Solid Edge University and the Lackluster Launch

I guess in writing this I have made a decision. I have come full circle and I find myself back where it all started, namely the best software you have never heard of. Here we are just days before SEU 2014 and the totally incompetent Marketing and Publicity departments with the Four Stooge’s combining from Siemens the top Marketing and Publicity incompetents and the cluelessness of Jon Fox for a powerful and deadly body blow to the user community and the future potential of SE in numbers of sales of seats. What first brought me here was complaining about the very same things I find myself complaining about today. For some years now I had entertained real hope things were going to change. On the technical side they have and SE is the best midrange MCAD program out there along with finally a true integrated CAM partner. But this social side of it all still reeks of the foul odor of either people who could care less about SE and it’s future or outright gross incompetence.

Some time back I had written a post on “SEU 2014 No News is No News” The purpose of it was to be a pre-emptive strike against incompetents Like Jon Fox and force him to actually have to do something. I was sent a letter that stated that if I wanted to be on the inside as I had been I needed to stop writing these types of things which were harming their attempt at building a brand name. Out of respect for the individual I did. But I have to admit the first thing that popped into my mind was what brand? Did I miss something here? Out of respect for that same individual I now address the same topic and let the chips fall where they may. I have very little desire to be a part of something that is doomed to fail unless big changes are made. Sadly I do still care and I care a lot. I care enough about what is going on to come right out and say can’t you guys see you are destroying any potential for SE to be #1? I understand that threat to not be a part of the “inside” is real but remember my primary loyalty is to USERS of which I am one and a failure to fix this long-standing problem is of far greater concern to me than someones opinion of me. In this day and time where sycophants are so easy to come by and real honest input is not, if honesty is secondary to hearing the glad handing and falsehoods about how well things are going from the sycophants take me off the privileged insiders list.

This is why I am not going to SEU2014. I am going to work and take a little time off and ignore an event that will have many more Siemens employees attending than actual users. I am privy to the numbers and it is appalling. What really got me going today was looking at Novedge again and seeing a continuation of week after squandered week where nothing much is made of the premier annual event for SE. Folks, if it is not showing up at Novedge it is not showing up anywhere and what I said about the incompetence of PR and Marketing is not only true but has now produced exactly what I feared it would and the indisputable truth is in the numbers.

Three years now and two of them with regional summits where interested people cared enough to attend. If there was a lick of sense in the idiot PR&M (Public Relations and Marketing) departments this would have been the nucleus of user groups across the country. Instead this data just sits and rots. Which brings me to another point besides outright incompetence which is after all so capably manifested by the four stooges. There has been basically no change in the status of users outside of the Universities. There are some VARs who are doing great work with information and reaching out but Siemens itself is a big fat fail. I figure that when the final numbers are in of actual USERS who attend the Nashville event from two years ago will have been the peak. however in the mean time these clowns can waste days talking about what should be the approved background color for the official Siemens website.

There is another idea that has been floating around in my mind for some time and it is not all bad either for the users. But it is a wretched thing for the potential for SE to have explosive and technically well earned growth and a thriving user community. Talking with an ex SE user last week and he came right out and said he could confirm my idea to be more than fiction. What if Siemens bought UGS for their own manufacturing ecosystem and their sole concern was to have best of class software for their own purposes under their total control? I can see that this would by and of itself be a more than adequate reason to buy UGS. It means that if you want to have software that is designed for manufacturing by a manufacturing giant that eats it’s own dog food you are in the right place.

What really puzzles me though about this is that I thought profit from any division of a conglomerate was desirable and funds and management would get behind an area like SE that has such potential for growth. Instead we get things like jackasses saying stuff like why should SE users be treated any differently than NX PLM World users? These Siemens people genuinely can’t see that different markets mean different strategies and no one size can fit them all. By math I have generated here before I figure these guys have saved limited budgetary expeditures on advertising and cost a ton of profits as a result. Penny wise and pound foolish. Quite frankly if I was an industry analyst I would be paying attention to this myopic treatment of SE and wonder just how many other areas of huge profit potential these same individuals in PR&M are costing the corporation in other areas to. Is there a point that can be reached where a company becomes divorced from what made the companies they buy out tech leaders because they are to big or to hide bound? Or smothered by self serving bureaucrats whose main concern is paychecks and fiefdoms?

