Balancing Business and Technical Concerns When Buying 3D CAD Software
Buying 3D CAD software – especially if you are replacing an entrenched, comfortable legacy platform – is not a simple undertaking. Finding a balance between attractive business logic and practical, day-to-day technical requirements can be difficult.
A successful plan to shift CAD platforms, however, must find and promote that sweet spot. Fortunately, the worlds of business and technology are not as divided as they seem. By placing the critical questions into a common context for both, you can arrive at a set of balanced and effective decisions for purchasing and implementing your new CAD software suite.
Will this 3D CAD software represent long term growth, or prove to be a dead end?
As design becomes more collaborative across remote locations and more adapted to new market driven movements (such as the IoT/Internet of Things), will this software keep up? Or will it prove to be a costly, difficult to use burden for everyone? How well will it support the growth of your team and design capabilities?
How well will this CAD software fit with your standard design processes?
To be successful in the long term, your new software will need to work seamlessly with 3D CAD data from other solutions. Your engineers will need to be able to firmly integrate the new system into existing workflows. Will the costs of doing so outweigh the potential benefits of trying?
How quickly and reliably will your team realize a solid return on your investment?
Different vendors will offer greatly varying costs, purchasing options, and financing plans. Your design team, meanwhile, will require features, workflow facilitation, training, and probably customization capabilities. Together, these many factors combine into a substantive TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) forecast. At what point will that forecast point to a worthwhile return on your new 3D CAD investment?
Will it do the job?
In all the pressure to cut costs, expand capabilities and achieve productivity, often it is easy to lose sight of the most important question of all. Will this 3D CAD solution actually allow us to do what needs to be done and design successful products for the business?
Can it actually build the geometries that we need to build? Can it handle the volume of data that we are likely to throw at it? Will it support top-down and/or bottom-up CAD design as we require? Does it offer strong simulation and analysis features?
In the end, buying new 3D design software requires an approach that combines both technical and business concerns, and a vision that transcends both. By focusing on the important questions first, the details become much easier to manage – and an ideal 3D design solution that much easier to find and successfully adopt.
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Posted in Reinventing Design