As SW World winds down this year I look at the lack of involvement by users and Dassault. Yes there were a lot of people there but I wonder what the real reasons were? I wonder where all the hub-bub that used to accompany this event has gone to? I know if I go to SEU 2015 it will be principally to see my peers again and not because I expect to learn a lot there I could not elsewhere for free. I have to believe that outside of people in direct employ of those who intend to make money like Dassault or vendors SWW is mainly a re-union of peers. Then I look at Dassault and they trot out stuff no one wants and if you buy into your profits will diminish Dassaults will increase. Strange thing its that as far as I can see you wont get as a buyer anything you really need beyond what you have now for far less $$$$$. So users show up to see each other and Dassault shows up to talk to themselves about stuff that is overpriced and users don’t want. Here is an excellent article on just this thing. http://www.solidsmack.com/cad/pricing-next-gen-cad-dassault-systemes-lost-plot-3dexperience/ I find with great interest they also mention Autodesk. Autodesk is transparent about what they do. They have the best prices for what is offered. Autodesk is serious about gaining new customers and unlike Dassault and Siemens apparently does not believe your primary reason for existance as a company is to be a cash cow for others. I fully expect in this tough market to get new sales generated and where your best source of new customers is your competing software peers that over time this combination of leading best prices and transparency and features of the programs from Autodesk will erode the base of Dassault and Siemens. Autodesk, get busy and fix Inventor and you will get much more attention.
But there is another aspect of this and it is are you committed to your customers. Do you listen to what they want beyond the top ten things to be fixed or do you take your subs money and devise products they don’t want or will run up expenses needlessly or both? How about do you take integration seriously and spend time to make sure your “Gold Partners” so to speak are delivering what they promised? Once again I see the huge contrast between Autodesk and Dassault and Siemens where everything Autodesk does or intends to do is an open book with lengthy beta periods where they give users free use of a product to make sure it is what they want or if it will even work. And they are doing so at prices that businesses will appreciate. (It looks to me like Autodesk wants to be your partner and not your overseer unlike others that come to mind.) Thinking of all the vaporware Dassault has come up with over the years here. Thinking of Siemens where you have to inflict sales drones upon yourself to even get a price. And in particular thinking of Solid Edge where this wretched mess of CAMWorks for Solid Edge has been allowed to fester and only after some real public user anger did Siemens decide to look into it. I have no idea if it will go any further than this because Siemens is so bureaucratic that they could not decide on a plan of action in a reasonable time frame if their lives depended on it. CW4SE has had serious problems from day one and I am convinced that Geometric had no intention of fixing it. Indeed a comment to one of the users about problems that plagued him their reply was this was “intended behavior”. I kid you not. Then after the big stink starts and the heat is on they want to fix it. Does this kind of reaction inspire any confidence in you as a potential customer?
What it says to me is that both Siemens/SE and Geometric will not do the right thing unless pressure is applied. What is also tells me is that a company like Siemens/SE has had no interest in what their integrated partners do and therefore no method of policing them for quality. At this time I can only say that by association and by their actions with CW4SE I would not trust a darned thing they have partnered with unless I first did extensive testing. They recently appointed some poor guy, that’s right one, to be in charge of this but I can tell you that in my experience with the gargantuan bureaucracy he will have to fight through this is meaningless. It is a see we are doing something now please go away action that will not affect the serious plight of every CW4SE buyer. So we will now have a barking dog on a chain who will be told when he will be allowed to do anything by those who have better things to do with their time than worry about their customers losing money with the garbage they produced.
In this day and time where people can verify statements of intent and the validity of promises made by software companies it becomes harder to fool them. What does a company do compared to what they say and what are the real life experiences of those who are users or buyers? Many years ago the automotive companies brought upon themselves the “Lemon Law”. It was a response to big-ticket items that were so fundamentally flawed they spent more time in repair than on the road. It was a legal response to companies who refused to honor the idea that customers had a right to expect a certain level of reliability in what they purchased. There remain whole industries that do not have protection of this sort for buyers and whose response seems to be too bad so sad. We have your money and if you don’t like it leave. You kept it past 30 days and now you are stuck with software that took you that long just to start figuring out you were had and the only lemon law here for you is the sour taste in your mouth.
Software in the business world is something that can make or break you. Remember some years back when K-Marts bought into that new whiz-bang inventory control system. The huge expense of this debacle is what tipped them over into bankruptcy and reorganization. The only recourse for the little guy is negative publicity primarily on the web where he can’t be shuffled to the side by excuse making corporate representatives. Most of the time this does not mean you get your money and wasted time back but you can prevent bad corporate entities from inflicting further harm on as many people as they would have otherwise. Over time when you hit their bottom line hard enough things can change for the better. I have two companies in mind here and one of them is duplicitous as far as I am concerned and the other is merely derelict in it”s responsibilities. Dassault and Siemens since you wanted to know.
Since this is the case and since we do not have a Lemon Law for CADCAM we will have to make do with user experiences. That word Dassault likes so much. Research carefully what other real users have to say and why. I have not seen one positive word about CW4SE for a long time online and this is for a reason.
Just like Dassault at SWW this year I have to sadly conclude that Siemens/SE is not committed to it’s customers. They have their own little worlds to live in and we are not decision making participants in it until we force them to listen by leaving and costing them potential business by warning prospective buyers off. Money, ours in their pockets and not ours by the improved bottom line for our pockets seems to be all they understand so here is some help. From a CW4SE victim buy SE because it is great even though Siemens will not work for you but put the ancillary products under a microscope before you buy and in any case DO NOT buy into CW4SE until (if ever) this mess is fixed.
Of the three big CAD dudes at this time Autodesk is the only one that looks like they care for the future of it’s existing and future customers.