After SEU 2014 I will have some other things to say about all this but for now I just shake my head over the management of Siemens that can’t see how they are enabling significant failure to utilize the profit potential of SE. For whatever reason. I fully expect that within two years if nothing changes and the current PR&M people are not fired and replace with competent individuals who are empowered and directed by upper management to prevail against the market the Universities will be a thing of the past. A fading but fond memory of SE users just as the Summit from 2005 in Cincinnati became to SE users for years.

A, you can’t take people and strategies that do not work and do the same things again and expect the miraculous to happen. B, You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. So what is it going to be Siemens? Are you going to fix it or do we play the dirge for what could have been and should have been under rational profit seeking hungry owners? I for one am thinking that this mess is just not worth my time and effort to support. I make no money from this and I am not an employee and your attitude has managed to take one of your biggest fans and destroy my desire to be anything other than a silent dues paying customer. Have a nice time at SEU 2014 and look at all the Siemens employees around you that far outnumber the users and remember that it could have been thousands of users with a sprinkling of Siemens types and your user base could have been the largest. But hey, at least I am eating the same dog food as is used in the Siemens kennel and that is not all bad.

15 responses to “Solid Edge University and the Lackluster Launch

  1. It is a shame that while Dan Staples and his team are trying hard to stay ahead of the pack in technical terms, the sales suppression team are also excelling in keeping their heads below the parapet.
    I attended a 3D Seminar in UK the other week (Develop 3D Live), sponsored by Dell, AMD Firepro & Windows (interestingly, no Apple or Nvidia). The Gold sponsors were Autodesk (known for CAD software), Solidworks (known for CAD software) & Siemens (known for electricity generation and railway locomotives !?)
    Once I could break into the staff’s holy-huddle on the stand I asked where Solid Edge was. I was directed to a line of writing about 1″ high near the floor on the back wall and told that Siemens offer so much that they didn’t want to be tied to one product at such an event. While the other stands were heaving, Siemens staff seemed to be enjoying their own company. Karsten Newbury had even flown over to give a keynote speech but Edge hardly got a mention. There was more mention of NX from the Red Bull Racing speaker.
    I too have offered to support a user-group but have been told “feel-free”, but without a list of users and some heavyweight support (both required from Solid Edge) nothing will happen – nor has it.
    Like you, I have to make my own way in the world so I will not be at SEU either. I was at the 1st in Huntsville, as you know, and I think I was the only “paying guest” from UK (if not Europe). It sounds like this year will be little different (except for me).
    I have just signed up for 3 more years Edge support but having now been abandoned from the Newsgroup, as the NNTP contributors were apparently not worth Siemens’ effort to keep us online, there are fewer and fewer reasons to feel part of a community.
    Who said work had to be fun?

    • Hi Alan,
      Unbelievable isn’t it. This great technical product and total clueless idiots sabotaging it. Actually I am beginning to think this is the way it really is. That control over SE is being taken back by the PLM World and UGS idiot types where SE is something you mention while holding your nose. You know, the long one you are looking down at the same time. SE is useful only for it’s technology they grudging use resenting the idea that they did not come up with it first. HA HA SALES SUPRESSION TEAM, I love it and do you mind if I use that phrase? I had commited to helping a user group every month in Huntsville about two months ago. I will be cancelling that and they can do it themselves or forget it. They clearly do not care and now neither do I.

  2. Lets go slow because we both know you are. Who hired John Fox? ;>)

    • Yeah and the guy that hired him is getting stabbed in the back by him as his reward. Jon Faux whose only accomplishment is becoming a towering colossus of incompetence and excelling at it. One day this stuff will cost a good guy whose heart is in the right place his job because after all the buck does stop somewhere doesn’t it.

      By the way JB, you are an idiot and a broken clock is always right two times a day although not because of rational thought. 😉

  3. Hi Dave,
    Every now and again I pass through the dead zone that is Siemens SE marketing space just to see how things are presently. Today I see you are doing another plea for change. I have to mention as an impartial outsider I totally get where you are coming from with your comments. My take on it is that the reformers have lost to the status quo. This is really a pity for SE users and unfortunately does nothing for the image of SE in the wider world. I really don’t see how anyone could look at SE and conclude it wasn’t effectively sabotaged either by choice or gross ineptitude. Why you would knowingly persist with this predicament is beyond my comprehension. If you were completely cynical you might wonder if SE marketing are paid backhanders by Autodesk to do as poor a job as possible. I can’t imagine why they would think they are building a brand with such an abysmal showing. Seems to me they have been doing next to nothing for years other than put about a Siemens logo. Surely there is more in their imagination and someone has a modicum of ambition to have 15 mins of fame before they die. I think they got the first coat of paint on ten years ago and then fell asleep watching it dry. Today we are looking at an outdated fascade, a customer/user rapport bordering on zero and a strategy that is self defeating of potential sales. If anyone is likely to be making triremes in the modern age and selling them by word of mouth it would be Siemens. Truly one of the most appallingly bad marketing efforts anywhere for anything… but then again as long as enough is coming in to pay the bills why bother… Sadly you will grow old while expecting Siemens to do anything different I think. Don’t let that thought obstruct your trying though. You just never know….. 😉

    • Hi Neil,
      Nope not a plea for help but a post mortem. I think the end is here for the brief period of hope we have had and the idiots are back running the asylum. Thankfully there is still this great product to use in spite of the moronic position it finds itself in with the SALES SUPPRESSION TEAM. Hey there you go Alan I am making productive use of your phrase already.

  4. Well sorry to hear of everyone’s disappointment over SEU14 and with Siemens marketing… or lack of for Solid Edge.

    Although I can’t disagree with most that was said regarding the pathetic lack of effort in marketing effort, I will say that these are tough times. I’m not excusing anything, but I doubt the attendance to SEU14 is driven by lack of trying, but more due to lack of funds individuals and companies are willing to fork out for these kind of events. Most trade shows are suffering from the drop off in attendance… the internet has made many shows irrelevant. But again this is not in anyway excusing Siemens’ bare bones effort in promoting Solid Edge.

    Personally this has been probably… no it had been the worst year in almost decade for my company. Honestly I shouldn’t be going either, and yet Paul Cerone (Design Engineer) and myself will be going. YES it’s a lot of money to spend in these tough economic times for what pretty much is a social event. But even with all this uncertainty with my business and the economy, i still want to go. I guess I’m just a perennial optimist and hope that things change soon.

    Bottom line is I’ve given up on being “WOWed” by Siemens’ marketing of CAD products… or any of them. I really don’t care anymore what other people think of Solid Edge versus their brand of CAD. And I also don’t care if there aren’t tons of new users jumping on-board either… it doesn’t change my situation one bit, nor help my business prosper, let alone survive.

    So I wake up every day and my business mind says: just stay focused on keeping my business open… and don’t spend time trying to help others (Siemens) survive… I have enough to worry about. Solid Edge has made great strides with Synchronous in the past 3+ years, and I can’t agree more with you, that Solid Edge is the BEST mid-level CAD package out there. I just don’t have the emotional strength to worry how well they’re Marketing it. The only losers I see are those too hung up on not being coddled into buying a seat… that’s theirs and Siemens’ loss, and not mine.

    So Dave, I’m sorry you won’t be at SEU14, but I fully understand your frustration. Just not sure why it riles you to this point. I guess I’m more self centered then you, and figure it is what it is…. but not until it’s hurts me personally. I just won’t let anyone “Rent Space in MY HEAD”, let alone some Marketing guy.

