performance upgrades such as modernized solvers and 64-bit support for Windows and Linux; and increased focus on multiphysics support. MSC last released versions of these products in 2008; users had seen them as stable but growing stale and lagging behind the new releases from competitors. With these releases, MSC looks to recapture some lost ground, embarking on a twice-annual release cycle.

In a similar vein, MSC announced the formation of the SimManager Business Unit to focus on the opportunities the company sees in using SimManager as a platform for CAE integration. According to Albrecht Pfaff, Vice President of the SimManager Business Unit, the BU will be responsible for sales and marketing, with an emphasis on customized deployments; R&D will remain within the core MSC R&D organization. Initially, the BU will focus on Europe, since that’s where the largest early adopters and a staff of about 30 are based. After a six-month review, MSC will decide whether to expand the BU’s operations into North America and Asia. Pfaff sees the opportunity 2010 as being “like PDM 10 years ago – accelerating, with new players entering and lots of customer interest. We think the market for simulation data management could be as big as traditional data management. We will bring value to our customers, and that will bring value to MSC.”

For 2010, look to MSC to bounce back after a really tough 2009. Under stable leadership and ownership, and with a some economic recovery in its end-markets, the company should be able to show some growth, especially if the new releases spur maintenance renewals and new customer wins.