With instant provisioning and deprovisioning, Onshape can help your company’s design team be more agile.

Real-Time CAD Deployment is Essential for Agile Teams

By Jon Hirschtick / October 26, 2016

“I don’t have time for that anymore.”

That’s what a frustrated engineering manager at a Fortune 500 company recently told me when discussing how long it takes his IT department to deliver a new computer and then install traditional CAD and PDM software on it. He oversees machinery design and there’s a 2-to-3 week wait to bring new team members on a project. The engineers are ready to go, but the design tools are not immediately available – even at one of the most successful companies in the world.

This is one of the core reasons why Onshape was created: Whenever a new person is added to a design team, he or she can instantly get started. The moment they are assigned to a design project, contractors or employees can dive right into CAD and data management, on all of their computers, phones, and tablets. The project manager just opens Onshape’s admin page and types in the new person’s email address. In 30 seconds, that person is ready to CAD!

This real-time instant deployment is essential for Agile Product Design, a new process that many forward-thinking companies are adopting to speed up the design and manufacturing cycle and boost innovation. Agile designers strive for rapid iteration, tight communication between distributed teams and the flexibility to respond to changing circumstances versus following a rigid plan. It’s a collaborative process relying on customer feedback to prioritize design changes and improvements.

Today’s design and manufacturing teams differ dramatically from the past, when people were more likely to work under one roof, worked on only one computer and pretty much worked with the same colleagues. In contrast, today’s teams are likely spread between multiple locations, with everyone using multiple devices – and members can change frequently, including more contractors, vendors and other partners outside the organization.

That’s why Onshape makes it easy to pay for your whole team in a single Onshape Professional or Enterprise subscription. Just check the “Company” option on your Onshape billing screen. You simply pay monthly or annually for the number of users you have – no license fees or codes ever.

When I say that Onshape gives everyone instant access to CAD and data management the moment they join the team, what do I mean by “instant?”

I mean instant.

All you need to do is type in the new CAD user’s email address on the Onshape Companies page, click “Add,” and – BOOM! – that team member can start designing right away:

To fully appreciate the massive amount of time saved with Onshape’s real-time CAD deployment, consider the traditional way of adding new CAD users to a team.

The Old Way of Adding Team Members (Using Traditional CAD)

The first step in provisioning a new computer with installed CAD software is determining if you need another license code. Do you have fixed licenses or floating licenses, which allow multiple users to share? If it’s floating licenses, are there going to be enough licenses to go around now that your team is larger? If you need to buy a new license code, you have to place a purchase order that could take days or weeks, depending on the responsiveness of your Value Added Reseller (VAR).

Once you have the codes, you have to get the software installed, which can take several hours (and that’s just for one device!) Once the software is installed, you’re not done. You now have to copy your files on there. Optimistically, if you have all your codes, you might be able to do this in a day.

But all that’s when you’re adding a new team member onsite. What happens when your contractor in Omaha or your colleague in Buenos Aires needs CAD and PDM software and files? It’s even more complicated, costs more money, and takes more time.

The beauty of Onshape is that everyone gets immediate access to the full CAD and data management system and their CAD data with no licenses, codes, installs, file copies or VARs getting in the way. You know what else it doesn’t have? Waiting.

Everyone is Always on the Same CAD Software Version

Let me share another frustrating experience from a manufacturing executive who recently had trouble collaborating with a European vendor and an American customer. He was working with the 2014 version of their CAD software, his vendor had version 2015 and the customer had version 2013. “I have to spike my team for a few months because of a peak project load,” the executive told me. “Am I supposed to buy new computers, install the software and license codes, when everyone is on a different version of CAD?”

Provisioning is complicated enough without having to worry if partners can read your files. With Onshape, everyone is always on the same version of CAD – the latest one. Regular updates are done automatically in the cloud every few weeks.

Deprovisioning Team Members & Protecting Company IP

For understandable reasons, managers often focus heavily on the beginning of a job and what it takes to make their deadlines and deliver quality results. But what about the end of the project? What’s the best practice for saying goodbye to temporary team members?

With traditional CAD and PDM, there are multiple copies of files spread amongst multiple computers. Everytime you share a CAD file, you inadvertently create uncontrolled copies of your intellectual property (IP). Think about it: Once you click “send” on an email, there’s no way to call it back. Once your CAD files are copied onto their computers, you have no way to know if they ever get deleted when your project ends. Even if your contractor has no nefarious intentions, you have no way of knowing if their work or home computer networks are secure. There’s no way to know how many copies of your CAD data are out there.

Onshape has no files and no copies. Your CAD system and CAD data live in the same central place in the cloud, meaning you’ll always have only one version of the truth. And because there is only one version, you’ll always know where it is – and can control who can view or edit it.

On your Onshape Companies admin page, you can instantly deprovision team members as quickly as you added them. When the project is over, you can remove their access to CAD data and software, reducing the chances of an inadvertent security leak. All you do is click the “X” next to the same email address you entered when you added the member to the team:

At every stage of a CAD project – launching a team, increasing or decreasing staff, responding to deadlines, working with vendors and deprovisioning – Onshape can help your company become more agile. To learn more about real-time CAD deployment, watch the video at the top of this post!

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Topics: Industry Perspectives