There are some huge fundamental changes that are happening in the CAD world right now and it would behoove anyone who uses a CAD program to make a living to start paying attention. Look, the I don’t care everything is alright your just crazy for thinking SolidWorks (and perhaps others too for differing reasons) is going away or changing into something I can’t use mind-set does not allow the possessor of that mindset to evade the inevitable forthcoming reality.
Before I go any further please look at the following.
What we have here is a snapshot of value and how it is derived. It is also an indicator of why companies are making decisions that directly affect you.
Dassault has made the decision based I believe on things like the value of Google and Facebook to change the fundamental core philosophy of what they do to social engineering and away from basic pure engineering. It is the only thing I can see that explains all the seemingly irrelevant acquisitions and the odd concentration of R&D dollars into social engineering programs and Minimoys and gamification and crowd sourcing and on and on.
Why? It is a lot harder to develop something that has to deliver concise exact results like engineering programs do and judging by relative values nowhere near as valuable. Dassault has taken since 1981 to get this far and Facebook and Google have sailed way past them in far less time. I think Dassault looks at those dollars and contemplates jettisoning their traditional designer for more lucrative less demanding markets.
There is also a robber Barron element there in their thinking where they want you to have to pay to play with their stuff.
The push is really on right now for usurpation of property rights and usage rights. Ranging from not being able to resell something you own like books (legislation currently being proposed in Congress) to the attempts by companies to stop online piracy they all center on one thing. More cash for deep pockets from your pockets. Their solution in the area of companies like Dassault is to prevent permanent seats of anything and to force users to be subscribers and to end permanent seats. They want the ability to say to you that every day you use their software you have to pay a fee. As a matter of fact they want you to pay for every day whether you use it or not. This is why Dassault will talk about how things will remain like they are with permanent seats but never give a written guarantee for this. Facts do speak louder than mealy-mouthed corporatespeak.
Which brings us to dear little Autodesk. Autodesk at this time appears to want to remain primarily a CAD company. The major problem with them is that per their announced earlier this year corporate policy they will be adopting the robber Barron cloud only security breaching paradigm. Your reward for years of loyal usage will be pay to play. Yeah, the fight against piracy is a wonderful excuse for punishing your loyal cash paying customers. I figure that the hackers will find a way around anything these CAD companies do so what is the true motive here? I believe that it amounts to a desire to end the ability to use software without a user fee—-forever. No more of this junk like using a permanent seat for multiple years without having to cough up funds to Autodesk.
Don’t believe me? Get your guarantees against this in writing from Autodesk. I am sure they will provide you with one. Along with the one that says your intellectual property will remain yours and you won’t have to be current on your monthly subscription to use it to make a living. This is no different from the mob guy who walks into a business and “sells” you fire insurance. That Autodesk intends to do this to its loyal customers says a lot about how they regard their partnership with their customers. They desire you as chattel.
Now regard Siemens and here we have a completely different concept. UGS/SolidEdge was bought because Siemens is one of the major manufacturing corporations on the world. They wanted to own software that they could control and implement in their corporation to improve their own manufacturing processes and efficiencies. They intend to use this software to make things. Just like you. You want to own and use it and so does Siemens. They have no intention of being trendy with social media junk. It is not what they do or will ever do. There is not even a hint that they are spending R&D$$$$ in this area like Dassault is. I have spent some time looking in cracks and crevices and under rocks for any hint that Siemens is going to force customers onto the cloud with their design software and I can’t find any. They darned sure aren’t looking to foist Minimoy’s or gamification on us thereby catering to this stupid social media iPhone XGen (or whatever this weeks trendy label is for slackers) generation bunch that expects to be allowed to spend up to half their paid days doing other things besides what they are being paid to do. It is far better for your bottom line that your employees never have to go online to use your design software both in elimination of wasted time and in preventing security breaches. There is also no hint of the robber Barron stuff here.
I have not asked for a written guarantee from Siemens as I expect that it would be met with the same stony silence as this request would get from Dassault and Autodesk. I do have a reason though for making these statements. Dasssault and Autodesk are the ones who are making huge changes in your future against your desires and wishes. They are the ones who are having to make reassuring promises of future intent to users who are rightly quite worried. Siemens is not in this boat as they are not out there selling their customers down the river and no one needs reassuring on this side of the fence.
It was an entirely unintended consequence of my purchase of Solid Edge that I would find myself in the only major CAD program concerned with manufacturing and users needs. Five years ago so much of this cloud stuff and this pay to play stuff was not regarded as serious. The only pay to play CAD effort I remember from this time frame was SpaceClaim and their subscription model failed miserably and was precisely why they never got a look from me. If I can’t own it I don’t want it. I don’t want an apartment I want my own house.
Corporate philosophy has today become just as great a benefit to me as Synchronous Tech is. I believe in these guys and I believe they have long-term plans that dovetail quite nicely with my desires for best in class design software that will be stable and useable and that I would desire to use for the rest of my working career which I figure to be at least ten years and more if I am able.
You guys in the Dassault and Autodesk worlds better start waking up to reality and begin the process of deciding just what you want to use and the conditions under which you want to use it. A decision to make no decision is of course a decision just as binding as the one made to take action. The one who makes choices though is far better off than the one who has them made for him.
I have gone through this with VX/ZW3D so I understand legacy files blah blah blah. I understand hating the idea you have to learn a new program. Believe me I do as I never even owned a computer until 2001 and never had a CAD program until 2005. I am now 59 so don’t talk to me about lack of desire to have your little world changed I DO understand those thoughts. I am currently looking for CAM which is another thing I never wanted to do. But what do my personal wishes have to do with corporate CAD decisions? Absolutely nothing as they don’t call me to sit in on the planing meetings. I am left to look out for myself.
Today I recommend without any serious reservations Siemens NX or SE. These are the only major players that have no current or future plans to upset your apple cart. If stability and the ability to plan for the future is as important to you as it is to me regard the philosophy of the company you are doing business with as seriously as you investigate their programs as they have both become critical things to jointly consider.
As an aside here. I complain a lot about lack of CAM in SE and it does gripe my rear end in a major way. I believe these kinds of problems are being solved though so my last remaining major complaint against these guys will soon be history.