CAD Manager's Newsletter (#355)

11 Nov, 2015 By: Robert Green

Prepare a CAD Management Budget for 2016

It's time to sit down and plan your monetary needs for next year.

"I'm a CAD manager, not an accountant!" I've heard this statement from perturbed CAD managers for years. My response to this objection has always been, "Well, unless you want to be a CAD manager with no budget, you'd better think like an accountant at least once a year."

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll walk you through the steps to create a thorough but concise budget. Here goes.

Critical Note for Autodesk Customers

Starting next year, you'll no longer be able to purchase perpetual licenses of Autodesk software. (The cut-off date for most standalone products is January 31, 2016; for product suites, it is July 31, 2016.) It is crucial that you budget for Maintenance Subscription for any perpetual licenses you wish to maintain; failure to do so could cost your company a lot.

For more information, see my recent newsletter articles discussing these new policies: "Autodesk Software Goes Subscription-Only in 2016" and "Autodesk VP Explains Software Licensing Policy Changes."

A Budget is a Needs Analysis

A concise budget should present a broad picture of everything you need to keep your CAD users well equipped, supported, and trained. Far from a quick list you knock out in 10 minutes, a needs analysis requires some real thought and computation on your part. Expect to spend some time on this task over the next several weeks to make sure you have everything accounted for. I've found several short budgeting sessions always yields better results than a single cram session. Here is a checklist of the items you should make sure to include during your first budget session:

Software: New licenses, subscriptions, upgrades, crossgrades, web-only applications, cloud storage applications, etc. Your challenge is to think about the growth of your firm for the next year, so you can right-size your software budget. Include everything you think might be needed, including your worst-case software needs — it's always better to come in under budget later than miss something now.

Hardware: New workstations, monitors, printers and more. Even if your IT department handles hardware budgeting, don't leave it to them to have final say about what you need. Your job is to consider your company's growth, determine how many old machines you must retire, and then compute a reasonable hardware budget for the upcoming year. For the purposes of budgeting, I recommend this base workstation configuration for most CAD users: Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Automate Common Jobs with Windows Task Scheduler

In the last CAD Manager's Toolbox, I introduced you to a synchronization tool from Microsoft called SyncToy. This free tool gives you all sorts of capabilities for creating your own synchronized backups on a portable drive at your desktop. Its one deficiency is that it doesn't include a utility to schedule periodic backups.

The good news is that you can use Windows Task Scheduler to schedule an operation for any type of software utility that can run from a command line, including SyncToy. Here I'll illustrate how to do so with SyncToy using Windows 7 Pro (Windows 8 and Windows 10 look slightly different). 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

Free Introduction to 3D Technology Report Offered by SPARView
The editors of SPARView and the SPAR 3D Expo and Conference published the "Five Ways 3D Technologies Can Improve Your Business" report, which explains the benefits of 3D technology in a commercial setting, including the AEC, forensic, and security industries. The report is available free for visitors who register on the company's website.

:: Events

Autodesk University 2015
December 1–3, 2015
Las Vegas, Nevada
Autodesk University is the U.S. Autodesk user conference for attendees from a range of professions and industries that include design, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and digital arts. 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

Cadalyst Labs Report: Color Wide-Format Printers for CAD
These multifunction machines produce beautiful color prints to show off your work, plus black-and-white plots for day-to-day design checks. Read more »

Dealing with Errors in AutoCAD Programs
Errors are bound to happen, but it's simple to incorporate error handling in your VB.NET and VBA code. Read more »

Graebert Seeks to Conquer the Device Divide
The newly updated ARES Touch is just one facet of Graebert's mission to make full-featured CAD available on every type of platform. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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Re: CAD Manager's Newsletter (#355)
by: MorganTabitha
November 20, 2015 - 12:25am
So, I really can use Windows Task Scheduler to schedule an operation for any type of software utility that can run from a command line, including SyncToy? If It's true, I gonna try.

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