    Bob

    • Hi Bob,
      I like the phrase rent space in my head. It is what happened when I decided to become and advocate for a program rather than just a user. I intend to be a user for the rest of my career because technically SE is the best for what I do. And it is the reason I came here to begin with. I fully concur with your position regarding Siemens and SE and it is now just a tool. I will comment upon it on occasion for its technical aspects because it just interests me to do so. But the days of advocacy are over. It is just a tool as you say. I would however say this in closing. Autodesk and SW will pull in thousands of people in the same economy. The user group in Huntsville averaged an attendance that will be the equal of 17% of the paid user attendance at SEU 2014 if what I have been told is true. There are big things wrong with this way beyond the economy and we both know it. I will give you a call later and we can talk about this.

  5. Dave,
    One of the things I don’t like about most big companies is that transparency is often an issue. I get that they don’t want to share their strategies and plans with competitors, but you often end up with a lot of pontificating on why things are the way they are.

    I’m not sticking up for Siemens PLM. I no longer work there and they can take care of themselves. However, I did want to stand up for Chris Kelley and John Fox. They put themselves out there more than the majority of execs and because of that, I think they actually have a better grasp of how to improve things. IMHO, you are not disappointed in them but in the constraints that have been put upon them.

    Mark (now just a minor Solid Edge customer)

    • Hi Mark,
      OK coming from you I will change my stance to some degree on those two. But I also know some things you may not and it does concern them. We may talk privately on this if you wish and you know how to reach me.You have been frank with me for years and I can’t just disregard what you say. But you do make an allusion to the problem I labor under when looking for where to assign blame for this mess. I hear stories from a lot of people and I see the the paralysis in the community and marketing and so I know much has to be true. The problem is just who is to blame and I am on the outside looking it. However it does not matter any more and I do not care who is responsible. The fact of the matter is that no one with authority capable of dealing with this cares enough to change it. If the people who get paid to care do not why should I. In reality I don’t think Siemens cares at all about SE other than the idea that they have great tech they can use internally and control. I really think this is the sum total of their aspirations for how large SE should be and it is large enough to suit internal needs only. If something good happens after that fine but it is not a goal to be sought after. All I know is the rubber is not meeting the road and I am not the only one who feels this way.

      Good luck on whatever it is you end up doing and please keep in touch. as far as I am concerned you were one of the good guys and I hate to see you go.

  6. It really isn’t my business and I shouldnt speak too loudly considering how rotten things are in the SW world at the moment but I very much doubt anyone at Siemens has the vaguest idea how to improve things let alone any balls to ‘put themselves out’. The overwhelming impression SE give of their operation is of institutionalised indifference to their own shortcomings or if not that, that there is a self defeating gridlock between progressive and very conservative factions preventing any remedy. Its not as if they can have escaped being aware of how their performance is regarded and yet this just goes on and on, year after year whether its a feeble SE launch, a lacklustre SE university, or a token user community huddled in the basement. For a while there when things were running especially badly for SW and SE was doing some outreach it seemed as though SE fortunes might rightly brighten but that opportunity was pretty was much pissed on as soon as it could be. Even SE regulars were incredulous. Then evidently someone had a bit of a rethink and it looked like Matt Lombard might be able to bring some fresh ideas and experience to the fold after all, but now that possibility seems to have steadily eroded as well to tiny tinkering with an ‘eventual’ time frame. Who is it that obstructs any progress at SE and why would you do that? I don’t really know how that is perceived internally but for onlookers SE is rapidly becoming the midrange industry no-hoper. You wish it wasn’t but again and again it stumbles and trails the field. Its the saddle on backwards, a fat jockey or some other misfortune and we have to keep telling ourselves, ‘yeah well maybe next year, if only..’ SE is a never ending disappointment not only because of where SE comes but that nothing ever changes. Why isn’t that embarrassing enough that someone will actually do something about it?
    That has unfortunately become SE’s repute, a decent program that persistently falls short of its potential because of lousy marketing and inanimate management. That’s what I know about SE as a mid range CAD user and I bet that’s a general view. I would be willing to suggest to a potential mid range CAD customer that they check out SE but its probably only as an afterthought to mentioning DS and AD and attempting to rationalise how it is at Siemens with some benevolent excuse. How can anyone be happy with that situation? I doubt SE VARs can or do thrive on that sort of lead from Siemens. How people remain in their jobs both in marketing and higher up the food chain is a mystery to me…
    Then again I also wonder that about DS 😉

