Reading today a post http://ontheedge.dezignstuff.com/is-solid-edge-the-best-cad-program-youve-never-heard-of/1044 over at Matt’s “On The Edge” blog about SE. I was writing a reply there when I realized that it should be a post here on my blog as it was becoming way to long to be a reply at his. This perception that persists with SE and dumb or no marketing exists because the actions of UGS and then Siemens/SE have made it so. I am writing this as I see it by the way and I am judging this situation based upon what I have seen for six years and the reasons I have heard for this. This was not an idea that just happened out of thin air but rather it is the result of either malign or benign neglect from UGS treating the red headed step child like the bad kid who should not be seen or heard. After they absorbed the Synchronous tech from SE into NX that the NX guys did not come up with. And then after that marketing departments that do I don’t know what but whatever it is they do it has not been effective. Anyway here is my “reply”.
Yeah I don’t know about marketing for Solid Edge. From the days of 2005 when the SE yearly events were killed and this Velocity thing happened I just don’t get it. If you remember with ST1 all that was really mentioned was this amorphous undefined Velocity thing. Truth of the matter is that it should have been SOLID EDGE and the Velocity family because all those add-ons had no reason for existence without a robust CAD design program for them to run on. ATTENTION, for those of you in Rio Lindo PLM PDM blah-blah-blah have no reason to exist without CAD program output! ST1 had a brief mention in places but the ads, such as they were being few and far between were for mostly this amorphous Velocity thing. It reminded me of that dumb “purple pill” ad from years ago where they talked about the pill and never said what it did. And it led directly to Roopinder’s famous “Solid Edge– the Best MCAD Program You Won’t Buy” article.
A little later nothing has changed and this article by Deelip.
I am told by various people that there is a huge cultural mindset problem that propagates the idea of things as they have been are best as it protects my fiefdom or turf. Now I am not there behind closed doors to really speak authoritatively on this so I am relying on what I have been told. This is the group that was inherited from UGS days prior to when they were bought out by Siemens. Why in the world this should be I don’t know as it ought to be clear to any of these foot draggers that if SE sells like it should and there is a unified and cohesive SUSTAINED effort to promote SE all will profit. Siemens makes more money and so do users as larger market share draws more work opportunities. I know shops nearby that have to buy SW only because their largest customers use SW and it is a condition to get their work that you have a current seat of SW. Market share in so many ways drives opportunity for all involved and I don’t see any real enthusiasm or concerted relevant efforts up to this point in time from Solid Edge marketing to change this.
Now I thought two years ago SE was going to do the aggressive promotion thing but after a brief period of excitement we had Local Motors as the only real offshoot other than the establishment of the Solid Edge user conventions which have been a real success. We had a series of user “Summits” one year but not the next. Now I want to say this about the University events. This is a key building block towards creating an energized user community. It has been done right from top to bottom and I look for double the attendance this year over last year again. As for Local Motors I have been told that it has generated a lot of interest in SE and I have no way of judging the validity of that claim. I do know that every actual professional SE user I know could care less about it so evidently it was meant to appeal to someone besides professional CAD users. Ah, people like maybe SW and Inventor users dare I say will probably feel the same way. Professional users want to know how it can improve their problems at work and bottom lines for their businesses. They are by and large not interested in crowd sourcing where the value of their output is significantly diminished. They have this odd notion that they should be paid for what they do and have no interest in things like Local Motors.
I believe that what will be the fastest way for SE to grow market share is to appeal directly to current users of other CAD programs with evidence of how SE will improve their day and bottom line. Once professional users are making the switch and larger market share is gained for SE you will see academics and the rest teach it more and promote it more. After all help wanted postings ARE the best engine to create interest in your product. Or so I think but then I am not an advertising executive so what do I know.
What I am choosing to believe with some evidence I know of is that after all these years there will FINALLY be a cohesive and serious effort to promote SE this year. I think the beginning of this in the public eye will be SEU13 this June in Cincinnati. I fully expect more integrated aps for SE and the Synchronous side of SE will be fully mature in every area. I see already some significant incentives offered for those who might switch from other programs and this is a big deal. Discounts help get a lot of people off the fence quickly. I am very excited about the upcoming release of SE ST6 based on some things I hear and things under NDA I can’t talk about. At this time I think the only possible way for this release to not be an epic event in the history of SE will be for the past mindset to stifle quality efforts at getting the word out. ALL the pieces of the software puzzle will be here in this one so the only reason for failure will fall directly upon corporate marketing and promotion. Dan Staples and the Solid Edge staff in Huntsville have done their job with excellence and now let us see if those other departments can do the same.
I get to say this because I am not a part of Siemens or SE I am just a user and I can’t lose my job over this. I certainly don’t know what all is constraining the marketing of SE. But from where this user sits if Marketing can’t do any better than the recent past with SE after all the good stuff coming up in ST6 and it were me that had to answer for it I would be putting on big boots and kicking some rear ends into gear where ever and how ever I could. SE can still be snatched from the jaws of victory by stupid marketing and turf protection or whatever it is that has so capably stifled SE in the past. I am certain that market share for SE is growing and I hope that this is not used by the marketing department to justify their efforts because whatever the growth rate is it should be double that or more and it is the exclusive failure to get the word out in ways that count to the real world that is, I believe, to blame.