In today’s fast-paced product development landscape, embracing cutting-edge technologies is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. 

This is especially true for cloud-native CAD and PDM systems like PTC’s Onshape – which are revolutionizing how engineering teams design, collaborate, and manage data. But how do you convince your organization to embrace this transformative shift?

Recently, we had the privilege of hosting a webinar featuring two remarkable CAD experts – Senior Animatronics Engineer Chris Whipple from Hasbro and CAD Engineering Manager Adrian Velazquez from Dexcom – who have successfully championed the adoption of Onshape, a cloud-native CAD and PDM system, within their organizations. Moderated by Jon Hirschtick, Chief Evangelist and Co-founder of Onshape, the webinar provided invaluable insights and practical tips for those seeking to drive organizational change.

Here are the highlights.

The Compelling Case for Cloud-Native CAD and PDM

Both Whipple and Velazquez shared their journeys, highlighting the numerous benefits that cloud-native CAD and PDM systems have brought to their organizations. From increased agility and real-time access to CAD data for stakeholders like QA and costing partners, to streamlined workflows and seamless integration of non-CAD files, the advantages are undeniable.

“With Onshape, what really happens is that leveraging both the native cloud architecture and then the SaaS model of a business definitely enables us to change how we work, not just how we design, but how we operate as an engineering organization,” Velazquez said.

Overcoming User Resistance: Navigating Change in CAD Tools

Overcoming Resistance: Winning Hearts and Minds

However, as with any significant change, resistance from within the organization is inevitable. Whipple and Velazquez candidly discussed the challenges they faced, from skepticism about relinquishing control to the perceived complexity of transitioning to a new system.

The key, they shared, is to tailor your pitch to each stakeholder's specific needs and concerns. 

“I really had to sell it up the chain and then get senior management on board and then have it trickle back down," Whipple said. “In that process, it was identifying each of the stakeholders and what Onshape really solved specifically for them, and identifying exactly what the best way to pitch it was for each individual.”

Navigating Organizational Challenges as a CAD User

Organizational Agility and Unprecedented Control

One of the most compelling advantages of cloud-native CAD and PDM systems is the increased organizational agility and control they offer. 

There’s a common misconception about cloud-native systems reducing control. Some believe that moving to the cloud entails relinquishing control. However, in reality, it offers greater control, surpassing what's possible with file-based PDM and copies.

This control manifests in various ways, from the ability to seamlessly manage and merge CAD branches to the democratization of access to engineering data across the organization. 

“A lot more people are getting simple access to the native data source of the engineering design data,” Velazquez said.

Cloud-Native vs. Cloud-Enabled: The Importance of Being Native

Velazquez highlighted a critical distinction between truly cloud-native solutions like Onshape and cloud-enabled alternatives that still rely on legacy architectures and workflows. 

“The biggest differentiator with Onshape is that all other solutions require a lot of the same overhead as an on-premise solution because they're more hybrid, where you still have to have a plugin, you still have to be catching files or uploading files," he said.

This overhead not only introduces potential points of failure but also perpetuates the very inefficiencies that cloud-native systems aim to eliminate. 

As Whipple put it, “Onshape – it just works. It just does it.”

Quantifying Efficiency and Cost in CAD Operations

Integrating with Existing Data and Systems

Of course, no organizational transformation is complete without addressing the integration of existing data and systems. 

Whipple and Velazquez shared their strategies, which ranged from starting new projects in Onshape while maintaining access to legacy data, to evaluating the need for data migration on a case-by-case basis.

“The proof is in the pudding of how Onshape was cloud-native from the start,” Whipple said. 

Additionally, Whipple added, when encountered with alternative CAD options like 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS, it seemed that these platforms weren't originally designed for the cloud and were now resorting to band-aid approaches.

Revolutionizing PDM and Data Management With Onshape in a Cloud-Native Environment

Embracing the Future: Agility, AI, and Generative Design

As the webinar drew to a close, the panelists looked ahead to the future of product development, where agility, artificial intelligence, and generative design will play increasingly pivotal roles. Cloud-native CAD and PDM systems, with their inherent flexibility and scalability, are poised to facilitate this evolution.

“Onshape supports agile methodologies, both formal and informal,” Hirschtick said, hinting at the potential for capital ‘A’ Agile processes in hardware development.

Navigating the Future of Engineering: Generative AI and Cloud Computing

Be a Change Champion 

Thriving in product development today requires innovation at every turn. Embracing cloud-native CAD and PDM systems isn't just a choice; it's essential for unlocking agility, efficiency, and unprecedented control over design workflows.

As Whipple and Velazquez's experiences demonstrate, championing this transformative change requires a strategic approach, tailored messaging, and a deep understanding of your organization's unique needs and challenges.

But the rewards are well worth the effort. By harnessing the power of Onshape, a cloud-native CAD and PDM system, you can unleash your team’s innovation potential and position your organization for long-term success.

Are you ready to embark on this journey? Take inspiration from the trailblazers who have paved the way, and boldly embrace the future of product development.

Design What’s Next with Onshape

With cloud-native tools, teams can
design better products faster while
reducing the overall cost of development.