CAD Manager's Newsletter (#348)

22 Jul, 2015 By: Robert Green

The Rising Resistance to Cloud-Based CAD

It's in software vendors' best interest to retain control of their customers' CAD software and data — but what about the users that rely on that software?

CAD managers are frequently forced to cope with technological change, because it impacts the CAD tools we support. And for the past few years, cloud-based CAD has been pitched as change that will revolutionize CAD workflows, so CAD managers clearly have reason to be concerned about how this technology will alter the CAD ecosystem. However, in the past year I've noticed a trend among my clients — increasingly, they're perceiving cloud-based CAD not as the answer to their workplace challenges, but as a source of problems.

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll start my discussion of why resistance to cloud-based CAD technology is growing, and explore some key business trends that are limiting cloud adoption. Here goes.

The Push for Centralization of CAD

Think about the following highly touted technology trends for a moment:

  • CAD software rental (the software is on your machine but the license is turned on/off via the cloud)
  • Hosted applications (the software is not installed on your machine; it is located at the software vendor's data center instead)
  • Design data stored in cloud data repositories.

Can you spot the common thread in these trends? It can be summarized in one word: centralization.

In this new world of CAD proposed by vendors, less and less software and data will be under your control, and the software and data storage companies will become more and more powerful. The idea is that your software won't be yours anymore, and your data won't even reside on your company server.

Who Benefits from This Change?

This centralized model of CAD use obviously benefits the software and cloud vendors greatly (because it allows them to charge for their software and servers on an ongoing basis), but it also gives them ultimate control over your CAD system — they can disconnect you from your applications and data unless you keep paying them.

On the customer side, however, the CAD managers, users, and company executives I talk with are growing ever more skeptical of this centralized CAD concept, and market data shows that movement toward cloud storage and software rental is proceeding much, much more slowly than analysts had predicted (for examples, see "Despite Marketing Hype, CAD Users Adopt New Technologies Cautiously"). Furthermore, recent moves by software companies (such as Microsoft, Intuit, and Autodesk, to name a few) to phase out perpetual licenses (those that continue to run on the installed machine indefinitely) in favor of annual subscription rental models show they are trying to force the issue. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Resource Monitor for Weakest-Link Benchmarking

Sometimes we spend so much time digging into new programs and features that we forget the little gems that have been installed on our systems for years. One such slick tool is the unassuming Microsoft Windows Resource Monitor.

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!

:: Resources

E-SPECS Publishes Building Information Modeling (BIM) Specification White Paper
E-SPECS, a provider of specification automation solutions that extract product and material requirements from Autodesk Revit drawings, has published a white paper about specification writing best practices. An Introduction to BIM Integrated Architectural Specifications discusses how to use the company's specification automation solutions, find the correct master specifications, and eliminate specification errors. The white paper is available for download after registering on the company's website.

:: Events

VisualARQ 1.9, BIM Architectural Software for Rhino
July 29, 2015
11 a.m. PT
This webinar will cover the building information modeling (BIM) features VisualARQ adds to Rhino. Read more »

Introduction to Ideate Sticky
July 29, 2015
11:30 a.m. PT
This webinar will proivde a closer look at Ideate Sticky, which enables users to link Excel files into Revit projects. Read more »

Work More Efficiently in Evolve
July 29, 2015
2 p.m. ET
In this webinar, solidThinking's resident Evolve expert, Darren Chilton, will introduce attendees to tips and tricks to model as efficiently as possible. Topics covered in this 20-minute session include creating and using hotkeys, defining and using grids, and more. Read more »

The CONNECT Edition: The Common Modeling Environment CP
July 30, 2015
11 a.m. ET
Join David Huie for this Bentley Systems webinar that demonstrates how a common modeling environment can provide a connected user experience, allow the inclusion of detailed spatial context within models, and enable users to work with point clouds and 3D models to understand real-world conditions within the design environment. Read more »

Managing Product Changes
August 4, 2015
11 a.m. ET
CIMdata, a product lifecycle management (PLM) strategic management consulting and research firm, will host this webinar to provide guidance on how companies can best manage change processes and the associated data so that they can reduce costs and other adverse impacts. 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

Video: Grating Techniques for AutoCAD Plant 3D Users
In this IMAGINiT Tricks tutorial, presenter Wyatt Schurkamp demonstrates a variety of techniques for creating grating in AutoCAD Plant 3D, ranging from standard methods to a less conventional approach. Watch the video »

Video: Embed an Image File in AutoCAD
Join Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen as she shows you how to embed an image file so it becomes part of the drawing. Watch the video »

First Look Review: HP Z440 Workstation
Desktop model offers excellent price-to-performance ratio for CAD users. Read more »

First Look Review: Maingear Quantum F131
Deskside tower brings a unique form factor and high performance to the table. Read more »

First Look Review: Dell Precision 5810
This solid performer offers high-quality engineering and excellent rendering performance. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

Add comment

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition