Hey Paul, If I Was In Charge

To put this in context this is a reply to Paul Waddington’s comment at my “Twenty Three Years of Institutionalised Culture of Failure” post.

Hi Paul,

The idea that Siemens eats their own food is a key point in the list of compelling reasons to use SE. Siemens IS a big manufacturing corporation and they did buy into UGS/SE to enhance and control to their benefit design and manufacturing software. So yes this is a big deal and I have said before it is wise to buy into software that is used by the people who own it for the same things you do. There is a common benefit for both side that is not offered to this degree anywhere else.

I have no idea why SE has a marketing and PR staff that does not fully capitalise on the advantage ST gives them over every other mid range MCAD program out there. This is a constant source of frustration to many users who do not understand why this is. Bigger market share benefits us to as it will inevitably bring us more work and a larger talent pool to draw from. It hurts both sides of the equation and who knows why it goes on for six years now with ST.

Price tags are critical if you want to entice new users. I came on board just before the release of ST1 after seeing it work on a part of mine. Now I wanted it but what really clinched the deal was as an introductory offer there was a VAR that would allow me to “trade in” my old seat for a seat of SE Classic for $3,000.00 total for software and maintenance for one year. Regular cost was around $6,900.00 + $1,500.00 maintenance. I would have been crazy not to buy.

Siemens has only been involved with SE for I believe six years. This problem precedes Siemens according to Evan and indeed goes all the way back to 1990.

” is a focused performance approach which is best achieved by showing off and leveraging off existing users – not ‘conventional’ marketing.” Precisely correct. Now my opinion has been for some time you can’t sell what you do not clearly demonstrate and this is software for manufacturing from design to build so you have to show customers how it does this and how it benefits them. The following must be done to achieve this. And I will give my recommendations on things to be done in general.

First off there must be an end to VARs whose primary ability is to bring a proposal to a prospective customer. They need to be trained and be capable of sitting down with a prospect and taking the prospects own part and SHOWING the benefit of SE. (or at least taking a trained demo guy who can do this after a meeting is set up) These same VAR’s must also follow-up and see if their customers are using ST and if not why not. It is appalling how many of SE’s customers do not use ST and I believe it is solely because their VAR or Siemens has not made a point to follow-up and make sure that their customers understand the benefit. Look, these guys got along with the same old way and that is where many will stay. Whether it is because the boss does not want the disruption of training on a new paradigm or the user resists having to learn something new it is status quo makes me happy world. When you make a point of showing them in person what it can do it is almost funny as their jaws drop. I know, I have done this. When these guys see what can be done and the owners see the efficiencies it can bring then the switchover happens. And yes these people become advocates for SE and they will show others all about it.

Siemens or whoever should quit being stupid and realize that it takes a serious financial incentive for many to switch. It is not sufficient in many cases to just show better software. Your prospect is going to say that he can get by with what he has as he has done for years and legacy files and retraining blah-blah-blah. And these are real hurdles to be overcome if you wish to sell to the majority of all prospects out there. The only answer is a financial incentive and it better be a good one. I just cringed when I heard the initial discount considered for buying into CAMWorks 4 SE of 15 to 20%. What could they have been thinking? You launch a product and it better be at least 50% off for everyone for at least three to four months. This is where the ineptness of SE traditional marketing types comes in. 15 to 20% off and lets let the VARs do the promoting of the product in publicity.

Marketing and PR fail in another big way with the user community. Blogging takes a lot of time and not everyone is suited to do this and in addition it is darned few who are willing to be active in the community much less take time to write about it. There is no recognition of those who do so. Bloggers should get a free pass to the Universities and just like the press has a tag showing they are under the name tag bloggers should to. Now I am not advocating this for my benefit because I have been doing it without all this stuff anyway. But how do you make additional people interested in doing this to? You have to give the voices of the community special earned status amongst their peers. Considerations in software or free attendance to SEU or what ever works. At this time bloggers are pretty well ignored by marketing and publicity in all ways. I have asked for special interest things to post about in the past and what I get is a link to the daily tips and tricks official Siemens/SE web page. It is a sign of how sterile the creativity of these people is that they would fob off this request in such a manner. They have no concept of how to interact with a community of users or bloggers with the exception of the Universities which are well done.

