Solidedging and Solid Edge and the Future

This will be a long post today and is an accumulation of thoughts and conclusions I have been having for some time now.

I went to Matt Lombards site “On The Edge” this morning and I see now that a link to my blog has been removed. While I am not at all surprised it did get me to thinking about the last few years and where I want to spend my time in the blogosphere.

Regarding Siemens it is funny how the question of why someone who was such a fan of SE has had this change of heart is never asked. But then asking in sincerity would mean a desire for SE to succeed and this does not exist inside of Siemens corporate where the decisions are really made regarding SE’s future. This is all I have ever wanted and as I have said many times and will again today SE is the very best mid range MCAD program. I see articles on direct editing in SE and picture my head nodding up and down in agreement. It is so powerful and all my major work is still done here. I wanted for SE to take by merit of capabilities it’s rightful place in the CAD world. Such was not to be.

It is hard to take the future of SolidEdge as a positive when so much is going wrong. The pace of improvements is slowing down and I hear nothing about any revolutionary new stuff. Only tinkering around the edges and improvements that are merely moderately evolutionary based on what is already there. Don’t look for any breath-taking announcements for ST8 would be my guess.

No I don’t think SE is going away. I remember thinking that SW would when it was clear Dassault corporate had determined SW was not the real future. It is still there and I guess will be until they can figure out how to keep their customer base intact while eliminating the program they came there for. Like Dassault Siemens is stuck with something that they can’t sell and don’t want and is not any part of their desired plans for the future. So the future is auto pilot but do not sell and don’t waste money on it either. SE represents income already paid for though so at least they see this and will keep it going to some degree. It will however remain the adopted red-headed step child that seems to be SE’s fate in life. Overseen by stupid people who do not want or desire for SE to have the success it technically merits for whatever reason. The idea that North American Siemens Software, and by extension I mean Chuck Grindstaff directly since he is in charge of it all has cast aside SE is plain silly. All because of a perceived threat to the sales of NX. The UGS people never did have much use for SE. I was there in person to see the love they had for SE in 2009 in Nashville,TN PLM World where SE user attendance was down to 37 people. You can lie with words but actions trump these and this was proof of the regard UGS etal had for SE and users responded likewise.

Just like this current user behind the SolidEdgeing blog is responding. Really don’t look for much in the way of hope for SE anymore. Follow me as I assembly bread crumb trails that make me think like I do. I still know a lot of people associated with SE from Europe to Huntsville. They know I was and am a huge fan of SE. They also in most cases share my discouragement over the plight of SE’s future. So let us go through some random dot connecting here.

I knew Don Cooper and Karsten Newbury fairly well. They were wholly dedicated to the idea that SE was the best and should take its place as number one. They lived and breathed this idea and worked for it. When Karsten left he still had about three years if I remember right on a five-year contract. I don’t know what Don’s status was. But the idea they left or were run off is the important thing here. It heralded I believe edicts from Siemens Corp to deliberately stifle SE and I figure that after a while Don and Karsten just quit fighting. After all why should eminently qualified people stay where their success is artificially limited by those who have no desire to see SE succeed.

I remember standing in a circle with Karsten and Tony Affuso and myself at the first SEU in Huntsville. Karsten insisted I come over there and meet him and I was really hesitant to do so after some of the things I had written. It was kind of strange and no one came to join the huddle so it was just the three of us for quite some time. Tony made clear his desire to beat the pants off of Dassault. He also made mention in reply to a comment Karsten made that the budget he had was his to spend as he saw fit. I left with a different opinion of Tony Affuso. I also noticed that with the changing of the guard to Grindstaff that the desire for SE to beat the pants off anyone was gone from Siemens.

We now have John Miller as head of SE in Karstens old spot. I don’t believe he has contacted a single user. There have been two posts by him at the SE Siemens BBS since he acquired this job. Well let me rephrase that. There have been two posts written for him. No one talks that way and I have been around long enough to see deception as blatant as those were. So the new guy could care less and has not evinced one iota of interest in SE’s users or future. He is a place holder by his very actions as far as I am concerned and this is not the sign of a company that wants SE to thrive.

Absolutely no mention of SE in any of the major Siemens Software grants I can see. I have asked for breakdowns of some of them and no one will provide them. I do see lots of high dollar Siemens NX and PLM Teamcenter related things though. Is SE in there? Who knows but for sure Siemens does not care to say so if it is. WHY?

