Maintaining two different PDM products that do virtually the same thing does not make sound business sense, especially if they came through acquisition and have no common ground or compatibility. This is the situation that many CAD companies have found themselves in over the years. Any decisions to consolidate multiple product lines should not be taken lightly, but in the interests of cost savings and profitability, these decisions are made all too often.

If you are a SOLIDWORKS® Workgroup PDM customer, then no doubt you have been informed by your reseller that your product is being retired at the end of this year. This should not come as a surprise – the push to migrate everyone to SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM has been going on for some years.

While Workgroup PDM does have its limitations in terms of capability and performance, customers love its simplicity and ease of use. So being forced to change the product you’ve used successfully for many years, for little or no benefit, is a bitter pill to swallow. You are being told to migrate now or risk being left behind.

Of course, this is pure speculation. There may be other reasons for this forced migration, but that doesn’t help the thousands of companies that find themselves in this quandary. To add insult to injury, migration comes at a cost in terms of both time and money. Your reseller is a small business and cannot afford to have engineers onsite to carry out lengthy data migrations and troubleshoot issues for free. The cost of migration has been made less onerous with the introduction of a “free” cut-down version, SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard, but the compatibility issue remains as well as the additional costs for implementation and training.

If you keep seeing the warning above, you have a number of options:

  • Migrate your data to SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard
  • Migrate your data to SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional
  • Do nothing and stay on your current release

The first two options incur significant cost and risk. If you haven’t already received a quote for the migration work, make sure you’re sitting down when you do. Because of the incompatibility between products, data must first be exported, massaged, then carefully imported into the new system. Depending upon the amount of data you have, which could be hundreds of thousands of files, and how complex your release procedures are, the costs can vary significantly.

The third option may or may not be viable and can have unforeseen consequences. You can stop paying your subscription fees and stay on your current release. However, compatibility with customers and suppliers on a later release is a real showstopper. If you stay off subscription too long and later decide to upgrade, you’ll be hit with a bill for each year you’ve missed. Whatever you decide to do, it’s going to cost big bucks.

Another option to consider is switching to a new CAD system altogether, to a more modern, cost-effective solution that eliminates the headaches of traditional CAD, PDM and file management.

Onshape is an enterprise-grade, full-cloud 3D CAD system that requires no downloads, installs or service pack updates, no expensive workstations, no IT infrastructure, and no PDM software. Everyone works on the latest version of the same CAD system and the same CAD data at the same time, on any available device. This makes collaborating with team members, suppliers and customers, a breeze – regardless of which CAD system they use.

Please watch this video for a more in-depth discussion on this topic.

So, before you sign that PO for SOLIDWORKS PDM implementation and training, why not consider doing your next project in Onshape? After experiencing the power of full-cloud CAD, if you do decide to make the switch, your existing SOLIDWORKS and Workgroup PDM investment will still have a role to play. Your many years’ worth of design data created in SOLIDWORKS is priceless, so keep one or two licenses off subscription to maintain and access older legacy projects.