Since 1999, Dexcom has been helping people of all ages manage their glucose levels daily with continuous glucose monitoring, allowing them to live normal lives despite their diagnosis. 

To do this, Dexcom provides a wealth of data to users through a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, allowing wearers to take better control of their diabetes. According to Dexcom, data “has the power to make life with diabetes, better.”

 They stand by that philosophy in every aspect of their company. Onshape sat down with Dexcom’s Manager of CAD Engineering Adrian Velazquez to discuss why engineers need to pay attention to CAD data and how Onshape Analytics has been able to help him in his role. 

Velazquez also discusses how Onshape’s cloud architecture and built-in product data management (PDM) allow product design teams to make data-driven decisions.

Adrian Velazquez
Adrian Velazquez

Scaling Up with Data-First Tools

In 2014, Velazquez embarked on his journey with Dexcom and has been an eyewitness to the company's rapid growth – from about 800 employees to 6,000-7,000 in 2023. 

“That’s when challenges started with data management,” he added, “We needed to tame the beast” and look for a CAD and PDM solution.

With a rapidly growing company came new projects with design data, more departments with more people, and more functions. What used to be handled by a single engineering team turned into 12-15 engineering R&D teams that needed to communicate and share data efficiently – a challenging endeavor when relying on file-based CAD, plus traditional PDM software that requires check-in/check-out practices.

At this point, Velazquez began researching different CAD systems to enable the company's data-driven product design goals. As he searched, Onshape Enterprise became the clearer option.

Namely, with Onshape's built-in PDM system (included in all plans), he discovered that users are able to access CAD analytics like no other CAD and PDM platform. With automatic version control, all CAD data history is accessible, viewable, and – most importantly – analyzable.  

The Importance of CAD Data 

Velazquez, a self-proclaimed “data snob,” enjoys that Onshape provides a valuable feature: Trustworthy, detailed data analytics presented in dashboards with easy-to-use tables and charts.

“I’m a firm believer that business and business-process data add value to a company,” Velazquez says. “When you start pulling back and have a high-level view … you start seeing your business like ‘The Matrix,’ where Neo sees the code and doesn’t need visuals. He’s just like, ‘Oh, I see what’s happening.’ To me, that’s what data is.”

Velazquez shared the reasons why data is essential to any company.

Your business is your data. Velazquez explained that analyzing your company’s data is like running someone’s blood work as a doctor. You get to see how your operation is running. 

Data is powerful. He also shares that when you have the right tools when pulling data, you discover correlations, patterns, and trends that otherwise wouldn’t be found.

Data should be structurally consistent. “In order for [data] to have value, it needs to be structured. It needs to be trustworthy,” says Velazquez. It’s important to have the ability to organize data and structure it in a way that can be translated into valuable insights the whole team can understand.

CAD Data Before and After Onshape Analytics

When Velazquez began experimenting with Onshape, his team began to see that Onshape isn’t just a CAD tool but also a CAD analytics platform that can identify project trends, bottlenecks, and whether the correct workflows were in place. 

For example, Onshape’s User Dashboard details activity associated with a particular user, including external contractors and suppliers. This report shows what projects a user is working on and which design activities are taking up most of their time. Balancing projects and meeting deadlines is easier when resource allocation can be reviewed and managed for all design teams.

The User Dashboard showing project activity and modeling times.

“You trust the system; you trust that it's tracking who's logging in or what they're doing. Then you can make decisions and trust the data to make those decisions or grab the phone and call someone and ask, ‘Hey, what happened to your project? Why's nothing happening?’” he says.

The built-in dashboards are an added value to his role and the business as a whole, Velazquez says. With Dexcom’s previous PDM and CAD setup, he recalls spending months trying to model data in a useful way, then weeks trying to present it through their website. Now, with Onshape, design information is available right on the platform.

As another example unrelated to Dexcom, University of Toronto Professor Alison Olechowski has been using Onshape Analytics as a research laboratory. In one study, her team was able to identify four CAD modeling “personalities,” which reveals how engineering teams work together using audit trail data. 

Access to this kind of depth of CAD data can deliver fresh insights for product development teams like Dexcom to achieve faster times to market, improved product quality, and better control over lifecycles and critical deadlines.

‘Over-Excited About Data Analytics’ 

One thing is clear: Velazquez believes data is a valuable resource for any company, and he’s not afraid to show his excitement. 

“As you can tell, I’m probably a little bit over-excited about data analytics,” he says. “It really adds value to the investment of Onshape as a CAD and data management platform.”

Learn more about Onshape Analytics here.

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