SE has a custom car building kit thing of some sort. No it is not Local Motors it is a purely academic thing. The link evades me right now and I am not going to bother to look it up. I think however it is mainly the result of caring people inside of SE’s educational branch doing what little they can as they can. Siemens has not and wont be getting behind this in any major way I believe. Think about it. When was the last time you saw any pervasive long-term acted upon marketing strategy for SE? That’s right there has been none and this is solely because UGS and then Siemens do not want to allocate funds to something not important. You would not believe the fights that went on over stupid turf things with UGS and Siemens people where rational profit seeking corporate decisions were out the window. It is not like SE sells into the same market but try to tell the UGS and Siemens dudes this. Back to UGS veterans don’t like SE and until they go or have a change of heart forget it.

I admire the stance Carl Bass has taken with Autodesk. He has made long-term plans and bought control of key pieces for this and looks I believe decades into the future for the seeds he plants today. Siemens plants no seeds for SE and makes no acqusitions to bolster it and can’t even be bothered to vet the only major manufacturing integrated app SE has ever had. I am talking about CAMWorks of course. I don’t care about rendering and all that stuff I make parts. All design software has to make parts at some time to have a reason to exist. When Karsten left and SE was in Siemens loving hands CAMWorks went to crap. I to this day don’t know how much of the problem with CW4SE 2015 was with lack of co-operation from Siemens SE. But I do know that development budgets for SE are not what they should be and some top talent has been taken from them and put on the Siemens side to boot. So we see here intent by Siemens. Take good people away and make funding problems and do not pursue an integrated family of aps for SE. So just how does this indicate concern for SE’s future and yours to if you are a user might I ask?

There has never been a real aggressive marketing campaign for SE since ST1. I came on board just as ST1 was released for $3,000.00 and that bought one years maintenance and SE Classic. The main reason was to get SW users but if you really dug they would take any equivalent design package for this. This has not happened since then. I knew some people who wanted to do this but their hands were tied. Why when SW was doing all they could to give sales to SE for a few years did Siemens not take advantage of this? Perhaps what is going on in places in Europe right now might be a clue. SE can’t I guess discount beyond a certain price. I would imagine there are corporate hoops to jump through to do this. NX however is discounting to whatever level is necessary to clinch sales from, you guessed it, SE. Is this the hallmark of a company that might care about the future of SE or is it part of a plan to slowly subsume SE users into the NX side of things? In any case is there any sound fiscal reason to do this to part of your corporate body that could be making a lot more money for you? I don’t believe or subscribe to the idea that SE and NX serve the same basic markets. There is a place for both and not a whole lot of overlap. But for seven years now SE has not and never will do what was done for ST1 and I believe it is a deliberate choice by Siemens to not allow SE to thrive like it should. But apparently it can be allowable for NX. Why? I still remember the post by a major US VAR Saratech touting how easy it was to learn NX over SE How did this bit of insanity ever even see the light of day except for the culture Siemens and UGS have created for SE to reside in. Funny thing about this post. It has been read more than any other past posts the last couple of weeks and I wonder why?

I remember sitting in an office in Huntsville talking to one of the marketing dudes who now works for Siemens and not SE. He belongs there to as far as I am concerned. I asked him why there were no spots made for bloggers and people who might give them favorable publicity at the SE Universities. I would have like to get a free pass for myself to no doubt but my main reason for asking was to try to get them to bring in bloggers that would give them press. His response was that this was too expensive to do. A short time SE employee sat there and heard this with me. We left and the comment made by the employee was that was just so wrong on many ways.
“You should NEVER tell a customer to their face they are not worth it”. I just shook my head sadly and said you see what we have had to deal with? This employee did not stay there long and left because it was clear Siemens did not intend to see SE thrive. Why stay at a dead-end? Subsequently that same year over fifty percent of the attendees were Siemens employees who were not going to write any press releases, not publish one blog post nor in any way do the good some free passes to bloggers would have done. Vacations for result free Siemens Employees however were dollars well spent. Is this the way an outfit that cares about the future is run?

