Posts tagged as:

CAD

3d-unicorn

I’m on my way to COFES 2015 - annual gathering of people discussing a future of engineering software in Scottsdale, Arizona. It made me think about an intersection of startup and engineering software world. Last year I shared my thoughts about a potential surge of CAD / PLM startups driven by new cloud technologies, web, open source and multiplied by large amount of unsolved problems in engineering software such as globalization, slow ROI, complexity and cost. So I want to continue a startup theme today.

My attention was caught by article by Dave McClure – Bubble, My Ass: Some Unicorns Might Be Overvalued, But All Dinosaurs Gonna Die. Article speaks about Unicorns - an unofficial term used to call a startup with valuation greater than $1B. According to recent WSJ article, there are 82 startup companies in the world with such valuation. You can see companies from consumer and enterprise space there. The following picture (from 2013 TechCrunch article) can show you the split:

2013-unicorns

My favorite part in Dave McClure’s article is actually related to a great summary of reasons why Dinosaurs companies are going to die – 1/ Dinosaur companies don’t innovate; 2/ Dinosaur Companies have a tough time recruiting & retaining top technical talent; 3/ Dinosaur Companies don’t get how critical internet marketing is becoming. The following passage is my favorite:

Fundamental to all of the above is the following observation: most public companies have not taken to heart how absolutely mission-critical software technology & internet marketing have become to business competitiveness. Thus, almost every Dinosaur Company is extremely vulnerable to a Startup Unicorn eating their lunch (stated so eloquently this past week by none other than JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon).

You cannot spot engineering and manufacturing software companies in these lists. However, we can see few companies that can be associated with enterprise software business and used by manufacturing companies – Dropbox, Box, Tableu, Workday, Palantir. The largest valuation of CAD / PLM startup that was mentioned recently was $295M for Onshape – here is the Fortune article mentioning that:

Onshape, a Cambridge computer-aided design (CAD) software startup, has raised a total of $64 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Commonwealth Capital. The funding values the company, which has operated stealthily for the past three years, at $295 million, including the funding.

Here is a question to think about. Can engineering and manufacturing software industry create a unicorn startup in the next decade? As a reference you can take a look on available information about market capitalization of some CAD / PLM companies – Dassault Systemes ($16.1B), Autodesk ($14B), PTC ($4.26B). But these are public companies with 20+ years of lifetime. At the same time, I’m not aware about any startup company in engineering software domain that has revenue close to $100M. According to latest CIMdata analytical researches, PLM market (which includes CAD business too) grew up 6.8% to $37.2B in 2014. Onshape is probably the only company on a horizon that (based on funding and buzz it created) can think to be a unicorn in the future. However, Onshape is still very early in the lifecycle and it is hard to predict its future trajectory.

What is my conclusion? From traditional engineering software viewpoint, it is hard to see how CAD / PLM industry can bring a new company that will be valued with $1B in coming 5-10 years. However, here is the thing…. Look on companies in the list of unicorns. Many of them made a transformation in the traditional industry landscape (transportation, hospitality, communication). That was the main reason for their premium ($B) valuation. Until now, CAD companies made CAD and PLM companies made PLM in the way we knew that for the last 15-20 years. The future might be different. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image credit GrabCAD

Share

0 comments

Where to host my cloud CAD and PLM?

by Oleg on April 8, 2015 · 0 comments

cad-plm-hosting-options

Cloud adoption is growing. There is almost a synergy about cloud and PLM. All PLM vendors are signaling about leveraging various pieces of cloud technologies in their business. Now, the time is coming for CAD. Last few months were sparked by multiple debates around future of cloud CAD technologies. Onshape was a resonating factor of these discussions. However, other companies such as Autodesk and Dassault Systems/Solidworks are also demonstrating their commitments for future cloud development.

Cloud is a pain relief for your company IT. You shouldn’t worry about servers, communication infrastructure and other IT resources. However, as you can imagine, cloud infrastructure is located on the ground and in many situations you want to know where is it located, how is that protected and secured. Users can be happy to have all CAD documents to be located in a “single cloud place” together with the last version of the software. However, you want to know how reliable is this single place and who is taking care of cloud operation.

Few months ago, I shared some of thoughts and references about pubic cloud and the way it will influence large manufacturing companies. Navigate to these two post to refresh your memories – PLM vendors, large manufacturers and public cloud and Is public cloud reshaping PLM landscape? Time to re-check…

My attention caught another article – Predicting The Future Of Cloud Service Providers by Louis Columbus. The article provides a a very interesting set of information about where future cloud investment will go and what cloud service providers are going to support it. Here is an interesting snippet of data:

7% of marketing departments will have 60% or more of their applications on a cloud platform in two years. When asked which Value-Added Reseller (VAR) is most likely to win their enterprises’ business for a significant hosting project, the majority said IBM IBM +0.46% (18%) followed by Microsoft MSFT -0.43% (11%), Amazon (8%) and Dell (7%). Database (57%), e-mail (54%) and business applications (ERP, CRM & industry-specific apps) (49%) are the three leading application hosting investments enterprises will be making in the next two years.

The following chart can give some insight on priority of investments:

application-hosting-spending

As you can see, business applications, virtual desktop hosting and productivity tools are in the top part of the list. The following chart can demonstrate some hosting preferences between large providers.

significant-hosting-resellers

Manufacturing companies will have to take critical decisions about their cloud strategy. Most of them are using technology and applications that will have a difficulties to move into cloud as a services. The question how to balance between existing authoring and productivtiy tools and new SaaS applications is the most interesting.

