CAD Manager's Newsletter (#397)

9 Jan, 2018 By: Robert Green

Resolve to Prepare with a New Year's CAD Strategy Session

In order to make the best decisions about which CAD changes to respond to — and how — catch your breath after the holidays and plan for the year ahead.

Well it's another New Year! If you're like me, you take a little time at the start of each year to think about how the CAD industry is changing, and consider how to prepare for those changes. Many times, trying to predict CAD industry evolutions can seem like guesswork, but 2018 offers an unusually well-defined set of issues. Even so, it's not always simple to figure out what you should do to prepare for the changes ahead.

To help me determine what action items are required at the start of each year, I analyze information from a variety of sources, including:

  • interviews conducted with software industry personnel
  • experience with my clients
  • feedback from readers of the CAD Manager's Newsletter
  • input from the CAD Managers Unite! Facebook group
  • conversations with hundreds of IT and CAD managers at in-person industry events throughout the year.

Here, I'll strive to provide some background information for the key areas of action, identify specific action items to complete, and wrap up each topic with my conclusions. Here goes.

Software Licensing Changes

As industry leader Autodesk has moved from a perpetual licensing model (you buy it and install it, then the software keeps running) to a subscription/rental licensing model (you pay them a fee on an ongoing basis, and the software stops running if you don't renew), the option to save money by continuing to run old software is disappearing. (To be clear, it isn't just Autodesk that is moving from perpetual to subscription, but Autodesk's changes impact more CAD managers than those of any other company.)

This change in licensing policy brings up a few important questions, including the following:

  • How does the change to subscription/rental affect my software costs?
  • Does my company really need the latest version of a given software product, or could I just keep running my old software?
  • Do all my users require fully functional software, or could I reduce seat count to control costs?
  • Should individual licenses be turned into shared network licenses to further reduce seat count and control costs?
  • Are there compatible products/apps some of my users could transition to, rather than licensing expensive full-featured software tools for everyone?

It doesn't take a crystal ball to look ahead and see that CAD software licensing will become even more complex, and costs will increase further; those changes are already under way. Running old software and/or reducing seat count can be a very viable cost containment strategy.

Action items:

  • Answer all the questions above honestly by conferring with your users and management team.
  • Envision your lowest-cost software licensing scenarios, and be prepared to implement them.
  • Keep everyone informed about how the licensing situation may change operations — ensure that these changes will not be a surprise to anyone.

Conclusion: It is far better to think through your options and costs now, so you're prepared should your management team raise objections about software cost increases. Read more »

Tools and Resources

Applied Search Technology Launches Free Version of Design Search Tool
Once users create a rough model in their CAD system, CADFind3D can find all matching parts based on their shape and size and list them in similarity order, the company reports. Parts can then be loaded back into the user's CAD system for review, reuse, or modification. CADFind3D is currently available for SOLIDWORKS; interfaces to other systems are under development.

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.

What's New at

AutoCAD Video Tips: Import PDF Files as AutoCAD Objects
You asked for it, and you finally got it: The No. 1 item on the AutoCAD Wish List has been granted in AutoCAD 2017. Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how easy it is to bring a PDF file into AutoCAD and convert it to AutoCAD objects (as well as some tricks for doing so). Watch the video »

Herrera on Hardware: Which CAD Workstation Buyers Can Benefit from Threadripper?
An analysis of AMD's Ryzen Threadripper illustrates why a workstation CPU is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Read more »

Siemens Builds Out Industrial Digitalization Support Network
At Innovation Day 2017, Siemens showcases progress toward its goal of equipping enterprises with applications powered by its MindShare Internet of Things technology. Read more »

Bricsys: We're Not Holding Back on DWG, Part 3
And the company is not holding back on BIM, either, as evidenced by updates to its dedicated module for building information modeling and the Bricsys 24/7 cloud-based collaboration tool. Read more »

ONU's Conversion Platform Speeds Models from CAD to Virtual Reality
The newly launched ONU 3DLite converts CAD models to lightweight polygonal meshes for use in virtual and augmented reality experiences, as well as online and mobile applications. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

Add comment

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!