Siemens promoted Dan Staples to be above the day-to-day management of SE he used to be in. Dan is brilliant as far as I am concerned but he is not a trench warfare fighter for SE who will battle corporate like Newbury and Cooper did. When Siemens promoted him they took this guy who was responsible for so many good things at SE and pulled him out of the real hands on loop. I hope he is making a lot more money now but as an SE user I have to say that I miss him in his old spot like I miss Newbury and Cooper for the same reasons. There is a dynamism certain teams have that can’t be easily replaced. They can however be easily dismantled by corporations that do not care. Like Siemens. I figure like Karsten and Don Dan will get fed up with seeing the thing he loves dearly wrecked by Siemens and he to will leave one day. Or acquire a trench warfare mentality and be told to leave because SE is not a part of the plan. How would you like to be in his spot with this great thing and then see it hidden under a rock?

CAMWorks for SE. Before I burned my bridges there with Geometric’s US guys I remember a conversation I had with a big wheel. He wondered why I had stopped blogging about SE and had started complaining about corporate and marketing. I told him exactly why and this was shortly after Don Cooper left. I explained to him what my suspicions were about corporate sabotage of SE and he said that could well explain why they were having trouble getting co-operation from SE. Like I told him Siemens NX people would rather we just buy Cam Express even though it was not truly integrated. I have to wonder how much of the 2015 CW4SE debacle blame should be allocated to which side. For sure Siemens is partly to blame and is this the action of a company that cares about what the SE users have to make a living with?

Speaking with some attendees from last years SEU in Atlanta. The general consensus was that Chuck Grindstaff did not want to really be there. Considering what is going on with SE I think these guys are spot on. You do not have to be present in a room where decisions are made to be able to discern what decisions have been made. The actions corporate officials take in so many ways telegraph what is going to be. I tend to think this was another indicator and since this was followed up with the appointment of John “Place Holder” Miller and the loss of Karsten do you have any doubts here about the veracity of the SE users observations regarding Grindstaff’s apparent disconnect? I don’t.

Marketing and Publicity. Where should I start regarding this mess? Or is it really a mess or is it by design? Siemens is eaten alive by rules and regulations and don’t even sneeze without running it by legal first. So we have this aspect of Siemens and it is a worrisome one. The paralysis created by meetings that do nothing and never reach a result is unbelievable. For this alone I fear for SE. Once a policy of neglect and or outright suppression is reached you are not going to change it. Once it has been DECIDED it is carved in stone. When the UGS people poisoned the well for SE I am afraid it will be so for many years. But above and beyond that does a company that wants a division of theirs to succeed spend some money and make a plan to do so? I think so. By the absence of a plan they also indicate their desires. You can go all the way back to the stupid days of Bruce Boes Velocity junk and continue to this day and see an unbroken string of marketing and publicity failure for SE. The reasons are two-fold. One, the UGS guys don’t want SE to make it and 2, Siemens corporate suffers from self-inflicted paralysis and they literally also do not have the ability to formulate and implement a marketing strategy. Thus you see Siemens but not Siemens what in advertising such as it is. Bold generic say nothing about anything but have generalities and say Siemens somewhere in there and you are done. WHOO-HOO!

I was sent a link to a video some time back and the premise of the author was that when a company that is big becomes old to there is a paralysis of bureaucracy that sets in and it stifles innovation. One of the methods to fight this by CEO’s who see this but can’t prevail against it is to buy competitiveness. Buy a lean mean going somewhere outfit and bring it in-house to improve your company with an end run around the killer culture of old, tired and bureaucratic. I have always felt that Siemens bought UGS to improve manufacturing efficiencies and to do so with something they would have sole control over. But now as it is subsumed into the monster what happens to it? Now decisions are in the hands of those who make a living by perpetuating layers of inefficient bureaucracy and they are not ever going to make or allow to be made decisions that might in any way reflect back upon them. And in this culture they are rewarded with weekly checks and almost guaranteed jobs irregardless of performance so in essence they are being trained that this stifling stupidity is right. SE is never going to have a bright future with this paradigm.

