Trouble In Paradise

I find myself in two worlds where CAD is concerned right now. I know Solid Edge well and for the work I have it is so powerful. I also have Inventor which I don’t know much at all and so suffer from the newbie problems that make things seem worse than they are. But I still cling to the idea of Synchronous Tech and the concept of direct editing as found in SE to be the best out there.

There were reasons though for my move to Inventor Pro HSM and this week gave me pause to think about one aspect in particular. On one side I see a growing commitment to people who make things for a living from design to build and on the other I see a rudderless ship adrift. Have you ever read seemingly unrelated news bits and come to conclude based upon the evidence that what is going on is not good? Companies do in spite of a desire not to talk about directions or problems telegraph this information anyway from things they can’t hide.

What started this today was the latest issue of UPFront Ezine. I noticed that the ad I was accustomed to seeing there for Solid Edge was absent this week and I had been used to seeing it in every issue. I got to thinking of other things related to this. Here is one.

” Solid Edge University
Early bird discount extended
$100 off through July 31st

Dear David,

Great news: the early bird deadline for Solid Edge University has been extended, so you can still save $100 if you register by July 31st.
Save even more, when you register two more of your colleagues from your company, because the third registration is FREE. The 3 for 2 conference pass allows 3 people from the same company to attend for the cost of 2. At early bird rates, that’s a significant savings.
Join us in Cincinnati, October 26–28th and network with Solid Edge developers and other Solid Edge users, and meet with our market leading application partners at this annual user conference. The agenda includes several hands-on workshops and multiple tracks for Solid Edge users of all levels, from beginners to advanced users, and the opportunity to get certified in Solid Edge free (a $99 value).
Register today!”

Market leading application partners? The plethora of them and among them jewels like Geometric? PR dudes are funny even when they are trying to be serious but I digress.

What do you do when you are not selling something and you have committed to it based upon projections? You offer a discount and I figure that the SE guys are finding out a few things. They have in John Miller a leader who has yet to make a policy statement or clarify direction. He has not communicated one time to users in almost a whole year now and what has been attributed to him on the BBS was not written by him mark my words and prove me wrong. So we have Solid Edge this wonderful thing being run by a guy so disconnected from the product he is over it is unreal. People remember Karsten and what was going on under him. They also have eyes and ears and see and hear nothing of value or excitement since Siemens ran him off and put a place holder in. I bet the numbers are frightening and panic is beginning to set in. The big annual yearly event self destructing right there in front of us.

Talking to the Autodesk guys to try and figure out why there is no direct import option for .par and .asm for Solid Edge. There is for all the other bigger CAD programs. It costs roughly $300,000.00 to create import capabilities for Inventor. SE of them all is not there. So I think of two reasons off hand for this. Autodesk fears how good SE is and does not want to make interaction between the two easy that could cost them users when they see how cool SE is. SE has such a small market share that it is not worth it for Autodesk to do it. Now in spite of SE trotting out some make believe numbers about their market share I have to conclude they lied and Autodesk does not have an importer because there are not enough SE users. NX is in there so we know Autodesk is willing to port to Siemens software.

It is a small world in some ways. People move from company to company but stay within their area of expertise. Talking to a manufacturing engineer employed by Autodesk in Nashville last week and as an ex UGS employee he was quite familiar with the idea that the UGS cabal hates and would like to dismember SE. He almost finished sentences for me. Some ideas have evidence to support them and this idea of corporate sabotage of SE keeps coming up where ever I go. Yet another example.

The public face of SE is in complete dis-function mode and the idiocy of a roll out for SE ST8 at PLM World announced just before the event took place is still hard to grasp. I bet not one SE user was at the SE Roll Out except for employees and they DO NOT COUNT.

They have been agonizing over this certified SE expert user thing and as far as I know after a couple of years this is still not complete.

I add all this up and I see at the least a division being seriously curtailed with bad results for users and what I really lean towards is this. Siemens wants to junk SE but like Dassault with SW can’t afford to do it right now. This year had the fewest major improvements for SE as far as I am concerned since I started with them in ST1. You take something you don’t like and choke it enough it becomes pretty debilitated and Siemens/UGS has a choke hold on these guys.

I hate to see all this but by the same token as the evidence continues to accumulate the wisdom of having fled to Autodesk where there is a future and Mr Big does care and there is a trained labor market and work available looks better with time. The very best value in integrated CADCAM is the sole possession of Autodesk in the form of Inventor Pro HSM and while I hate having to learn yet another CAD program it will be worth it just to feed that wonderful CAM program attached to it. Can you tell my days run like they are supposed to now?

By the way, if you are an SE user and can make it to SEU15 do so. It is the best price in the industry for this kind of event you will see and some very talented people from Huntsville who DO care about your success and needs will be there. My experience is that they pay far greater attention to attendee input than from any other source. I expect to be there and perhaps I will see you there. It may well be the last one before the tentacles of PLM World kill this off again and for this reason alone merits your consideration as under John Miller who could care less once it dies it will never happen again. I can assure you that once these clowns get ahold of it the cost to attend will triple and you will have to be resigned to being shoved off into the red headed bastard step child corner again if you do go.

Hard to imagine the fortunes of SE could turn so dire in such a short time.

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