Conceptual Design Software Tools

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The importance of conceptual design cannot be ignored. In my experience, if a designer(s) skips the conceptual design phase, they end up modifying designs in the detail design phase to address even basic customer requirements such as look and feel of the  final object or a product. Such changes shift the focus from detailed design delaying the project completion and affecting final product quality.

With no clear industry segmentation of conceptual design software tools and CAD (computer aided design) software vendors claiming that their detailed design CAD software include required capabilities to address the needs of conceptual design phase; it can be really hard to navigate the list of digital design software vendors and select a conceptual design software tool.

Recently, I wrote an article for the CADALYST magazine on conceptual design software tools.

The article also includes a sampling of available Conceptual Design Tools – http://www.cadalyst.com/cadalyst/samplingconceptualdesigntools-19134

Article in its entirety can be found – http://www.cadalyst.com/early-design/conceptual-design/conceptual-design-software-tools-19144 Look forward for your comments/discussions

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Traditional and Newer CAD Licensing Models

Filed in CAD | Cloud Leave a comment

Improvements in software delivery models especially via Cloud have made significant changes in the way content in consumed and priced. The product development industry is not immune to these changes but when it comes to CAD (computer aided design) software there are bigger barriers to delivery as well as consumption of cloud based CAD software. My intent is not to discuss the barriers and ways to overcome those in this write-up, but to layout the existing and new changes that have come about in the delivery and licensing of CAD, in the light of the cost savings offered by  Cloud.

Traditionally there have been two types of licenses based on duration – Perpetual (indefinite use of license once bought) and Annual (limited use for one year duration). Other licensing models include: –

    • Standalone – Licenses are controlled by the computer or seats, they are perpetual licenses. They can be further divided into: –
      • Individual/Per Seat – Sometimes also referred to individual license or licensing provided per individual. Usually a single license is installed with a single serial number for use on one computer.
      • Multi-seat – Multiple licenses on multiple computers.
    • Network Licensing – CAD software can be installed on multiple computers but a network licensing server centrally controls how many users are allowed to use the CAD software. The network license is invoked by each machine which is granted access based on number of licenses bought by the firm. Firms can save on costs by allowing sharing of licenses between users if all users will not be connected to the CAD application at the same time. This license type is also referred as Server Based or “Per Server”.
    • Concurrent License – Sometimes also referred to as Site Licensing. The license is controlled by concurrent usage of a certain number of active licenses from a pool of installed licenses.
    • Corporate Licensing – This method provides unlimited licensing for the entire corporate including its subsidiaries and wholly owned firms.

Lately CAD vendors have introduced new licensing models also known as Subscription, Rental or Pay As you Go etc. While the three names are used interchangeably by CAD software vendors, the onus is on the customers to understand the difference between each vendors licensing policy.

Autodesk’s subscription model is an add-on to the traditional perpetual licensing that promises the users to get an upgrade within the subscription period free of charge. Subscription period lasts for a term, as much as a year. On the other hand Siemens provides a monthly subscription license for Solid Edge. I recently covered Siemens’ subscription model user case study on engineering.com for their customer Felxipump.

I believe we will continue to see more creative licensing options from CAD vendors in near future. Such models will only benefit the CAD users  making the software cheaper and more accessible, but the users/firms need to thoroughly understand the licensing model of a vendor as these newer licensing models can be confusing.

 

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What is PLM (Product Life-Cycle Management)?

Filed in BPM | Enterprise Software | PLM Leave a comment

For sticklers,  here is my attempt at the definition of PLM: –

“PLM is an enterprise software strategy that helps firms plan and achieve product-process innovation from their conceptualization to decommissioning, encompassing people or systems across the value chain”.

PLM has evolved from its origins in computer design, management of product development data, simulation and now taking root in advanced virtual reality. It can certainly be a topic of contention to define the boundaries of PLM.  I think the PLM concept becomes easily understandable if we concentrate on one word i.e. – “life-cycle”. Simplistically, PLM is the management of the entire life-cycle of a product. Lifecycle  is defined as a series of stages through which something (as an individual, culture, or manufactured product) passes during its lifetime.

This simplistic view of life-cycle makes PLM expansive and a bit confusing.  It is undeniable that PLM is an enterprise software strategy rather than just a business strategy. End-users (consumers of PLM) might have a business need that may or may not require end-to-end PLM suite. An end-user might choose more than one PLM software vendor to address their product’s life-cycle.

The question arises, if PLM manages life-cycle of a product or a process. Why can’t we use an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or BPM (Business Process Management) software? The answer is “INNOVATION”. PLM software helps in innovating new products and processes from existing ones. Please be assured I am not talking about Invention, the keyword is “innovation”. If your PLM software implementation has not helped you innovate, you could be better off with customized ERP or BPM software. My focus in this blog piece is not highlight difference between PLM and other enterprise software’s, but to draw some boundaries and provide an understanding in few words to both engineering as well as business audience as to what PLM is really all about ?

PLM What

 

This figure provides a representation of the areas or domains that PLM software covers; each domain is represented in the outer circle like Simulation, Idea Management, Design, Configuration etc. Many PLM vendors specialize in a single or multiple domains of PLM. It may also be noted that certain domains or areas of PLM represented in the figure such as PPM (Project & Portfolio Management)  have roots and applicability outside of PLM, but only their  product innovation based functions grant them to be part of PLM.

I hope this write-up  provides a starting point for a wholesome discussion about the definition and boundaries of PLM.

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