I could go on but I think you get the idea. Quite frankly my interest in this whole SE thing has been killed by Siemens and this debacle with Geometrics CW4SE was just the icing on the cake. I use SE now and regard it as my main design tool but since manufacturing is far more important in my shop now CAM must and does come first. Is it not ironic that I find myself in this spot with software bought by a manufacturing giant to improve their manufacturing? That I have to leave them and go to Autodesk and get Inventor HSM Pro to achieve manufacturing efficiencies in my shop? I am going to keep this SolidEdging site for some years yet as I believe in what I say and think it should have life on-line. But the desire and excitement all belong to Autodesk now and I will probably startup another blog for that. Hopefully Inventor will be improved enough soon so I can just quit the whole Siemens induced disaster for SE. For now though it is with real mixed feelings I still use SE. I have pretty much decided that I will not be renewing SE as there are just no new exciting things on the horizon worthy of more money above what I already have and I don’t believe in rewarding mediocre corporations with my hard-earned money so Siemens is OUT. I can use SE for years to come after all.

I may very well attend SEU in Cincy this year. It is the best bargain in annual cad conventions and this year it is cheaper yet. If they really end up having it. I will not be going because I am excited nor to make waves but rather it will be to see friends I have made over the years once again before I close the SE chapter of my life.

Thanks a lot you crap heads for doing this to a product I really had high regard for. Pardon my French but it is the way I feel about all this today.

6 responses to “Solidedging and Solid Edge and the Future

  1. Hi Dave,

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now, as well a the Siemens and Matt’s blogs, because I am interested in Solid Edge. I currently work in a company that has a seat of Inventor and AutoCAD 2009 and with all the videos of Synchronous Technology I’ve seen in the last few years and I also tried the trial of ST4, almost everyday I can see thing I could do much more efficiently with Solid Edge and ST than with Inventor, especially since Inventor 2009 is a lot less efficient than the newer versions of Inventor, for the record, I’ve used Inventor 2012 to 2015.

    At some point we will need to do a CAD upgrade, along with major overhaul of the IT infrastructure, I would love to recommend to my employer to go with Solid Edge but there’s some major points going against it. For example,

    – Almost nobody around here ever heard of Solid Edge, so if you need to hire other CAD operator you will have to train them, not so with Solidworks and Inventor, even finding PTC users would probably be easier around here. Colleges and Universities around here are mostly teaching Solidworks of Inventor, so it’s a lot easier to find people at least familiar with the software.
    – No 3rd party software integration. I don’t think I have to say anything more with that one since you know first hand about CAMWorks.

    And from all the post here about how Siemens doesn’t care about SE, it has to make you think, should I just cross out Solid Edge from my contenders? I’m starting to feel that Solid Edge will soon be called the Betamax of CAD software instead of the “Best CAD you never heard of”.

    • Hi Jean,
      I have ST7 and also Inventor 2016 and SE is better by far right now for what I do. But what you say about trained people is so true. I am just 65 miles or so north of the headquarters for SE and not one company around here uses it nor does any school teach it. You can plan on having to train someone to use SE as you won’t in all likelihood find trained people.

      SE has a real place though. If you are a self contained design build shop for MCAD you can’t go wrong. Any major shop with lots of SW or Inventor seats ought to have at least one SE seat just to be able to deal with imported files. Creating families of parts is another great SE advantage but then if you have to export back out to SW or Inventor to fit the file back into your companies ecosystem you are back to dumb solids again. But at least you can do the tricky direct editing with SE and when done send it back and still save time. It is very powerful compared to SW and Inventor in this regard.

      I think Inventor is pretty clunky compared to SE. Some of this is because I don’t know Inventor very well. Some of this is because SE is just the best direct editing modeler out there and this is the only way I have worked for years. You can see what can be done in SW and Inventor though and they are quite capable just not as quick to get some where as SE ST is.

      Inventor Pro HSM is by far the best single bargain out there right now. CAD and CAM everything Autodesk has to offer for $10,000.00 and $1,500.00 each year after. Plus HSM is really sweet to use. The same with SE and CW4SE would run you over $20,000.00 and at least $4,000.00+ each year after and the “bonus” you get for this is a complex hard to use overpriced nightmare CAM program joined at the hip with really great CAD. SE has no worthwhile ecosystem and won’t ever have as far as I can see. Autodesk is planning for the future and is run by someone who gets manufacturing far more than SE or SW leadership does. It is where I have migrated to and intend to stay for some time. There is of course a large ecosystem of aps with Autodesk and trained people all over the place.

      I have no expectations of a bright future for SE. Actions speak louder than words and I have nothing positive to say about the future and wont unless there is a big change of heart with the UGS Siemens guys.

      SE is at least VHS. It will be around for a while even though it will still be the best CAD program you’ve never heard of.

