Twenty Three Years of Institutionalised Culture of Failure

This will be my last post on this topic for a while. I don’t think it can be flogged to death because the very serious nature of this problem needs to be hammered upon until these people either get it right or get run off but I am going to give it a break for a bit after this post. Sorry if the idea of PR and marketing as twenty-four year old failures offends some but when the very nature of the survival and prosperity of the Solid Edge division of Siemens is still threatened by the incompetence of these people it needs to be said.

So what got me fired up today? I was looking for articles on CW4SE (CAMWorks for Solid Edge) and ran across Evan Yares fine article on ST5 from last year.

I remembered it well and took a minute to re-read it. What leapt out at me this time was the following and I quote,

“The SolidWorks versus Solid Edge competition was shaping up to be a major brawl. Both were clean-sheet products that promised to challenge the hegemony of PTC’s seemingly unassailable Pro/Engineer CAD program.

Unfortunately, Intergraph made a number of missteps with Solid Edge:

“They built Jupiter to be a universal CAD platform. This added a lot of program overhead that made Solid Edge fatter and slower than it would have been were it to be fine-tuned for MCAD.
In the middle of development, they went back and re-worked the core program code to use the (newly available) Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) object model, instead of their internally developed object model. This caused a year’s delay. As a result, Solid Edge didn’t ship until about 6 months after SolidWorks.
They used the ACIS geometric modeling kernel, which, at the time, was not a match for Parasolid.
They didn’t have their sales channel strategy together.”

They didn’t have their sales channel strategy together! And I remember from SE V20 comments to the same effect from Roopinder which became known as the basis for the famous phrase “The best software you’ve never heard of”. This is a problem that evidently goes back to 1990, the very beginning of SE and according to Evan was one of the large contributors to SW taking off before SE. Evan is a smart guy and I trust his judgement and as far as I am concerned looking at where we are today with SE/Siemens what has changed?

Lets be honest here for a moment. Would many prospective customers buy software they don’t hear all that much about compared to the media blitzkrieg of SW? What have been the ramifications of this? I think it is easy to state beyond a doubt that failure to market well has starved SE of cash for development. Development which would have kept it equal to the best that SW had after adoption of parasolids and placed it on an equal technical footing. And they would have been much closer in market share from that point on. If marketing had done it’s job the launch of the whole ST program could have been with a much better product rather than one that had to stumble for two years as more generous funding brings better things to life more quickly. If marketing had done their jobs a well-funded launch of ST as a robust product in ST1 with a large advertising budget that could have been in place because of prior sales profits would have put SE perhaps even with SW in sales by now and ready to pull ahead. Is it unreasonable to say that this has cost SE well over a billion dollars over the years?

THIS is the true cost of this marketing and PR Culture Of Failure. Year after year and sad to say now decade after decade.

One response to “Twenty Three Years of Institutionalised Culture of Failure

  1. R. Paul Waddington

    Hi Dave,
    Hi Dave, being argumentative I know but I raise the following?
    Siemens are a very large manufacturer unlike other software companies: so while they do not stop their divisions using alternatives would it not be reasonable to consider the security/certainty ownership affords is of greater value that marketing and more sales, may be?
    Secondly; as a marketing/sales point of CAD software has always been about getting ahead of competitors/bringing products to market faster; if we consider – for a moment – Solid Edge is ahead of the game then it is to its users (Siemens and others) advantage. They each have a tool which – in theory – may afford a competitive advantage. ie you can more easily (cost effectively) work with my 3D data than can I yours? Why would a user of Solid Edge want to loose a market edge to potential competitors?
    A third point is what are you actually looking for in the way of marketing? It is fairly obvious to me, here in Australia, Solid Edge could also do with a push (and I would be happy to do so) but it is also true many I know simply will not swing away (from their existing investment – me also) now without cost/productivity benefits which cannot be more than offset by getting a cheaper introductory price.
    If that is the case then ‘conventional marketing/sales’ ain’t going to cut through. What is needed, I believe, for Solid Edge, if Siemens actually wants to expand the software’s footprint, is a focused performance approach which is best achieved by showing off and leveraging off existing users – not ‘conventional’ marketing.
    Now bearing in mind the potential value of competitive advantage: you published links (via Neil) to videos and did your die machining article; both showed me (and others no doubt) some unique advantage and therefore should be considered marketing. An expanded/formalized process of this nature is what I believe would be best to take Solid Edge forward numbers wise – if that is what Siemens (and their existing Solid Edge customers) actually want to happen?
    I also believe there exists business opportunities for Solid Edge users – like you – to work profitably with Siemens using a ‘below the radar’ marketing approach. Penetrating potential customers’ through/using existing user’s business contacts; how many people could you bring to Siemens who would be likely to close/convert to Solid Edge off the back of a combined direct approach and as a result of your recommendation, demonstrations and ROI examples/proof?
    Recommendation is recognized as a most effective form of marketing: so a remaining question is, can you, Dave (and other users), benefit/profit from taking/assisting Solid Edge down a different road to that which you currently believe is needed, but one which would lead to the same end in a more (for all stake holders) cost effective manner?

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