Ten Year Plan or No Plan, What Would You Prefer?

OK, I am going to take a stab at being an unpaid junior marketing guy for Solid Edge today. Really it is an easy job because the very nature of the difference between Dassault’s handling of Solid Works and Siemens handling of Solid Edge is huge. Now I am not talking PR here because basically it does not exist at Solid Edge when compared to Solid Works. In this area SW has a plan and SE seemingly does not. I am going to talk about where companies are headed with their products.

Sometimes you read things and you just have to respond. Matt Lombard http://www.dezignstuff.com/blog/?p=8244
has come up with two posts this past week that have inspired me. Both of his posts made reference to fear in the heart of Solid Works VARS and today we have this. After this web page was posted it was quickly removed from view.

http://www.3dvision.com/wordpress/2013/01/14/the-sky-is-not-falling/

Now the beauty of the web is once posted never gone and so the page lives on. The Sky Is Not Falling is a heck of a thing for an SW VAR to feel compelled to talk about just before SW2013. I can only imagine the flack his customers are giving him for him to post this topic.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:vYjAGQcfZ58J:www.3dvision.com/wordpress/2013/01/14/the-sky-is-not-falling/+http://www.3dvision.com/wordpress/2013/01/14/the-sky-is-not-falling/&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

MATT has amended this part of his post referencing The Sky is Not Falling and you may go there and read why at the first link. Obviously this was not written recently but it still was a topic this VAR thought to bring up so for that alone I will leave the reference and comments in. I think there are probably a number of VARS who wonder about a lot of things with Dassault.

So we have a VAR wondering why Solid Edge has an anemic nearly non-existent ad campaign against troubled Dassault and a VAR who does not want to feed the apprehension of nervous SW users. These two are related due to one thing and that is the plans Dassault has for it’s cash paying customers and the VARs stuck in the middle of this mess. Dassault is busy creating weird stuff like Minimoys and software to see how your grocery store shelves might look. How about the abortive attempts at things like N!FUZE and the Cloud?

Here we are two years later and the poor SW user still has no idea of the real plans for SW and indeed he has been in limbo since Jeff Death Ray whipped his blaster out and promised the end is nigh. There are verbal promises and no binding time frame commitments about the future of Parametric based SW. We read about Catia Lite. Lots of press releases with glowing marketspeak gobbledegook no user wants to hear accompanied by how many abortive products since 2010?

I think these are symptoms of a plan no one at Dassault corporate wants to talk about. Either because they are embarrassed at how much failure has accompanied their first stated time lines and product launches or because they are hoping to create a cloud based Catia Lite they can ease their customers into without bleeding to death. All of this is part of the cloud model whereby they hope to, in my opinion, force users into perpetual no permanent seats pay to play chattel for a number of reasons. Primarily more of your money in their pockets in ways that can’t be stopped until you leave them or maybe even as long as you want to use “your” intellectual property. By the way dear reader whose property are your creations if you have to pay someone for the privilege of using what you have created on the cloud hmmm?

So you say, how can you prove that Mr Dassault badmouthing guy! I don’t sit on the board at Dassault but I can read between the lines. SW has no direct editing capabilities to speak of and they are not going to have it on Siemens Parasolid Kernal. You are going to have to have this capability to survive at the top of the MCAD heap. Yes I know the Parasolid Kernal is sold in its entirety but if you think there are not goodies there that make Synchronous Tech work for NX and SE that are not for sale to competitors you are just plain silly. And just like Autodesk I think the desire for chattel is so great at the corporate level that they are willing to risk jeopardizing their companies future in this effort. They truly think the bother of switching will be so onerous that most will never leave. So to date their actions speak louder than their words and the actions are to switch SW to the CGM kernel and users to the cloud eliminating Siemens Kernal and user freedoms in one fell swoop.

SW users think about these things and so do the VARs who do things like pull the above article so as not to feed the fire with SW users. If you don’t want your customer to know what you really intend use the weapon of marketspeak and baffle them with bovine stuff. This is not the sign of a company that has an honest plan they intend talk about with you the CAD user.

It is kind of strange to talk to Karsten Newbury who is head of Solid Edge Velocity products for Siemens. He uses plain language totally bereft of all that marketing jargon and he either says this is what we intend to do or I can’t talk about that with you. But he is willing to share the TEN YEAR plan that Siemens expects it’s companies to operate by. There is no plan to switch kernals or go to the cloud. No gamification or any of that useless social media stuff. Look I am not putting the simple creation of basic CAD or viewing the same on gutless hand held devices in this social media category but rather this whole Experience thing which wants to propel you into an online community of some sort to create CAD. WOW not only CAD but all of your crowd sourcing buddies and Facebook friends will be there too with the internet leaking all your data left and right to hackers!! Who comes up with this junk for a business model anyway?

At this time I find only one basic philosophy and delivery model being planned for Solid Edge. To become the best mid range geometry creation MCAD program out there whose primary objectives ARE to have best in class direct editing, to solve geometry and not have to use the cloud to do it. The next is to have a complete manufacturing ecosphere in place where you never have to step outside of SE and it’s integrated partners to do it all. Of course NX has been there for some time.

This is a contrast that appeals to me. Do I pick software with no clear direction and contradictory statements about the future abounding and being forced to the cloud to boot. Or do I at the age of 59 buy a product whose goal is best in class geometry and where I know exactly what to expect until I retire with a cohesive corporate plan they will clearly lay out for me.

So Mr. marketing guru here is Dave’s whole cad user marketing strategy. Promote the truth in plain language of your direction and your goals for the software. Talk about the capabilities and integration of ancillary programs to make it all work end to end to manufacture by. No BS, no Cloud, permanent seats, no kernel change, and corporate stability. Show how direct editing allows me to edit parts from SW and Inventor easier than the creators in their own products with imported dumb solids.

Now I am going to mention PROE here briefly. I don’t know much of anything about them and neither do CAD users I know personally. We all know they exist and were the King of the hill at one time but basically nothing more. So I figure they are a legacy program living off of those who never bit the bullet to change. Kind of like what I figure the fate of future SW users will be. When I talk about major mid range MCAD companies I am talking about Dassault’s Solid Works, Autodesk’s Inventor and Siemen’s Solid Edge.

At this time even though their marketing department is in limbo only Solid Edge has the corporate planning stability that I need, security now and in the future I have to have by being allowed to work offline and management that actually wants to know and incorporate geometry creation capabilities users want. Whose plan do you want to buy into, yours or theirs?

I chose to buy into the company that buys into what I need for mine for now and the future. NOW MR Marketing Guy, that was not so hard after all was it?

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