CAD Systems Comparison. A View From Onshape…

CAD Systems Comparison. A View From Onshape…

Do you remember Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for software? Just a few years ago, Gartner was still running it for PLM and CAD vendors. Gartner doesn’t do it anymore. My hunch, in the current state of vendors development, it is hard very hard to pull a clean comparison in 4 distinct quadrants. Vendors are too big and the portfolio is very diversified.

But, it looks like Onshape is filling the gap now. Yesterday, I attended the webinar by Onshape – Comparing CAD systems. The webinar is available online, you can listen and draw your opinion.

Here are few slides I captured. Tell me what you think.

Few interesting comments. Autodesk Fusion360 and Siemens Solid Edge are absent from the comparison list. I asked about Fusion360 during the webinar. According to Onshape, they don’t see Fusion360 users coming to migrate to Onshape. I can see that point.

I found a comparison of Onshape and Fusion 360 on G2 Crowd website. Check it our here.

What is my conclusion? Onshape CAD in the cloud (browser) and embedded data managements are two clear and unique differentiators among many other features. People might have a different opinion about CAD running in the browser. But, Onshape data management is very much unique and can give a lot of advantages for the long run. Onshape calls the cost as one of the reasons companies are looking for a new CAD. Onshape subscription model is probably not very much different from other CAD vendors today. Can unique Onshape technology bring more value for the same price? This is an interesting question I’d like to find the answer. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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  • Lou

    Interesting. I believe Onshape is trying to show that they have more or less caught up with the mid market tools on basic functionality, and their big value proposition is the built in data mgt.

    Rather than comparing features, I’d be more interested in an analysis of which tools are still getting significant development investment, and which are at a standstill. The biggest thing Onshape has going is that it is continuing a fast development pace. Maybe others too? Forget features, if a tool is not progressing, it is a bad long term investment.

  • beyondplm

    Hi Lou, Thanks for the comment! Features is the biggest gap between Onshape, which is 7 years old and Solidworks / Inventor / Solid Edge – all these tools are 20-25 years old (they represent a status quo in a mainstream MCAD (nobody likes to call them mid market tools). The core development effort for SW/IN/SE was done probably 10 years ago. Although, even today Solidworks is adding nice features from time to time. Which doesn’t mean that new development isn’t coming. The dev trajectory is different for all 3 brands, in my view. Autodesk Inventor is getting lot of push in my view. The interesting is a balance between Fusion360 and Inventor. At the same time, Solidworks is in full speed of xDesign development. So far, many moving parts. Onshape unique features in data management and, in my view, they are trying to find a critical Best, Oleg

  • Lou

    Interesting to hear your perspective. Agree that Fusion 360 is definitely developing. Have not noticed Inventor development, so that is cool. From my perspective, SW has become like Pro/E, cash cow focusing on integrations. Will be interested to see Xdesign if they ever get it off the ground.