Solid Edge Huntsville User Group Meetings

Due to deaths in my family and just stuff in general in my life the user group in Huntsville has had a lengthy hiatus of meetings for some time now. This will end soon and a letter was sent this week to users who have attended in the past. This is being mentioned here now for the benefit of any who may be in the general area as an invitation to attend. Please contact me through comments if you are interested.

“Hi All,

This is to let you know that meetings with the Huntsville after this lengthy hiatus will be resuming February 13th and 2:00 pm in one of the conference rooms at the SE main offices in Huntsville as before.

Karsten Newbury and Solid Edge are making a concerted effort at this time to develop a user community and this group will be a part of that. I expect that we will be having at least two meetings per year and possibly three and this will be determined in large measure by what you as participants want to do.

This is I am sure going to be attended by some good individuals from SE corporate and I expect some sort of talks by them as well although at this time nothing concrete has been ironed out. What will happen will be determined to some degree by your response to this email and what you wish to have presented there. Your feedback is important so please let me know what you would most like to see.

I am also pondering some sort of quarterly newsletter and I would like you to think about what would make this relevant to you and of interest. Part of what may happen with this group is contributions from users on how they work with SE and any who feel they have a topic they are good with and are willing to be a part of this please let me know.
In any case I look forward to seeing everyone again and I will be looking for your replies.

Regards, Dave Ault”

This is a part of the effort Solid Edge is making to establish a user community nationwide and in other countries to in time. With the “mini” Productivity Summits earlier this year there will be groups started in each of those locales where they were held. I will be posting information of these in the near future for those of you interested in attending.

If you are a Solid Edge user and there is an opportunity to attend the Huntsville, or indeed any other upcoming groups, I would like to take a moment to encourage you to do so. One of the powerful things that has made SolidWorks so ubiquitous has been the active user community. I am of the opinion that SolidWorks heydays are behind it and the next king of the pack will be Solid Edge.

The current leadership of Siemens/Solid Edge are not the way it used to be kind of guys and they get the idea that this user network has to happen to everyone’s benefit. Along with this is the beginning of much needed third party integrations like the one happening for CAM and Solid Edge with Geometric. I think you will find that FINALLY after so many years and false starts and deliberate ignoring of the concepts of community and integration with useful programs this time is for real.

Quite frankly it has been a slow start and one I have had to wonder about and even begin to question if it was ever really going to happen. The legacy of Venture capital owner constraints to logical useful development of Solid Edge and indeed UGS had been hamstrung for some time with this mess. This sad legacy was what Siemens inherited and it produced mindsets that had to be changed or removed entirely from the picture before meaningful reform and change could happen. This evidently has not been a simple or easy thing to do.

I have not been at all happy about how this user group network idea has fizzled out after the first round of productivity summits and the first of the new user national conventions in Huntsville two years ago. The idea of a user network should have been followed up on at that time but was not. However better late than never and I look forward to the changes being implemented at this time.

Solid Edge has been a puzzle to me for years with the legacy of “the best software you have never heard of” I believe in the program and I think it is the best mid range MCAD program out there. I wish sometimes my attitude was more infectious with portions of Siemens like the publicity department. I have yet to see any cohesive and well thought out campaign to drive new sales. Really I have never seen this since I came on board with SE at the advent of ST1. There were a few glimmers of hope and increased add presence after the release of ST4 but is was short lived. Today we are back to very little of note that I can see and I wonder just what the PR guys are getting paid for or if their hands are tied from doing anything meaningful why?

I mention these things in conjunction with the announcement of user groups for a reason though. It is my public way of saying that if Solid Edge wants to really be the big kid on the block they are going to have to acquire the big kid mindset and start SERIOUSLY acknowledging in actions the things they know to do and have not done. We all know that SolidWorks was a combination of a great program of innovation in it’s day that had combined with a top notch integrated partners ecosphere and a powerful user outreach and a community that was aggressively pursued for YEARS until they made it happen. MADE IT HAPPEN.

This is the same proven metric Solid Edge will have to follow if they intend to do the same. Sorry, but the best program out there will not win the throne by word of mouth from users and a few token efforts here and there. It requires persistence and presence and can’t be started up for a month or two and then once again ignored. It requires a plan and follow through.

It is my fervent hope that this time is finally at hand. I never have understood this hide your head in the sand philosophy. Robust sales mean more customers for SE and more SE users mean more work for SE users and aggressive pursuit of new customers means we all profit. How hard is that to understand and why has this not really been done as of yet? I don’t have a clue and it defies rational thought. Legacy dumb corporate turf protecting mindsets that have to be weeded out is the only thing I can see to explain why and I sure hope this has finally been done. It is hard sometimes to be enthusiastic about a program you believe in when that same enthusiasm does not appear in the form of actions actually taken by the company that sold you your program.

I think we are finally at this tipping point and I do look for good things this next year. SolidWorks has bent over backwards to give Solid Edge gobs of customers if they will just go and harvest them. This is though a time limited offer and if Solid Edge won’t do it someone will. I think Autodesk had a good plan going until they went all cloud stupid so who knows. Maybe Siemens figures they won’t have to lift a finger to get the CAD king crown. I don’t think that is assured though and perhaps they need to look in the rear view mirror at things like SpaceClaim. SpaceClaim is hungry and is doing all the right things and has a better integration and publicity campaign than SE does. They just don’t have as good a program but they have a good enough program for many who will end up there because SpaceClaim actively and aggressively made it happen.

This next half year leading up to ST6 release in Cincinnatti this coming June is critical for the future of SE. I think the extended grace period Dassault and now Autodesk has given Siemens/Solid Edge will have to be acted upon to assure the outcome that I want to see.

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