Siemens And John Miller Fail Loyal Solid Edge Users

For those of you who have followed me over the years regarding Solid Edge you know I believe in the product. I believe also that there is a deliberate policy by the UGS people before and after being subsumed by the Siemens bureaucracy to stifle SE because they fear competition for NX.

Solid Edge has had the misfortune of bouncing from place to place and never getting a real chance. Venture capitalists never cared about it and SE went through two versions of this mess. UGS bought SE just to get their hands on Synchronous tech which their talented developmental staff could not create. Of course after purchase there is still a red-headed step child to deal with. Now just what is the classic way of doing so you might ask? That’s right, when company comes over you hide him in the spare room with admonishments to never dare show his face. In public where you must on occasion be seen with this embarrassment make sure he never talks and walks at least five feet behind you.

The moment of hope for SE was under people like Newbury and Cooper who took it serious and they have been forced to leave. The replacement was John Miller. In the almost two years he has been token place holder he has hardly bothered to even convince people he is gainfully employed as head of SE. The stealth manager never communicates with users. Never asks them what they need or want meaning it in sincerity.

Six months have come and gone since SEU 2015. There was a brief flicker of hope by those who attended this event when Miller said the right things and went to the right places and made the right forward-looking promises of greater things to come and we are listening and bigger better community blah blah blah.

I see that there is a tiny user group effort started. Recently a meeting in Huntsville at a group I helped start that was done in spite of silly things from PLM World. There is also a first time ever user group being started in Cincinnati and hosted by Matt Johnson who is a super fan of and a super user of SE. There are promises of more to come. But can I ask this question?

The talk in SEU2015 was all so promising but it became clear month after month that no plans had been laid. Miller must have a mountain of time on his hands because he darned sure spends none with users or publicity or any other thing anyone can identify. He just is and no one seems to be able to tell me just what he is doing to earn his wages. So big ol Siemens and Miller’s stellar proactive user commitments have produced precisely ONE new user group in six months.

Of course with the incredible productivity black hole Siemens is perhaps by their metrics one new group every six months is blazing speed. I can see that even if Miller actually did care it can take twenty meetings just to be able to derive a date for the first initial user group planning meeting. Probably sixty past that to figure out what city to pick next. Combine having a leader that does not want to be there and the stultifying environment Siemens forces decent productive individuals to labor under and you get precisely what we SE users have now. Basically nothing once again and forever. Remember that the touted SE numbers I see most often are claims of around 500,000 users and squat for interactive behavior from Siemens to them.

All talk and no walk Miller. The pace of improvements has dramatically slowed also and while I have no idea what they are going to do for ST9 I suspect the major things will be more “Surface Pro” window dressing and no fundamental serious improvements to the program itself in ways that really matter to CAD output. (SE has been losing some of their top developers to NX for three years now and I doubt highly they are replaced with equal talent.) This is why I stopped my maintenance by the way. I offered to pay what another year was worth to me since I call for support maybe once a year. Ally PLM laughed at me when I said $750.00 and asked how were they supposed to make a living off that. My question was since it is MY money you want and I have to make a living off of it what are you going to do for me since I don’t need support and Siemens is doing nothing of real merit to the product? Funny how their income as a company trumps (Go Trump) my desire to control outgo to worthwhile productive things as a company. Ally figures their position is fiscal reality and mine as a company is not.

No joy or future in SE ville beyond the red heads place in the closet. Once again I will recommend SE to you if you do not already have it. Get it for a year or two and drop it. Use it for the next four or five years or more as I intend to and you will do just fine. (Something Dassault has shown the world with SW when they pissed their users off. Tons of them are making a living with versions years old.) A real big plus besides the inherent power of Synchronous is that as of right now they have no intention of doing the stupid subscription only thing Autodesk has sadly begun.

People if you go for this subscription model for your core design/machine seats you are a fool who will soon discover the joys of larger expenses. Expenses that will never end and can’t be contained because you gave up the only method of containment which is permanent seats. Inventor Pro HSM is the best all round CAD CAM value only if permanent licenses can be acquired. 2015 was not a good year for this user as SE went full red headed step child mode again and Autodesk went subscription only. Both show contempt for users of their products and it saddens me. Talking with a prominent blogger last week and he was of the opinion that he and I grew up in the golden age of CAD CAM and the best user days are gone. I tend to agree

