Solid Edge and Inventor Pro HSM 2017 User Groups

Much to my amazement today I go to the Solid Edge Siemens forum and for the first time ever see a professional looking page. http://community.plm.automation.siemens.com/t5/Solid-Edge-User-Community/ct-p/solid-edge takes you there. My main reason for going there however was to promote the upcoming first ever Cincinnati user group for Solid Edge. I happen to think that user groups are a value to local users in many ways. Unfortunately the promises made by John Miller at SEU 2015 do not appear to have any support to speak of from official Siemens auspices and it looks like it is primarily a local VAR and user interest entity. I have waited for some official information to be forwarded to me and none has arrived so today I will give the link to the group and talk about why you should go. First off though http://community.plm.automation.siemens.com/t5/Cincinnati-EdgeGroup/gp-p/CincinnatiEdgeGroup is the site to the group.

I have always felt that user groups benefit primarily users in the beginning. They can network to find mentors and talent for hire and work for hire among local people and businesses. Your peers will be a real source of help and information and contacts that VAR’s and Siemens and SE will never be. Forward looking companies like Solid Works used to be before the corporate Francophile era began realized this and built a user group network that helped in serious ways to gain them the #1 spot in mid range MCAD. Over time sellers of software benefit from user associations and SW is proof of this. Today it would be harder to benefit from this compared to years ago due to resistance to having to change software of use. With a much more mature market it now boils down to who can you steal existing users from not how do you find vast new sources of new users. In this regard I am sad to say that SE is losing this race based on users in the existing Huntsville user group for SE. Ashland Hot Water heaters and Hyco Hydraulics are two companies that used to use SE who have been bought out and the new owners use SW. The power of an established user network and base once again proving it’s effectiveness against those who do not subscribe to this paradigm. These two companies were a fair percentage of the SE users that showed up to the Huntsville group and they were interested and supportive and now no more.

It is a thankless task for an individual to be a leader of a user group in many ways. Perhaps the worst single thing is to be one and work to get people there and very few show up. It kills enthusiasm quickly for something that should be common sense for local users but alas is not. SO I urge you local users get behind this effort and be there. It will benefit you.

One of the reasons I switched to Hagerman for Inventor was the the idea of local physical support if needed and local user groups sponsored by the same. I must admit to being a bit saddened by what I see so far here and even though I have offered to work with forming an HSM local user group to date there is nothing much to speak of. After dealing with Siemens I have determined that I am not going to beg for these user things to happen any more. Either the VAR will or wont and it is not my job to pursue them and cajole or shame them into doing something. I have some sympathy for VARS in this area though and cant blame them as much as I blame the software authoring companies for user groups demise. In the case of Siemens they do not care if SE goes right straight to you know where. It has been proven that if you care and want SE to succeed you will be run off. So I suspect affiliated VAR’s who are not stupid see the handwriting on the wall and refuse to spend money and time that will not yield positive results. I predict the Cincinnati user group will be the only new one this year and if this nonsense keeps up may be the last ever and it being some what short lived. User group networks can’t survive or even begin if the corporate sponsors do not pursue it.

The Autodesk VAR’s are faced with another big problem and if it has not dawned on them yet it will soon. How does a software company like Autodesk or Dassault eliminate a huge demand upon their profits? Well I think the decision has been made in these two places to jettison the whole or much of the VAR network over time and replace it with subscription based markets. IF they can which I hope not. If enough people buy into this subscription thing and become captive, support entities like VAR’s are no longer needed. Users cant leave and so you can degrade support as an un-needed expense and replace it all with on line forums where many are growing accustomed to going for answers anyway. So for these Autodesk VAR’s like Hagerman who have had a past record of community involvement begin to back off and I can’t blame them. Now mind you all this is just common sense as I see it and I have no real knowledge of corporate decisions made in this area. But I can see results and project forward. Just like manufacturing will never employ as much as it used to even if it pumps out ten time the products because of automation. Subscription is the robot that will get rid of overhead in the software world as over time VAR’s would be relegated to far lesser importance in this world. Something that oh say Piranha hostile investor groups would like to see to enhance short term profitability. Once these things are started it will be hard to reverse even when the Piranhas have left.

8 responses to “Solid Edge and Inventor Pro HSM 2017 User Groups

  1. Dave-
    It is difficult to rely on VAR to hold a user group meeting. The biggest point of contention is that the VAR will, more than likely, share the territory with other VARs and they compete for customers. It would be nice if this wasn’t the truth and that VARs could work together in this regards. You most likely won’t get that kind of collaboration between competing VARs.
    That is why you need to have either a strong user base that can pull from the software OEM- a true user group. Or have a totally OEM sponsored user group- which often turns into the marketing arm of the OEM and not truly a user forum. SW World is prime example of this.

    It’s really difficult to hit a happy medium when you are dealing with a direct and channel sales environment.

    • Hi Ryan,
      We found that if the rules were spelled out ahead of time that these were not sales meetings they did not become so. Saratech and Swoosh Technologies were the two VAR’s involved in the Huntsville group. They gave door prizes and a brief intro to themselves and that was it. They stayed in the back of the room and would talk to anyone who wanted to talk to them but they were otherwise quite unobtrusive. Of course that was under Newbury and Cooper who made known these were the rules and also some inside of Solid Edge HQ which also made that clear. It has to come in any case from corporate no matter what. A big user base means nothing if users have no way to find each other. This is where VAR and corporate user lists are irreplaceable. It is true that without serious corporate help it will not happen. SE sent out roughly 700 direct mailers to customers and listed me as contact information. That way it was a user in charge and they did not reveal any user lists to be swiped by anyone. It took three mailers before the first meeting to get the ball rolling. It is not a problem at all to do IF the OEM is on board with the right attitude. If they are not forget it. Today I don’t think the creation of a viable user group network with Siemens controlled SE is possible. They do not care and will not make it happen.

