I usually don't get too emotional about technology webinars. But the following email, which was recently shared with me by Onshape CEO Jon Hirschtick, hit me like a brick.


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Imagine you’re buying a new car and dripping with anticipation to get behind the wheel. You love the style, you love the horsepower, you love the spacious glove compartment. But then the car dealer sends you an email urging you to take a one-hour class on how to avoid any “headaches that may pop up” while you’re cruising down the highway.

So don’t worry about that grinding sound when you accelerate, the dealer says. You’ll learn how to deal with it at their free workshop.

That’s the queasy feeling I got when I read this email from TriMech, a regional CAD reseller that operates multiple SOLIDWORKS® training centers. In summary, the email asks their customers if they are “nervous” that installing the 2018 upgrade will cause crashes and errors – and promises file management tips for the upgrade to go smoothly.

From a customer service perspective, this email is smart. It proactively tackles problems before they happen and seeks to minimize engineers’ aggravation. TriMech is doing the right thing for their customers by getting ahead of these issues. However, from a product marketing perspective, the email is an unintentional checklist of old CAD’s most glaring weaknesses.

Let’s address the topics of this upcoming SOLIDWORKS 2018 webinar and compare how they are tackled by Onshape’s modern CAD system:

  • “Obtaining necessary files needed to complete the upgrade.” (Onshape has no files to keep track of. Upgrades happen automatically in the cloud. You do nothing.)
  • “Avoiding crashes/errors during the upgrade process.” (Onshape users never experience crashes. If a server goes down, a redundant server picks up the slack and the user never loses a keystroke.)
  • “Copying and customizing files and features for SOLIDWORKS 2018.” (Onshape’s unique database architecture puts your CAD system and CAD data in the same single secure cloud workspace. Onshape has no files and your design lives in only one place. In old CAD, uncontrolled file copies put the security of your intellectual property at greater risk.)
  • “Maximizing new features such as Online Licensing for standalone serial numbers.” (Onshape has no licenses. You can use it on any computer, tablet or phone. No need for CAD users to deal with any administrative hassles.)

So yes, Onshape updates are absolutely painless, but they also happen when you need them. While old CAD systems make you wait up to a year for their upgrades – and require lengthy installation procedures – Onshape updates are implemented automatically in the cloud every three weeks.

What’s included in upcoming Onshape updates is also heavily influenced by customer needs and priorities. You can vote on new feature requests in the Onshape Forums or suggest your own – in addition to using the built-in Feedback Tool to address bug fixes.

We’re proud of dramatically cutting down the wait for new CAD features – and for making those frequent upgrades absolutely worry-free. That’s what you should get from a modern CAD system, and we’ll never stop striving to surpass your expectations.