CAD Manager's Newsletter (#339)

11 Mar, 2015 By: Robert Green

A Data Management Wake-Up Call for All CAD Managers

Network technologies are changing with the times, and your data management strategy must follow suit — or it will put your company at risk.

Way back in 1989, the company I worked for realized that we had to do a better job of file management — we were just dropping all of our 5,000 CAD files into network folders. We'd already lost some files and had written over others, and we were feeling the pain of having to recreate that lost work. We implemented a data management system and never looked back.

Fast-forward 26 years, and I can't believe how many companies still manage their valuable file assets using — you guessed it — simple network file folders. And perhaps even worse, many IT departments think that rudimentary backup procedures are all they need to manage CAD data.

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll explain how managing your CAD data in simple folders is going to become much more complicated as wide-area network (WAN) and cloud architectures become common. To help you understand the risks involved, I'll argue that CAD managers must be integrally involved with data management, and list some action items you can take to make sure your company moves toward ever-better data management as things change. Here goes.

Basic Data Truths

One reality we all deal with is that our companies produce a lot of CAD data each year. And as your company completes an ever-increasing number of projects, you must manage an ever-larger mass of extremely valuable data.

The second truth is that this data won't manage itself. In fact, if you let users manage data on their own, you'll have a huge mess on your hands in no time. Now I don't mean to imply that users are incapable of managing their own data; I simply mean that when everyone is left to their own devices there aren't any standards, and that lack of consistency inevitably leads to data being misplaced.

Of course, the data you manage is diverse in nature (think CAD models, calculation spreadsheets, PDFs, renderings, etc.), but if any of it disappears your company will suffer. This leads to the third truth: The lack of data management strategy can be a severe liability for your company that could result in hugely expensive losses of data.

Action Item #1: Make sure you understand the risk of not having a solid data management plan for your CAD files, and communicate that risk to users and management alike so everyone is on alert. Should the worst ever happen, at least you'll be on record as having sounded the alarm.Read more »


:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

TBM Conference Publishes IT Management Videos

If you function as an IT manager, or are just interested in IT management, you need good information about how to plan a long-term IT strategy — but that can be hard to find. A great resource for this type of information is available to us all at the Technology Business Management (TBM) Conference web site. The TBM Conference is an event similar to Autodesk University or SolidWorks World, except that it focuses on a general IT/networking audience.

While the TBM Conference doesn't talk about CAD, it does preach the concept of using technology to further a company's business goals. That concept is increasingly applicable to CAD managers, since the tools we manage are more intertwined with network and Internet infrastructure than ever. I've found the TBM Conference to be a very thought-provoking resource — almost like TED Talks for IT folks. Read more »

Do you have a helpful tip, recommendation, or question for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at If I use your tip in the newsletter, you'll receive a Cadalyst prize!


:: Events

Desktop Wide-Format Scanning
March 19, 2015
1 p.m. ET
In this half-hour educational webinar, Contex will provide attendees with tips and tricks to get the most out of their wide-format scanning solutions. Read more »

Vectorworks Design Summit
April 27–29, 2015
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This Nemetschek Vectorworks conference will include product training, best practices, networking, entertainment, and more. Read more »

Revit Technology Conference (RTC) Europe
October 29–31, 2015
Budapest, Hungary
Those who attend the third European RTC will hear from experts in the field and learn tips and tricks, practical methods, and fresh ideas. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


:: What's New at

Give the AutoCAD Ribbon a Second Chance
Attention all you Ribbon Rebels! If you're still fighting the ribbon and using the AutoCAD Classic workspace, it's time to make a change! Watch the video »

New Expectations Drive Development of PDM Collaboration Features
Product data management software is evolving with the incorporation of on-demand cloud, analytics, mobile, and social elements. Read more »

First Look Review: Lenovo ThinkStation P500
Tower workstation offers a good balance of price and performance. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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