There should be a bigger push to establish local user groups and it needs to be sustained and year round. This I believe is a big incubator of future customers as it is important that users be able to find each other. When users can be found it means that there is a local public face to the software and prospective customers can also go there and see users and the software in interaction and judge the software accordingly. It also means that you have a local group of people who actually are dedicated to the idea of your software enough to spend their own time showing up. These will also be the same people who will most likely show others who are not customers all about SE better than any VAR ever could because these are the guys in the trenches earning money with it.

Paul I have been at this for almost four years now and before I was blogging I was everywhere I could find on the closed BBS forums and official Siemens postings where you could respond. It was strange how this was received by users when I started bellyaching about these things. In quick order I knew I would have to go public with this because I was actually chided at times by other users for topics that weren’t strictly CAD related. So I went public and started posting replies on blogs or where ever. But you see because marketing and PR had killed any desire by users for a public face these were really insular guys. It is the job of marketing and PR to INSPIRE users and prospective customers. Many of these people with marketing and PR have been there for a long time. They have never done this and quite frankly I don’t think they know how. As far as I can tell they have had paychecks for so long doing mediocre work that they think they are all right. It is time they step up to the bat or leave.

Marketing would be the category I would assign to have been over things like what sort of incentive to offer new customers or how the software is presented to high schools or colleges or tech schools. A big tech school on the North side of Nashville for instance has Featurecam and SW there on the curriculum. Has a single marketing guy ever stopped in there and proposed a deal for them and shown them the advantages of SE? You can bet your last dollar that no is the answer. Marketing would also make sure that support for products is in place with trained individuals for the software and enforcing foot-dragging salesmen who do not want to be bothered with learning to use what they sell into doing so or leaving. No choice, if you can’t be bothered to learn at least the basics of what you sell you need to go. At least SE. Now I would not expect a sales guy to know all about it nor be conversant in every ancillary program but the engine it all rides on? He better have that right.

PR would be the public face to put SE in front of the world in attractive ways. They would be the ones to find users who are willing to help and “enlist” them. My whole concept for these people is manufacturing better. You show with real world examples exactly how current users are saving time over the old ways. None of this 500% improvement junk. Just real stories of real people and parts and how they benefited. Look, SE will sell itself if these guys would just get off their dead a–es and show the world precisely what it does. These guys get things wrong in so many ways. PR and Marketing need to realise that there is no reason for CAD to exist if MANUFACTURING did not require it. It is an ecosphere if inter-related products and you need to show this as a tool to go from design to build and how much more efficient this SE way is. Thankfully after all these years there is machining integrated with SE so they can now do this. As an aside here why did they not see the necessity of this years ago is beyond belief. The arrogance of the NX side of UGS has to be seen to be believed and they just fobbed off a CAM program that was not integrated and not real user-friendly as good enough for the red-headed step child. This attitude by NX and the PLM World types was and is a part of the problem SE faces. I wish they would pry SE completely away from any association with these people and let it have its own complete structure. These people do not know how to market a superior mid range MCAD product to potential customers and they interfere with progress. They can’t grasp the difference between a small shop and a multinational corporation and one brush paints them all.

Anyway I have to get busy now but these are the things that come to mind. As always Paul a pleasure talking with you. May I ask if you are interested in SE and to what degree? Email me in private if you wish.

9 responses to “Hey Paul, If I Was In Charge

  1. OK folks if you mention Jon Banquer in a comment on my blog it won’t get through so refer to the idiot as JB or J Banquer if you must talk about him. He has been banned over at the LinkedIn Solid Edge User Network and he is venting his spleen here so he is now blacklisted from this blog. I am not going to allow him a soap box here to stand and froth at the mouth. Jon I think has set a record for being banned from more things than anyone else who participates in any fashion in the CADCAM world. I hope he gets a job some day so he won’t have time to drivel everywhere on the web about programs he cant use. But then that presupposes he might have an employable capability so never mind.

