Since 2016, we’ve been sharing the top pains felt by professional CAD users sick of jumping over software hurdles while doing their jobs. 

In order of annoyance, the most common complaints are:

  • “I’ve lost data due to crashes.”

  • “I cannot edit on the road.”

  • “Not everyone on the team and suppliers are on the same version of CAD software.”

  • “It takes a long time to configure a computer and install CAD software on it.”

  • “The fees I’m paying for CAD & PDM licenses, maintenance, and hardware.”

  • “Dealing with license codes and registration hassles.”

  • “The biggest problems I have is its A) Super laggy. Just waste a lot of time waiting. B) Constantly losing connection.”

While times have changed since then, many of the same complaints remain even as more “cloud” CAD solutions are made available. 

According to the survey results in The State of Product Development & Hardware Design 2023-2024 report, on-premise CAD issues related to accessing design data result in almost a whole workday’s worth of lost productivity.

The report asked more than 1,400 engineering and manufacturing professionals worldwide about their biggest challenges in product development, how they’re solving them, and what tools they’re using to improve processes.

While identifying the pain points with on-premise CAD, like SOLIDWORKS, the report also found that teams are shifting toward cloud options, like Onshape and 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS. However, they are encountering a different experience depending on the cloud architecture powering each platform.

Shifting to Cloud CAD 

Back in 2016, we wanted to find out why users moved away from on-premise CAD, like SOLIDWORKS. So, we asked CAD users who switched to Onshape from an on-premise CAD system why they moved to a cloud-native CAD.  

Here are a few selected responses from the 2016 survey along with a few reviews from G2 published in 2024:

  • “Affordable solution that provides the level of functionality and reliability that I need without the initial sticker shock that goes along with most CAD software packages.”

  • “I believe it’s the future.”

  • “To have my own professional CAD capability no matter where I work.”

  • “Being able to collaborate with someone offsite.”

  • “I like the ease of use and revision retention.”

  • “Flexibility of the work environment is important to us.”

  • “It makes my work easier.”

  • “It’s cool.”

  • “Not having to worry about crashes and auto-saving/infinite undos are amazing.” 

  • “Well-implemented product with an uncomplicated UI and the features you need.”

Now, in 2024, other CAD vendors are catching on by offering cloud solutions – like 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS – and are encouraging users to adopt their cloud solutions.  

In fact, The State of Product Development report found that in just the last three years, the number of mainstream CAD users relying on newer cloud products almost doubled from 15.9 percent to 28.3 percent. 

However, as the report also notes, the nuances of the cloud architecture powering CAD systems are creating different experiences underlining one basic fact: Not all cloud CAD systems are built the same. 


According to The State of Product Development, teams are more satisfied using cloud-native CAD (Onshape) tools than teams relying on other systems.

Why? Onshape was built from the cloud up, placing the cloud at the center of the platform. So don’t be fooled by cloud-hybrid solutions

Most cloud-advertised products are really traditional desktop CAD systems at their core, still based on copying files and storing them in the cloud. 

Aligning with User Needs: Onshape's Commitment

As the industry shifts towards cloud CAD, Onshape stands as the 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS alternative, driven by a commitment to making users' lives easier.

We’re here to make your job easier by helping you build better products faster in the cloud; empowering you to work from anywhere on any computer; and getting rid of the hassles of IT, installation, upgrades, and licensing.

With Onshape, the future of CAD is here, offering an innovative and reliable alternative to 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS for engineers and designers alike. We even have a CAD Data Migration Station to help you on your journey. 

Get Started Today

Head to our sign-up page to choose the right CAD plan for you and your business.

Content from this blog was originally published on February 25, 2016.