Cadalyst Survey: Most CAD Users Today Face Significant File Collaboration Problems12 Mar, 2015 By: Cadalyst Staff
New report reveals the extent of issues related to slow data transfer, lack of file version control, unreliable data synchronization between locations, and other consequences of inadequate technologies and procedures.
The realities of today’s workplace are straining companies and their CAD users when it comes to CAD file collaboration, according to a recent Cadalyst survey, and many organizations are losing significant time and money because of outdated file management technologies and practices.
Yet the solution for many companies requires a deeper understanding of the consequences, which still remains somewhat elusive in spite of the costs, according to the recently released report, “CAD File Sharing & Collaboration,” based on the survey conducted by Cadalyst editors and sponsored by Peer Software. Survey respondents paint a picture of a CAD workforce laboring in far less than ideal circumstances, with slow data transfer, lack of file version control, unreliable data synchronization between locations, and other file-sharing issues that create risk and derail project workflows.
Of the 503 total survey respondents, nearly 80% reported their organizations rely on e-mail to share and collaborate with CAD files. Right behind e-mail is shared folders on a server at 72%. The problem with both of these methods is they lack automation for tracking and maintaining file versions as well as take up precious bandwidth and storage. The third largest method, used by nearly half of respondents (46.9%), is FTP servers — a practice that also requires manual upkeep, but does facilitate sharing of large files by those who lack access to company servers.
The survey also revealed that CAD file collaboration challenges are not limited to “inconvenient” issues such as slow network performance. In fact, significant numbers of respondents report that they experience unreliable file synchronization between locations (19.1%), problems related to file version control (46.1%), and difficulty sharing files with external organizations (39.2%). All these problems can cause organizations to waste time and money, miss deadlines, work with inaccurate and out-of-date files, and experience corrupted or lost files.
Cadalyst contributing editor Robert Green, author of the survey summary report, wrote, “In my field work as a CAD management consultant, I have observed that senior management teams generally don’t understand or appreciate the challenge that CAD users and managers face when sharing files, and therefore don’t fund the advanced tools that staff members need to work effectively. This leads users to improvise solutions using outdated tools — solutions that can create significant risks associated with using incorrect file versions, lost files, and more.”
Other survey findings include
- 74% of remote workers are less than satisfied with the performance of their wide-area networks for CAD file sharing.
- Only 15.4% of respondents report not experiencing any problems with file sharing and collaboration, leaving nearly 85% to experience one or more significant issues.
- Approximately 60% of the respondents work for companies that have one to five location(s), which means CAD file collaboration is a problem for companies large and small.
Survey results are available now from Cadalyst. The online survey was conducted to better understand the perceptions and experiences of CAD users and their companies on CAD file sharing and collaboration. To our knowledge, this is the first formal survey ever conducted and published on the subject of CAD file collaboration.
Also available is the whitepaper, The Ultimate Guide to CAD File Collaboration, also by Green. The guide identifies common file collaboration pitfalls to avoid, helps users define the issues that are costing time and money, debunks the belief that "doing nothing costs nothing," outlines the various CAD file collaboration options available today and analyzes cost-benefit parameters of each, and ultimately helps the reader determine which solution is the best fit for his or her company.