CAD software is easy to view today as a commodity: a single set of functions, platforms and tools that every brand delivers with little variation. The truth, however, is significantly more complicated than a first glance at today’s CAD market would suggest.
Much as it has in every other aspect of modern life, the global economy has radically expanded the role of CAD in the larger product development ecosystem. Where not long ago CAD was considered an island, today it is a land connected by many bridges. Marketing, supply chain management, design processes of subcontractors and suppliers, and customer support functions are all increasingly informing product designs as they happen – and require adaptable CAD environments that listen carefully.
The world is changing, and CAD is evolving. When it comes time to consider your company’s next CAD system purchase, consider a few of these factors:
Strategic purpose. Much as the role of standalone desktop PCs transformed in the age of the Internet, so too do CAD systems no longer represent isolated, self-enclosed design functions. By integrating deeply into your company’s other strategic, financial, marketing, and supply chain operations, your CAD platform can serve a much larger business role than simply as a design tool.
Scalability and flexibility. While the core functions of the typical CAD platform may not change much, the world surrounding it certainly does. Choose a CAD system that offers the right balance of open architecture, scalability, reliability, and third-party integration that you need to quickly adapt to whatever the unexpected has to offer.
The Internet of Things. Perhaps no other trend today has the potential to redefine product design as does the Internet of Things. In a future filled with sensor-driven devices and a vast sea of constant performance data, your next CAD solution needs to support deep integration with data generated by many different sources.
Every technology eventually matures, and CAD is no exception. The world, however, is always ready to pose challenges that force us to rethink everything that we know. In today’s increasingly interconnected world, the changing role of CAD has only just begun. See what you need to be looking for when purchasing a new CAD software.