CAD Manager's Newsletter (#395)

7 Nov, 2017 By: Robert Green

State of the CAD Industry: Questions for CAD Managers

Do your experiences in the CAD environment align with the messages that software vendors are promoting?

Thanks to my work as a writer and consultant in the world of CAD management, I receive a lot of correspondence from developers, vendors, and PR firms. They are typically keen to persuade me that their company knows the path to CAD nirvana; they have solved the pressing problems that plague CAD environments, so CAD managers can finally breathe easy. In practice, however, I talk with many CAD managers who eye these "perfect solutions" with suspicion, and take issue with the direction the CAD industry is moving. This disparity begs the question, "What do you think?"

SkepticalIn the coming weeks, I'll be attending Autodesk University and talking to lots of CAD managers to get their input. I also want to cast a wide net to get as many diverse opinions as possible, so in this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll set out a few questions, provide my perspectives on these issues, and invite you to share your thoughts via e-mail and social media; then I'll continue the conversation in the next edition. Here goes.

Question #1: Should All CAD Software Be on the Cloud?

The software industry is pushing the idea that running CAD tools on a desktop computer without an Internet connection is an old-fashioned way of working that has gone the way of the dodo bird or T. rex. They'd have us believe we should all be using cloud-based software instead.

Perspective: I've seen too many cases where connectivity is questionable, or slow wide-area networks (WANs) with pathetic bandwidth have made running CAD tools via an Internet-connected cloud untenable. There are other problematic situations too — such as remote sites where even a cell phone signal is dicey, and Wi-Fi is simply out of the question. All I know is that running software on a local machine, with no Internet connection required, continues to serve my clients well.

What's your position on this question? Should everyone switch to cloud-based software, or is locally installed software is still the way to go?

Question #2: Should Software Be Rented Instead of Purchased?

Another idea the software industry (not just CAD companies but Adobe, Intuit, etc.) is pushing is that software should simply be rented on a monthly, annual, or per-use basis rather than purchased outright and operated until an update occurs at some future date.

Perspective: Software companies make the argument that renting software leads to a lower cost of ownership as compared to purchasing the software outright. They typically quote a cost scenario over multiple years to justify their point. What can't be denied, however, is that when you quit paying rent, the software stops working. A purchased/perpetual license, in contrast, will continue running until an update to your operating system environment eventually renders it obsolete — which could be years from now.

I still run QuickBooks 2011 for my business, because it does everything I need it to do. I also have many clients running licenses of Autodesk, Bentley Systems, Dassault Systèmes, and Adobe products from as far back as 2008.

Where do you stand on the software rental question?Read more »

Tools and Resources

Cadalyst Guide: CAD on the Cloud, Today and Tomorrow
Cloud-based computing is reshaping the ways that software, hardware, and networks are acquired and deployed. It has already transformed a variety of enterprise services, but adoption of cloud CAD lags behind. What are the advantages, and the reasons for resistance? And what can CAD users expect from cloud solutions in the near future? Download the eight-page white paper from Cadalyst to learn more.

Cadalyst Guide: The Future of CAD File Formats
Today, the challenges regarding data and files for design-based industries are more diverse than they used to be — and they're evolving rapidly with the development of new storage and computing technologies. How are CAD developers approaching these challenges, and how are their strategies shaping our use of CAD data? This white paper from Cadalyst provides insights into those questions.

What's New at

Bricsys: We're Not Holding Back on DWG, Part 1
At its user conference in Paris, the company boldly commits to continued innovation and support of the file format — and the customers that rely on it — and shares the latest BricsCAD developments to prove it. Read more »

Fully Armed with Trinity of CAD, Graebert Ramps Up Battle for DWG Users
With its multi-platform CAD solution completed, the ARES developer is more determined than ever to challenge AutoCAD. Read more »

Herrera on Hardware: Are AMD CPUs Finally Back in the Workstation Game?
After a rise and fall a decade ago, AMD now looks to Zen as the means to get back into the workstation CPU business. Will the company be successful and put the pressure on Intel? It's looking that way, but the deal's not done. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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