CAD Manager's Newsletter (#396)

12 Dec, 2017 By: Robert Green

CAD Management Trends Analysis from Autodesk University 2017

A gathering of so many CAD managers in one place provides rare insights into what's happening in the world of CAD management — now and in the future.

I recently returned from Autodesk University (AU) 2017, where I had a chance to interact with about 600 CAD managers over the course of three days of meetings and classes. This year I participated in panel discussions, and also taught a variety of classes on topics ranging from managing without supervisory authority to using programming to automate software configurations. Between my class duties, offline conversations with CAD managers, show floor attendance, and talking to exhibiting vendors, I tried to form a broad opinion about the current and future status of CAD management.

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll try to share with you what I learned in hopes it will help you lay out your agenda for the coming year. Here goes.

Why AU Represents the Industry at Large

Before I dive in, I should clarify an important point. I do realize that not all CAD managers support Autodesk products. So why should a non–Autodesk user care about AU? Well, here are a few reasons:

It's where the CAD managers are. There's no larger gathering of CAD managers that I'm aware of — anywhere. Tapping into the knowledge of such a large group allows for a glimpse into broad market trends.

As goes Autodesk, so goes the industry (usually). Like it or not, Autodesk is a big company that strongly influences standard industry practices. Things like product evolution, cloud implementation strategies, licensing, and IT management structures from Autodesk tend to show up in other software platforms over time, so studying them at AU makes sense.

Management of CAD tools is surprisingly product-agnostic. When you think about use of standards, programming, and management strategies in detail, it will become apparent that managing Autodesk tools isn't much different than managing SOLIDWORKS, Bentley Systems products, or anything else. Therefore, CAD management courses at AU really are representative of CAD management at large.

AU Demographics and News

AU continued its growth this year, with 10,600 attendees. As usual at AU, attendees included a mixture of architects, engineers, designers, detailers, IT professionals, and visualization specialists from a broad spectrum of industries. What makes the CAD management courses at AU so unusual is that there is huge diversity in the audience as compared to typical Revit or Inventor classes, which cater to a much narrower slice of users. And with more than 40 unique CAD management–focused classes, a wide variety of topics were addressed.

Every year there are a handful of surprise announcements at AU that merit mention; this year, the following caught my eye. Read more »


Tools and Resources

Cadalyst Verifies Systems Benchmark Test for AutoCAD 2017 and 2018
Cadalyst Systems Benchmark creator Art Liddle has completed tests confirming that the C2015 v5.5b benchmark test can be used with AutoCAD versions 2000–2018. The Cadalyst Systems Benchmark is designed to evaluate and compare the performance of systems running full, basic AutoCAD. Test files for C2015 v5.5b are available free for download.

Live with Robert Green: Select the Right Processor and RAM for CAD, Analysis, and Visualization Workflows
Wednesday, January 10
2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT
Purchase too many processor (CPU) cores for CAD users and you're wasting money. Purchase too little RAM and you're wasting productivity. Arm yourself with the expertise presented in this webinar and you'll be able to equip any given user with the "just right" combination that delivers optimal processing power. At this live web event, you'll earn how different software tools use processor (CPU) cores, frequency boosting, and RAM, so you can select the best options to support various design and engineering workflows. And bring your questions about CAD workstations — or any other CAD management concern — for a personalized response from Robert Green! Register today.

What's New at

AutoCAD Video Tips: Convert PDF Underlays to AutoCAD Objects
You know you want it: With a click of a button you can convert PDF files to AutoCAD objects. No more tedious tracing on top of PDFs to recreate objects? It's time to celebrate! Watch the video »

BIM Connects Fragmented Collaborators on Megabridge Transportation Hub Project
Leighton Asia relies on Bentley Systems building information modeling (BIM) technology to coordinate multi-faceted, multi-contractor Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities project. Read more »

Autodesk University 2017 Highlights New Tech
Software and hardware launches and updates, plus new partnerships, are shared by Autodesk and other exhibitors at the annual user conference. Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Make Your AutoCAD Command Line Stand Out
Don't settle for a wimpy command line that is difficult to see — make it bold and clear! Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how to make your command line stand out so you won't miss a thing that AutoCAD is telling you! Watch the video »

Product Developers Will Benefit from Connected IoT and PLM, Arena Predicts
On their own, the Internet of Things (IoT) and product lifecycle management (PLM) each offer opportunities for product design professionals. What insights can result when the two systems are brought together? Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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