Friday, May 11, 2012

SolidWorks's Dilemma - How to kill a successful product? Part II

No shortage of challenges to SolidWorks for the coming year.

T-Splines, supplement  to  SolidWorks , Now - at Autodesk stables
My previous post, look at the reasons why SolidWorks company stopped most of the existing software development around 2007 and began to develop new software, SolidWorks v6, scheduled to release at the end of the year 2012.

It seems that in its existing SolidWorks reached an impasse. The software was built around the Parasolid Geometric kernel belongs to the great competitor, "Siemens" (NX and Solid Edge software). In recent years, Siemens started to be selective providing users of Parasolid the new innovative technologies like the "Synchronous Technology " . SolidWorks has found itself in an awkward position. Siemens policy puts it behind all the competitors with no technological solution for a real direct editing of geometry. Reliance on Parasolid prevented the development of appropriate.

Last week, Deelip Menezes published in his acclaimed blog that "… for many years Dassault Systems had been trying to get SolidWorks to stop licensing Parasolid as its modeling kernel from rival Siemens PLM (then UGS) " . Deelip Implying that recent personnel changes in SolidWorks, V.P of development and the founder left, are related to that subject. 
Looking back, loss of independence of SolidWorks in "DS" in recent years has left SW very "poor" on the technology side. A technology company can proceed by self-development and by investment in acquisitions and mergers. Look like from 2007, SolidWorks focus only on developing the new V6 software and almost stop to invest at the current software.
Under Dassault, SolidWorks promote negligible number of acquisitions that could gain more value to the product. Significant recent acquisition was SRAC Cosmos analyses software. Cosmos, which was never considered a major player for FEM simulation, not continued to advance technologically under DS / SW and even abandoned challenging technologies like multiphasic, flow and EMS.  Unwillingness to invest resources in acquisitions, leave SolidWorks less attractive. Autodesk for example, made some major acquisitions in recent years including CFDesign, Algor, MoldFlow , Alias and invest on integrate the technology to the to the whole product line , PTC purchases almost every year some new technologies on various issues and continues to invest in developing modules and existing software.

Tsplines software is great example of how SW lost technology to competitors. The company has developed a module for the treatment of complicated geometry of the solid model. The company intends to release an updated module for SolidWorks with Revolutionary surfaces design capabilities. The Acquisition of  Tsplines by Autodesk in late 2011, was one of the most annoying thing to users of SolidWorks. "Why do not you bought them?" Asked a blogger at interview with Bernard Charles, Dassault CEO, "We have these capabilities in Catia" was the response of the CEO. Practice, SolidWorks users do not have access to Catia and not a suitable solution for advance surface manipulations because Tsplines module joins Alias as another powerful tool for Autodesk Inventor and no longer exists for SolidWorks.  
Lack of ability or desire to purchase Tsplines before Autodesk put a hand on the technology illustrates the difficulty to continue to develop, innovate and move forward under DS and to avoid becoming a "baby" Catia with limited capabilities. With V6 version, when the geometry Kernel is from Catia, there are no certainty about the borders between the two and how will Dassault prevent SW to cut a share from the pricey flagship software sales.

SolidWorks biggest challenge is how to keep the users, those who continue to pay annual maintenance and expected technological Advantage, Satisfied. After all, they are expected to get new software with a new interface, different file types and more. What will happen to all the applications, macro, patterns, and engineering information? What happens to customers who invest now in Epdm for their engineering information management? Is the software will remain the same format? SolidWorks management software (EPDM) will also change and will be replaced by Enovia software. What does it mean for customers?
Stephen Wolfe covers in a recent article the transition of customers between two Catia generations, V5 to V6. Hint, it is not a piece of cake, and this is about the same geometry kernel while SolidWorks and SW v6 are two completely different worlds.
the 500  = 7 years subscriptions
The commercial side is also interesting . Consider a customer who purchased SolidWorks Premium in 2007. He probably paid about 10,000 Euro + 2,500 Euro for the subscription. The argument that from 2007 SolidWorks adds no significant capabilities gets a stronger meaning for that client. By the time he will get SolidWorks V6 he already pay for seven years, almost 17,500 Euro!  Is it worth it?

Gal Raz


  1. Thanks for give me some information about this training. Your blog very good. My blog autocad Tutorial Pdf

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. I also agree with your opinion. Solidworks greatly helps improve design innovation