  2. Hey folks, I see a double posting over at Novedge this evening. I don’t know what happened here as this is supposed to be automatic but evidently not 100% glitch proof. It is better than not showing up at all though 🙂

  3. Dave,

    Its not just the Marketing department that is asleep at the wheel but their Social Media too. I sent @SiemensPLM and @danstaples a tweet asking if the SE ST6 productivity summit given in Montreal, Quebec will be presented in English or French and I haven’t heard back. They have no problem with tweeting press releases on a daily basis but no one is listening to questions.

    I’m not going to send 5 guys to a presentation if there is a chance that they won’t be able to understand what is being presented.

    • Hi Paul,
      Dan is a serious guy and if he did not get back to you there is a reason. He spends a fair amount of time interacting with users and I know he cares about these things. PLM on the other hand is not the same. If I see PLM attached to other words I expect mediocre results and people who have endless planning meetings and endless poor results. Now when PLM World had the SE users at their conventions we have an example of another side of these people and it is contempt for things they don’t find important. A prime example of what these people do to red headed step children and if you are an SE user you qualify as unimportant. From around 500 users in Cincinnati at an SE only event in 2005 and then forced to be under PLM Worlds caring hands this subsequently had dwindled to 37 users at the PLM World Nashville 2009 event. They did not and do not care and do not have a desire to understand that SE users are different than NX users. Now here is a perfect example of these guys attitudes. Last year in Nashville a PLM World rep stopped by to basically try to get SE and the Universities back under their roof. Now that it was growing I guess they wanted it back. He still had no idea why SE users wanted no part of this and his response, I kid you not, was they needed to form a committee to study this!! I walked down the hallway after the meeting and asked him if he had noticed that he was the only one in the room with a suit and tie on. This included Karsten Newbury who I am sure is way above him in the Siemens food chain. He laughed and said yes but he had no clue as to what I was really asking him which was do you see the difference between SE and NX/PLM World types? These people with PLM attached thrive on nothing much being done or changed and they are probably going to have to have a meeting to decide how to address the issue you brought up before they respond and that will be at the last second as they are pushed by time into no more delays. Can you tell I am real confident of these guys? These PLM innovation killers and bureaucratic foot draggers are a big part of the reason the SE community struggles to gain momentum and you are a perfect example of why.

      This topic of a separate event for SE is a sore one in PLM World. They treated SE like crap and killed the attendance and their response which I have heard in person goes like this. “Well, if we have a group for you then others will demand the same thing and then we will have to have a group for everything”. SE had a group before the hands of PLM World were put around their necks and the life and identity of the SE community choked out of them. They can’t take the numbers and look at the results and see an identifiable problem and that is the really scary part.

      People, these guys will not change unless forced to and Paul you have my thanks for bringing your problem up. This type of problem does not need to be swept under the carpet and it requires these problems being brought to light to bring about effective change and to pry the hands of the PLM bunch completely off of any position of authority over the SE user base.

      Now I will say that their mindset appears to work for the UGS/NX side of the equation. There are things going on there and they appear to have a solid connection with them so in that scenario they are effective. But this does not exist with SE.

      • Hey, Dave. I think I need to defend PLM World a bit here. You have to remember that PLM World is an independent entity and not part of Siemens PLM.
        It is my understanding that when SE was rolled into the big PLM World users group (we were both there) that the PLM World people protested this on the grounds that the SE software users was not the level of customers the event catered too. My meaning here is that NX and Teamcenter is a high-end, fully integrated software that came with a high price tag and integrated functional packages. SE, at the time, was a CAD package for the small and medium sized companies and had a SharePoint based PDM package. We are talking two different animals.
        PLM World understood this, but was told that only one event was going to happen. And that was it. We saw the effects and so did Siemens, after a while. Things have changed a bit since then and I think Karsten and Dan are happy to have a separate SE event. I’m not sure what kind of price they had to pay internally, both financial and political, but I am glad to see the separate event taking place.

