Cloud CAD impact on product data integration

Cloud CAD impact on product data integration


Business Advantage Group, a market research firm published results of survey conducted in November 2015 related to the adoption and growth of cloud-based CAD systems. The information about the research was published by 3D CAD World here. I didn’t find a link to survey itself.

The following passage can give you an interesting piece of information.

In the near future, many more firms will be embracing cloud-based CAD systems, with adoption of the CAD delivery method set to grow by 70 percent in the year ahead and by 164 percent within the next five years. That’s the finding of a survey conducted in November 2015 by the Business Advantage Group, a market research and consultancy firm that follows CAD and product lifecycle management trends.

The survey found that 11 percent of respondents currently use a CAD system that resides on vendor servers; aka, in the cloud. By this year’s end, around 19 percent say they expect to be designing with a cloud-based CAD system. That number should rise to 29 percent within the next five years, according to the survey.

The definition of so called “cloud CAD” is the one that was debated by several companies in the past year. You can read one of my articles here. Two positions of CAD system running fully in a browser and cloud-based software that requires some desktop or mobile application installation.

3D CAD World article gives a simple definition of cloud CAD – a CAD system that resides on vendor servers; aka, in the cloud. While vendors can disagree about specific architecture aspects of cloud CAD implementation, the one thing that struck me is that it means design data will be moving to servers related to cloud CAD software. This transition will be changing current pattern of data lifecycle in a company. Currently most of CAD integration software is running on the desktop and extensively using existing company infrastructure to integrated CAD data within organization. The new model will require new type of information integration and processing.

These changes in data integration technique will affect product lifecycle processes. Think about simulation software or BOM management. These two disciplines are heavily dependent on CAD data. My hunch, companies spent lot of resources integrating current infrastructure with desktop processes. New cloud CAD will require to rethink integration of data and communication.

What is my conclusion? Migration of CAD systems to the cloud is interesting and important trend. In the past we’ve seen how expensive CAD workstations were replaced by PC and Windows systems. It was an infrastructure change, but it kept the paradigm of desktop computers. Cloud CAD is changing the way data is processed and exchanged between people inside of organization and with external suppliers and partners. New applications and technologies will be required to support this change. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain.

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at


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