6 responses to “Siemens And John Miller Fail Loyal Solid Edge Users

  1. Hi Dave,
    Perhaps John Miller understands all too well what happens to you if you get out there and do too much for SE – like acknowledging in public it has a pulse. It didn’t take Siemens long to purge his predecessors, radical, dangerous upstarts that they were. Being an ineffectual placeholder or chair warmer is obviously the core attribute to surviving the Siemens culture. I’d call it brain dead but hey some people like those sort of jobs and well jobs are hard to come by these days. Many people looking on at Siemens wilful lack of performance find it a very strange and dysfunctional company to behold though. To be honest it has about the same *energy* as Jeb Bush or is as *stiff* as Mitt Romney (small Trumpism’s there). I imagine visiting head office there would be cobwebs on the desks and it would not surprise me if several of the staff had died and no one noticed or worse dared to do anything for fear of retribution for being too pro active. This seems to be where Siemens is most comfortable in the market place, just occupying space and waiting to die… thank goodness not everyone is of that mindset however. Tomorrow begins now for those that have the heart. Forward upward, each day is a new one…make the most of it.

    • Hi Neil,
      Yes I think you might be right. Now that I look back on events it does seem that Siemens prizes people who do not rock the boat or stand out. What I have been told and what I see is that once you get a job with Siemens you are there for life and make good money. The main things an employee can bring to the table is to look busy, thrive on endless meetings to prove their worth and do nothing that gets your head up in view of the corporate radar. You want to excel and be rewarded for doing good things Siemens is not for you.

      I was out of town last week on a job. Sitting in the hotel breakfast room and in walks a gal with an official Siemens name tag. I had to laugh because of course the first question is Siemens what? Siemens never advertises anything but Siemens and it could be trains, MRI machines or electrical gear. Being curious I asked her what was Siemens doing there and it was equipment training. I did not ask on what because who cares but it was one of those reflective moments to ponder the complete insanity of the corporate Siemens management philosophy. No wonder they are struggling.

      Solid Edge has been assigned a category inside of the behemoth and it is one of shut up and sit in the corner and don’t talk while adults are in the room.

      Perhaps in a few years there will be an upstart to challenge the current crop of major CAD companies. I am going to have a look at Ironcad just for the heck of it soon. There has to be a place to go where customers are wanted. Where they are not expected to be ignored or to function as pay to play chattel. Sad thing is that getting someone to switch is most of the time nearly impossible for many reasons.Dassault and Autodesk in particular are counting on this to inflict financial pain on customers.

      • Yeah I think its worth looking at the second tier. Probably they are quite capable these days and still focussed on customers and providing engineering tools rather than entertainment/welfare etc. I am keeping an open mind about CADCAD.
        In passing can I ask you what is your machinists opinion of these machines ?
        They seem ok to me for smaller tasks and short runs but I don’t have practical experience myself to say. Any thoughts welcome. Looking to diversify from just CAD sometime in the near future….

      • Neil,
        The Tormach owners I know think they are good value and I don’t know of any serious complaints about them. They are entry level though. The people I know personally that have them use them to develop and test new things in house and seem to be happy.

        It is also possible you can find a decent older used true vertical mill for around the same price as a new Tormach kitted out. If things go wrong with the old iron it can really cost you though.

  2. IronCAD is a great product. I particularly like the Triball and their approach to component modeling.

    If I were in the custom automation equipment (selling stock machines with slight customizations for each customer), I’d seriously consider IronCAD. If the “smarts” have been created in each component, a sales person could easily use Compose to design the system on-the-fly during the initial sales meeting, get it quoted, and have the concept practically flow directly to manufacturing with very little engineering or design costs. It’s a very robust software that can handle any design challenge, but I see it excelling in the custom automated equipment space the most.

    The biggest shortcoming is that it has a steep learning curve. The UI is cluttered. There are many ways to achieve the same result (which is nice), but the method used to create the geometry may have unforeseen impact on usability of the data in downstream applications until the user is proficient enough at the software to understand the nuances. But these things are very easy to fix if the company listens to user feedback and has a development team focused on usability. Once these nits are resolved, you are still left with an amazingly powerful modeling program.

    • Hi Scott,
      I am glad you chimed in as I respect your opinions. Ralph Grabowski got me interested in this and you increase the interest. A few years ago I told one of the nearby machine shops who has to use SW because of customer demands about SE. He talked to the SW users at his large customers and they did not say much about SE but did mention that SW feared Ironcad more as a competitor at that time. I don’t know why they said this but I presume it was with some knowledge they did so. I did look then but you are right about learning. I was a big fan of SE then and now and did not care to learn enough about Ironcad to know what it could do.

      What is your experience with Ironcad? Their VAR network seems sparse but the headquarters is in Atlanta and there is a VAR in NW Georgia both not to far from me. I can’t rule out Autodesk going full subscription stupid even though they have promised current permanent seat holders they can keep them for as long as they want. I have become very cynical where corporate promises are concerned. I figure Ironcad is small enough they wont be able to force customers to go subscription and survive and permanent seats are very important to me.

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