Buying a CAD system isn’t an impulse purchase. It’s one of the most crucial decisions your company will ever make.

In the early days of CAD’s development, the software and hardware were remarkably expensive compared to the salaries of the engineers operating them. Before the age of personal computers, a single seat of CAD might cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, including the specialized hardware. Engineers, meanwhile, were paid a fraction of what they are paid today. As PTC Executive Vice President and Onshape founder Jon Hirschtick notes, companies used to have “one super expensive computer surrounded by a lot of ‘cheap’ engineers.”

Today, that situation is reversed. Regardless of which CAD system you are using, your company’s investment in engineers is far more costly. So, the looming question becomes: How do you best maximize every hour of your engineers’ time?

To help you decide which advanced modeling and design data management tools are the best fit for your company, “Modernizing Your CAD: 7 Criteria to Consider” is a convenient and comprehensive guide to jumpstart your evaluation process. Today, more product development teams are witnessing the hindrances of file-based CAD systems. This buyer's guide offers cutting-edge expertise on what questions to ask when weighing the pros and cons of updating your company's CAD platform.  

Think of it as a cheat sheet for what to ask professional 3D CAD vendors when they’re demonstrating their products. The guide explores the most important criteria to consider when comparing one system to another, including how to evaluate the:

  • Parametric Modeling Tools – How does the CAD system handle tough design challenges and does it improve how I’m doing things now?

  • Interface – More buttons doesn’t always mean “more useful.” How does the system fare in terms of ease-of-use, productivity and accessibility? How does it facilitate collaboration?

  • Total Cost of Ownership – When calculating your budget, consider all the direct and indirect costs associated with each system, including: software, hardware, IT demands, and how productivity impacts your time.

  • Available Support From Your CAD Vendor – What resources are available for technical support, onboarding and training, and community support?

  • Process for Keeping Software Up to Date – How often is the system upgraded with bug fixes, new features and enhancements? What resources are required to keep up to date with these upgrades?

  • Full CAD Ecosystem – Once you complete your modeling, your job is far from over. Where do you find engineering apps for testing and optimizing your designs? How can you customize your CAD system to your company or industry?

  • Security and Reliability – How are you protecting your intellectual property (IP) now? How does this CAD system prevent or reduce data loss, theft, and file corruption?

The more skeptical side of you may wonder how a CAD company can provide objective advice on evaluating their competition. I understand the initial raised eyebrows. I’d be wary of a “Cola Tasting Guide” put out by Coke or Pepsi. But make no mistake, we’re not objective. We believe Onshape is the best modern product development platform for your company, whether you work for a brand new startup or a multinational corporation.

The reason we’re providing these tough questions – just as valid for evaluating any CAD system as for judging the merits of Onshape – is that we expect to continually earn your business. There’s no value in making any promises you want to hear, and then you being unhappy tomorrow. We want you to be partners for life.

As a Software-as-a-Service platform that introduces new CAD and data management features and enhancements every three weeks, Onshape is never standing still – depending heavily on you to help us make your job easier and more productive.

So grab your free copy of the “Modernizing Your CAD” buyer’s guide today. CAD is the backbone of your company. Whether you’re considering switching CAD systems or buying one for the first time, it’s a business-critical decision that will impact everything you do.

This post was originally published on 03/17/2018 and updated on 07/07/21