CAD Manager's Newsletter (#391)

12 Sep, 2017 By: Robert Green

CAD Management in a New Technological Era

Thanks to a host of network, IT, and other technological factors, the CAD environment is undergoing big changes. How can you face up to the evolving challenges in your workplace?

Now that Cadalyst's Summer on the Cloud is almost over, the CAD Manager's Newsletter will dedicate the fall season to exploring the fundamental realities of CAD management and the ways that new technology is changing those fundamentals. In this edition, we'll set out a broad range of responsibilities that CAD managers must grapple with, identify a few complicating factors to be aware of, and set out some strategies for dealing with the evolving CAD management landscape. Here goes.

The Fundamentals

No matter what, there are some bedrock responsibilities that CAD managers must always deal with, so let's start the conversation by defining them:

  • Facilitating production. No matter what, the work must get done, so supporting CAD production is still a CAD manager's foremost responsibility.
  • Forecasting software needs. What software tools will the organization need to best support production?
  • Hardware planning. Taking into account those changing software requirements, what workstations should the company purchase, and when?
  • Staying within budget. Since there is never an infinite amount of money to spend, the question becomes, How can the company get the most CAD value for its money?
  • Securing intellectual property. Keeping the CAD files/models safe and secure while operating in a more open digital infrastructure.
  • Standards formulation and deployment. Creating, optimizing, and rolling out standards is an essential and ongoing task.
  • Training users. Be it software or standards training, the goal is to always make users more efficient.
  • Working closely with IT. Ensuring that IT policy supports — rather than conflicts with — CAD user needs is more important than ever.

New Technology Complications

Now that we've laid out the fundamental responsibilities we all must deal with, let's look into the ways that new hardware, software, and IT technologies will make it more challenging to fulfill those responsibilities.

  • Facilitating production. Increasing complexity of any sort means more opportunities to make mistakes, and mistakes typically impede production.
  • Forecasting software needs. Software is changing rapidly: Locally installed applications are evolving into cloud software, licensing models are being affected by the move to the cloud, and software bundling or "suite"-style packaging seems to change annually. As a result, it is a lot harder to forecast what you'll need — and what it'll all cost — in the coming years.
  • Hardware planning. Workstation hardware grows more powerful every year, while costs remain about the same. In the past, we simply bought the fastest machines we could afford, and life was simple. But now the type of workstation required for cloud-based software may be entirely different than that required for heavy-duty modeling, analysis, or rendering tasks. Knowing what sort of hardware is required for each type of software user makes planning more difficult.

Read more »

Tools and Resources

IoT 101: An Introduction to the Internet of Things for CAD Professionals
Cadalyst has published a new white paper addressing the basics of the Internet of Things (IoT). This eight-page PDF is available free with registration, and contains simple advice from industry insiders that can help readers better predict the impact of the IoT on their jobs, companies, and workflows.

What's New at

AutoCAD Video Tips: The Undo Command Master Class
So you think you know all there is to know about Undo? Not so fast! Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how to have ultimate control over the Undo behavior in AutoCAD, so you can customize it for maximum productivity. Watch the video »

Sponsored: Move Past the AutoCAD Ties that Bind
From Bentley Systems: You've invested a lot in your CAD software — but don't let that cloud the reality that it's time to consider other options. Read more »

New Intel Xeon W Has Arrived
The bottom line is, the 28-core Skylake processor is coming to the workstation market and things will never be the same. Read more »

Mars Colony Competition Takes Crowdsourced Design to a New Frontier
HP and NVIDIA call on architects and engineers to envision a home for humankind on the Red Planet. Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Master the Undo Command
So you think you can Undo? There's so much more to it than just using the simple U command. Join Lynn Allen as she shows you a few of the many options in AutoCAD's Undo command — and puts you on the road to instant productivity! Watch the video »

Dell Expects Desktop Workstations to Endure, in Spite of Clouds Moving In
On its anniversary, Dell's Precision workstation business launches new models, looking to address machine learning, virtual reality, and other top trends. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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