      • Hi Ryan,
        I have a completely different take on this which is based upon my personal experience with events known publicly and behind the scenes. You taught the NX Cam Express session in Nashville back in 2009 for SE at PLM World. I know you saw the dismal turnout for SE users. 37 down from appx 500 in 2005 in Cincy. Now here is the thing about PLM World. Yes it was the corporate venture capital guys that forced this sad marriage of SE users and PLM World. It was clear that PLM World was not happy and they proved it by treating SE users accordingly and SE users responded by staying away in droves. I remember the hand wringing meetings I was for a brief time part of where these PLM guys could just not figure out why we were not happy there. I remember the SE 2010 SIG and I talking and his disgust over the fact that the PLM guys would ask him for advice and input and then totally ignore him because he was not anointed like they were being a mere SE guy of course. When I first started pushing for a separate event he actually defended the idea of working under the PLM umbrella for a while. The truth of the situation and PLM Worlds attitude of course won him over to the bright side where he thrives happily today. And PLM World has this dumb fascination with finding terribly expensive venues for their events and when you get done adding up all the expenses this was an additional deal killer for the vast majority of SE users. Let PLM World have their caviar big head place we we working guys who don’t like caviar will just stay away thank you. It is two complete different worlds.

        The real pisser about the PLM bunch besides not listening to a single thing SE guys had to say was what happened after the 2012 Nashville SEU. We had some PLM World guy sashay in to the user networking meeting we had with Karsten and Don Cooper right after the event. He was there to see basically what could be done to put our event back under the PLM World umbrella. I guess with 500+ there they were interested now. I kid you not when an objection was raised his first comment was “We will have to form a committee to study the problems!!!” After all this time still completely clueless about what SE users wanted even though he was there to see exactly what we wanted. He was the only guy in a suit and a petrified mindset at that meeting and I dare say he will never be back again. I can’t tell you how hostile SE users were towards this glaring reminder of a recent dismal past and I wish you could have been there to see it.

        PLM World is supposed to be a private group but the ties to long time UGS and now Siemens people must be pretty cozy considering the pull these guys seem to have. And I don’t get it. They have meetings to plan meetings to have followup meetings to determine the venue and questions to be discussed at the next meeting and it’s all crap and nothing is done. Feifdom protection and turf wars from what I hear and so much for this caring engine of the user communities both on the NX and SE sides of things. As far as I am concerned the PLM guys are unhappy that SE is a success as it is a direct reflection on them and clear proof they did not know (or care enough to figure it out) what to do with SE users. They did not want us when we were there and now that there are dollars to be harvested they want us back.

        I believe that PLM World has tried to interfere with what the SE users want in their independent community. I remember one of them telling me in their defense that they could not have a separate event because then everyone would want one. Never mind that SE used to have one of course. If I was a fly on the walls of various meetings I am sure Don and Karsten have had to fight entrenched footdraggers tooth and nail for years now. But there is no vindication like success and as SE Universities and communities grow it becomes clear what and who was holding it back.

        Please keep the PLM World bunch away from SE where things are exciting and looking up now and don’t hold up for them would be my advice. If PLM World was run by professionals even though they did not want SE they would have determined how to grow and develop the SE community. They chose petty anger and treated the situation with clueless contempt and they are now getting what they deserve. I doubt that what is happening with SE under people who care is going un-noticed by Siemens.

  4. Hi Paul,
    Please contact me directly about the Productivity event in Montreal. We are the local reseller and work closely with Siemens to organize these events. For now, we plan to have a mix of French and English presentations in Montreal on that day, but we are open to adapt to suit our customer needs.

    Francis Robert
    Director of Technical Services – Québec

  5. Paul,
    I work with Dan, and I know he has a lot going on right now – time off work kind of stuff. Dan is definitely one of the good guys when it comes to responding to questions, he’s got a lot on his plate right now, and I know there’s no way for someone outside to know that, but that’s what’s going on without getting into personal detail.

    Also, he’s not the guy in charge of the meetings. I contacted the guy who arranges the meetings, and he said the meetings were mostly in French. I see the local reseller saying there might be some flexibility. I’m sure there will be a way to accommodate whatever you need.

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