    • Hi Neil,
      Well you are a potential customer so it does matter. At least it should and would to a rational company. Here is the problem though which you are experiencing first hand for real at SW now. These big companies can’t make decisions quickly or wisely or timely. There is this insatiable bureaucracy which must be catered to and fed and people who make livings saying why things can’t be done rather than you better make it happen or your fired. And the people at the top don’t help as they perpetuate the problems by allowing this to continue. Or on Bernards case the whole thing skews sideways into never never land with no checks and balances in place. The end result however is the same. Nothing gets done and nothing will be done of value to paying customers. Dassault is messing with SW and has no clue = recipe for disaster. Siemens could care less about all these things I have mentioned = recipe not for disaster but surely for stupidity where growth is concerned. Thank heavens at least Siemens has left the developer side of SE alone so their brilliant work continues. Buy the best software you have never heard of because it is technically very capable and is going in the right direction. Do not buy it in hopes their masters will grow market share for you in an aggressive way giving you ore opportunities for work in the market place. Sadly that will stay with the nutty bird farm SW has become. Or it will until they make it impossible to stay.

  7. Today I was reading your article here:

    https://solidedging.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/marketing-and-publicity-for-siemens-plm-software-fifth-semi-annual-update/

    And I am just dumbfounded at the amount of time it is taking to institute positive change on the Siemens site. This is the online face of Solid Edge users, and it looks like it’s stuck in the late 90’s. Literally, the forum would look better on a CRT monitor from that era. WHO sees this and says “Yes, that looks good”?! It should be a kick in the ass to see how poorly represented the company is by that grey mess. Instead, I’ve heard for months about how it is held up by corporate, it is held up by product leaders, it is held up by the fact that they need to take light grey and lighter grey and turn that into a website color palette because damn if we don’t beat our freaking heads against the wall trying to make THAT one work!!!!

    I really wish I could sit the moron who came up with that website down in front of a widescreen and tell him he has to use it 4 hours a day. I’d leave some Advil for the first day, and a rope and a chair for the second…..

    • Hi Dylan,
      The reasons for why it can’t change would boggle your mind. Suffice it to say a great big ol company like Siemens does not have the money in the budget to fix this. It is a clear indicator of how they rate these things with SE in importance in the real world.

      • I really struggle to understand the dynamics that can produce zero change over a period of years. The only way I can see that would come about is if people sit in their offices in silence day in and day out and just twiddle their thumbs while telling themselves they are completely helpless. Even making allowance for the worst impotent bureaucracy that notion is hard to believe and yet that is how it appears to be. In any other company if you put a dozen enthusiastic people in a room to discuss a way forward you would fill a notebook with good workable ideas in a couple of hours and shortly thereafter have a plan to action. Think about that. Evidently the net result of bringing all of Siemens marketing resources to bear for the benefit of SE is that there is no ambition or capability to deliver anything at all. When they get severely prodded they offer opinions of how good and hard working they are. And this happens year in year out. What do people actually do at meetings where they ought to discuss monthly and yearly targets and strategies or review progress and feedback? It has to be absolutely nothing doesn’t it. Same old website regardless, probably exactly the same old brochures in the filing cabinet, no need for a community, no need to promote SE launches on the day or annual user gatherings. SE marketing exists in a time warp and this is apparent to everyone but SE. This lack of awareness can’t be restricted to just marketing though it has to be with the approval of management. Its well overdue for Siemens to freshen up their game. It really has got to a very embarrassing state of affairs. Users, VAR’s, outsiders, CAD press all seem to agree on this.
        Anyway, I best push off and tackle DS issues which are presently even worse. I really do hope though by giving some very robust feedback we will at last see some change for the better for SE enthusiasts/customers. SE deserves to do better.

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