  2. I quite like the new look. Slightly more blank space than I would like but the refresh is welcome. Kind of daring in comparison to the previous one. It seems to be the whole Siemens web edifice got a spring clean for the better as well.
    Maybe someone read my comments about Siemens just taking up space waiting to die and actually went away and did something about it. 😉
    I hope the trend continues.

    The trouble I have still is SolidEdge is still hidden away. Siemens need to make SolidEdge more obvious and immediately accessible. I am sure its nice to have Siemens present all of their wares and activities fanning out from one Global Website but unless you actually know about SolidEdge already I don’t think people are any likelier to find it even with a makeover.

    If you visit any other CAD vendor it will only be a few clicks to land you in the middle of their universe. Currently its like – go in the main door read the board in the foyer, guess what you want must be related to a department which it appears to be down the end of the hall, then down a flight of stairs and then two lefts and through the second fire door, knock 3 times slowly and 2 times quickly on the unlabelled door to the right and hopefully that’s where you can find SolidEdge – but only on Tues and Thurs between 11 and 2….

    This just isn’t going to produce results. SolidEdge needs its own conspicuous identity or space. Put is on its own website with its own culture. Link back to other Siemens activities by all means but let it breathe for itself.
    Let it be dynamic and engaging just like the web presence of its competitors.
    The monolithic corporate portfolio style is not where people are at these days even if it is presented with cool and aplomb. Readily discoverable tools/niches and interaction with likeminded individuals as enabled by the internet is where we are. Ideas and awareness of products cross pollinate with an active user community. People readily swarm over something appetising if its out in the world and available. Although its good to see this refresh come through IMO Siemens still need to make a shift in awareness about the global market and how to move ahead with /in it.

    • Hi Neil,
      I am amazed this even happened. They had a budget, Big Ol Siemens that is for the web site and it was blown on setting it up part way and then that was that. To go further requires meeting and meetings and meetings so in truth as it works in Siemens time this is blazing speed. SE is going to stay hidden I am afraid and common sense does not enter into the picture. It is the red headed step child thing you know. Promotion of SE is not a desirable end result and this combined with the Hemorrhage of qualified people leaving SE the die is cast. It is worse than many know and quite serious. What others do does not matter to a company that does not care.

      • Dave,
        Do you know if Siemens is perceived to have a problem with the marketing of all its activities? i.e. if you are in the electric trains dept or white-ware dept are you also hidden away and segregated from your customers and straight jacketed by the monolithic approach? It may be Siemens is severely disadvantaging themselves in the markets because its whole approach is well outdated. Perhaps all aspects of their business need a similar liberation not just SolidEdge…

        I would think it would be better to rearrange their current web presence so that they have say half a dozen portals to their main activities rather than one and corporate Siemens takes a step back. Children at the front (including redheads) and proud parents at the back.
        Call them Siemens Transport, Siemens Electronics, Siemens Software or whatever. They can feature the Siemens logo/branding prominently but have their own vibe tuned to match the customer and wares. If a housewife is looking for a new dishwasher she doesn’t want to be presented with something that looks like a pitch for a bulldozer or an x-ray machine.

        They can allow NX and SolidEdge to be different sub portals within the software portal as well because they serve different audiences. Their activities can all be tastefully presented within a Siemens umbrella but serve everyone interests better and more immediately. Perhaps if this a corporate wide problem they can find the folding stuff to complete the refresh mission particularly if they want to lift earning in a time of declining economic activity. Really this money they should have been spending all along the way.

        As a closing comment I would like to encourage those at Siemens who are working behind the scenes to improve things. Good start keep it rolling. 🙂 When we finally have an easily accessed SolidEdge website for folk to bite into (including disaffected SW customers) then perhaps Siemens could come up with an apology for their inadvertent mis-step in clamping down on an unsanctioned outbreak of pride and enthusiasm and ask a few employees to come back.

      • Neil,
        Siemens is that inept. Unless you were to see an associated picture of an MRI unit or some electrical switch gear or a train you would never know what they were trying to sell at that moment. They love the name Siemens and have not determined that “Siemens What” might be important to. Of all the major corporations I am personally aware of they are the worst. These people are so hide bound and bureaucratically compromised by meetings drones that common sense is out the door. This has been a topic among many SE users in the past and we all see it but we do not run the train. Siemens is not interested in change in any area or way and is the most ossified corporate entity it has been my misfortune to have been personally involved with. I truly am amazed the web site was given a make over and figure it will be another six or seven years before another alteration passes the meetings gauntlet.

  3. Dave,
    We used to have a very robust user group in the Dayton/Cincinnati area years ago where 20+ would attend regularly. Most of the time they were held at the Moto-Man facility in West Carrollton (south of Dayton). But those died out over ten years ago, primarily due to the gentleman at Moto-Man (Rob I think) who organized it, leaving the company. I wanted to take the reigns, but our offices didn’t have the large (and free) presentation room that Moto-Man had at the time. So blame me! 🙂

    Ryan
    Budde Sheet Metal Works, Inc.

    • Hi Ryan,
      Hey, answer this for me. I know there were some really large user groups years ago for SE and they have all it seems gone away. In dealing with many SE users over the years I have found them to be quite insular and you had to dig them out of their shells to get anywhere with the idea of an SE community. Once they were dug out they acted like real participating people but getting there was a chore. Is this in your opinion a direct result of SE being bought out and put into UGS hands like Bruce Boes who then killed the Summits years ago? Is this what the users have been trained to do by negligence from parent companies who could care less if there was a user community?

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