  2. I have no doubt SE is better and less clunky than Inventor, even today I was doing some modification to a few parts, made by somebody else 8-10 years ago, and I couldn’t help but think it would’ve been much easier in SE with ST, with Inventor, a lot of time I have to do a change I have to fix something else. To me, ST seems so easy and intuitive to use but it seems like the future for SE is more uncertain than for Solidworks or Inventor.

    I’m sure it will be around for a while but if it’s going to be only small things fixed or improved here and there while others are really improving their software, it’s only a matter of time until someone create something to surpass SE.

    I know how you feel about the cloud and all that but you have to give Onshape credit for being able to get people excited about their offering, something Siemens clearly doesn’t know how to do about SE. At this rate, soon it will be easier to find people who can use Onshape than SE. Also judging at the response from Carl Bass with his blog post and Matt’s blog sudden resurrection, there are people worried in the other camps.

    Hopefully my employer pulls the trigger on a CAD upgrade before I’m completely discouraged about Siemens direction with SE.

    • Regarding SE. Irregardless of Siemens feeling towards SE there is an important consideration here. You do not have SE at all I gather. Would I recommend you get it? Yes at least one time. What you will have will be tools you can use for years. It will save you time and money. Remember I have been using ST since ST1 so I already have the tools. And the disgust over the treatment of SE. You coming on board fresh into this and you will be amazed at the better workflow. You are already looking and can see the benefit and to me that indicates a need. I am really down on these clowns but I would not be without at least one seat of SE. There are a ton of negatives around SE because of Siemens sabotage but not because of it’s capabilities. And the complete lack of a powerful ecosystem of course. I can’t recommend CW4SE under any circumstance at this time so you are screwed where integrated CAM is concerned. As the pace of improvement with SE slows down and Inventor picks up in a few years there may be at the least parity between them. At that time I would not recommend SE under any circumstance since Siemens is not interested in SE. You clearly know the drawbacks to buying from a company that disdains you though. I am not so sure about the idea of waiting as how many years would you like to cripple your time? At least they have the by the month thing and you can get in there and do actual field studies for efficacy. Don’t cut your nose off your own face is all I am saying. SE is worthy even though idiots suppress it.

      I have no use for Onshape for a ton of reasons. (I have A360 Desktop as part of Inventor Pro and I have yet to sign in. I will do so just for curiosities sake some day but I am not working there.) I also question whether it will ever be what is promised since serious work will always be compromised by poor internet infrastructure for a huge number of us. The need for data seems to increase faster than the throughput of data much less the security issues that can’t be fixed. Stay away from the idea that a whole infrastructure not owned by design software companies will ever yield the efficiencies the “tenants” are promising that the landlord will deliver. We know who owns the apartment. Many people make a ton of money by buzzwords and promises and there is this element of build to a point and sell out for gobs of cash and walk away before the doo-doo hits the fans. However John knows how to drive a customer base and proved it with SW. Perhaps he can do it again but like SpaceClaim he will have to back off the cloud rental only paradigm. Or be relegated to useful for many things but not serious work.

  3. rickmcwilliams

    On the Edge blog has a change in character. It went quiet for al long time, then got active with some interesting posts. Now all post are closed to comment. Something is not good. SE may be working hard to un-market SE.

    • Hi Rick,
      Matt’s On The Edge blog is not his own and operates under the auspices of Siemens. It is the only blog of it’s nature with Siemens and was set in place by Karsten after some serious fights with corporate idiots. Karsten wanted the benefit of utilizing the largest SW CAD blog author in the world as part of his arsenal of SW conquest. Of course Siemens could not have that so it was dormant for some time. I have no idea why it was briefly revived and I thought the articles were good. They have removed my blog link and there have been no new posts since that was done so I figure once again Siemens has listened to the UGS bunch. SE must die or at least be severely curtailed. I don’t talk to Matt any more and indeed no one in Huntsville either. It is just not worth getting them in trouble by association. But anyone with half a lick of sense can connect the dots and see what Siemens policy is for SE.

      It is Siemens and the UGS people that are the problems. The SE guys would LOVE for SE to take it’s rightful place. The despondency with SE people and the VAR’s that rely heavily upon SE income is really getting quite bad and if this goes on much longer the implications for SE are dire. Chuck Grindstaff is the name to remember here. Over the Siemens Software division and responsible for the dismantling of SE as far as I am concerned.

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