What is my conclusion? Engineering and manufacturing companies won’t be able to abandon the existing ship and magically move from existing set of application into a future cloud world. It will be a journey, which will involve existing software vendors, newcomers and new SaaS application, cloud service providers and service companies. How to pickup a right partners? This is a note to CEOs, CIO, IT infrastructure managers and many others. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Share

0 comments

cloud-data-management

 

Document management is hard if you do it manually. To manage versions of documents requires you to follow some rules or naming conventions. I remember one of my first lessons in configuration management many years ago. It was about how to use file names in versions. Simple rule for starters – never ever use words “last” or “final” in names, otherwise (guess what) all you versions will be “last” of “final”.

To manage versions of CAD files is harder than manage Word documents.  For many engineering organizations, it was the main reasons to bring PDM tool. I can tell you endless stories about people spending days of work because overwriting the deleted version or companies losing weeks of work trying to restore project baseline in their communication with subcontractors.

Unfortunately, to manage CAD files using PDM is a hard job too. CAD projects are combining multiple files. These files are interconnected and it is hard sometimes to resolve the complexity of these connections together with management of proper versions. The main reason for that was related to the need to keep multiple files in some location on your computer (usually called workspace) and switch between these files in order to get a desired version of your project  with right parts and sub-assemblies.

Here are some good news, in my view. Cloud and more specifically cloud CAD systems can finally solve hardest PDM problem. The main reason for that – cloud CAD system should build a solid data management foundation to manage CAD data in the cloud. So, it will fix a broken link between CAD files saved on your computer and PDM storage.

The main outcome of cloud CAD data management is the ability to manage versions and merge branches design. In my view, this is a functionality CAD / PDM users dreamed for years. I remember many requests to support the ability of branching revisions and applying changes done by two engineers together.

In the past I speculated about future of CAD / PDM data management and how cloud can simplify management of design versions. You can read my old posts from 2010 - PDM and management of CAD files and Future CAD and Assembly version management. The technologies are getting mature and we can see some interesting results these days. I captured two recently published videos from Autodesk Fusion 360 and Onshape demonstrating how you can branch design, collaborate and merge results using cloud data management tools.

Autodesk Fusion 360

Onshape

What is my conclusion? Back in 2010, I was dreaming and speculating about “invisible CAD data management”. Fast forward in 2015 – it is a time to see changes in new products. Cloud technologies are reshaping traditional boundaries of engineering tools. For many years, CAD and PDM tools were separate. Integration between CAD and PDM was complex and painful. Cloud allows us to focus on user experience and hide data management form users. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Share

0 comments

Do we need super cloud PDM? But wait, we already have PLM…

March 30, 2015

Cloud is transforming businesses and technologies. CAD and PDM are going to be transformed too. If you had a chance to follow my blog last week, you probably read my thoughts from Develop3D LIVE conference in Warwick, England. If you missed, navigate to my previous post – Develop3D LIVE set the stage for cloud CAD […]

Share
Read the full article →

Develop3D LIVE: The stage for “cloud CAD” competition

March 27, 2015

I attended Develop 3D Live yesterday in Warwick UK. It is probably the only vendor independent event focusing on CAD, 3D, design and engineering. It was my first time at Develop 3D Live. I think number of attendees was about 1’500 – 2’000 people at its peak time. All major CAD vendors presented at the event […]

Share
Read the full article →

How CAD vendors “murdered” PDM business

March 23, 2015

Here is the passage I captured during my weekend reading – We only sleep at night because Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Elon Musk don’t want our businesses. Yet. It came from the Warren Ellis’ article The New Tech Disruption: Murdering Businesses and Haunting Their Corpses. The article is a very nice summary of […]

Share
Read the full article →

Autodesk and Onshape disagree about cloud technology and focus

March 18, 2015

For the last few years cloud became such a fuzzy buzzword, that to say about some software “cloud application” is basically means nothing. All companies are shifting towards cloud. So, to understand “how” actual product is leveraging cloud technology is absolutely important to make a comparison. I’ve been discussing the topic of “how to” with […]

Share
Read the full article →

PLM Thoughts After Onshape Public Beta

March 9, 2015

This morning Onshape went from stealth mode into public beta release. I’ve been using Onshape for the last few weeks. Today, I finally have an opportunity to share some of my thoughts about how I think Onshape and other cloud design systems will influence PLM implementations. The scope of PLM I’m thinking about is related to […]

Share
Read the full article →

How cloud CAD can avoid “double PDM tax”

March 4, 2015

  My yesterday post – Will cloud CAD inherit data interoperability problem? raised few interesting discussion about cloud data management in PDM/PLM implementations. How cloud CAD/PDM will make our life simpler? In my view, the most important part is to exclude files from data management chain. By doing that, new cloud based CAD systems are […]

Share
Read the full article →

Will cloud CAD inherit data interoperability problem?

March 3, 2015

Cloud and CAD are probably getting to the point where it starts become a real thing. Autodesk Fusion360, Onshape, SolidWork Industrial design. It is likely to absorb some PDM functionality to make collaboration, branching, revisions and other data management tasks easier. Cloud CAD means no files, so engineers have nothing to mess with… Life is […]

Share
Read the full article →