Advocate for better CAD and PDM

Advice on making a data-driven, measurable, and convincing business case for Onshape

Onshape, you’ve heard its cloud-native CAD and PDM platform is a game-changer. But to adopt it, you’ll need compelling justification that clearly explains how switching to Onshape will address your business challenges and deliver big benefits. You need a solid business case for management.

You’ll need it in writing, and since your CAD software just crashed again, you needed it yesterday.

Unsure where to begin? These tips will help get you started.

Tip #1: Expose the Current Challenges

The first step in building a business case is defining the challenges with your current solution.

Being data-driven is critical in this process, and you must provide qualitative and quantitative information regarding the issues your teams are encountering. Especially emphasizing the time and resource costs of those challenges because those translate directly to the bottom line.

For example, much can be learned from the executive summary of a real-world business case by Adrian Velazquez of Dexcom who is transitioning 300+ CAD users across 20+ teams from SOLIDWORKS to Onshape. He has over 18 years of experience with CAD software as a designer and admin focused on maximizing the investment and resources an organization makes in CAD/PDM.

Adiran partnered with his IT organization to analyze support tickets and conduct user surveys. They quantified metrics like the frequency of SOLIDWORKS crashes and downtime during CAD/PDM upgrades to educate Dexcom’s leadership on potential productivity gains of switching to Onshape.

Dexcom CAD Users Survey Results

"When you compile 300+ users across 20+ teams, it turns out they are crashing over 100 times a day."
Adrian Velazquez, Manager CAD Engineering, Dexcom

Watch Adrian's talk at Liveworx: Switching to Onshape: Building a Business Case

The State of Product Development and Hardware Design supports Adrian’s conclusions, revealing that the average engineer wastes 9+ hours a week on CAD and PDM software inefficiencies.

Shedding light on your business's existing challenges will validate the need and urgency to reclaim that lost productivity.

Tip #2: Build a RACI Matrix

Your company’s choice of CAD and PDM software impacts more than the design and engineering team. A comprehensive business case should include outside feedback and address the business's broader collaboration challenges.

You can use a RACI matrix to determine which stakeholders, both inside and outside of engineering, are essential to your transition to Onshape. This will allow you to gather input, address concerns, and gain support from all relevant parties.

  • Responsible: Who completes the project?
  • Accountable: Who owns the project?
  • Consulted: Who provides feedback on the project?
  • Informed: Who needs to be informed about the project's progress?

As your business case progresses, a RACI matrix also provides clarity on roles and expectations, fostering transparency and effective decision-making.

In his Liveworx session, Adrian showed that he was also thoughtful about including other downstream departments that would be indirectly affected by their change in software. “What about document control, quality, operations, manufacturing, and project management.” You can hear more about how he built his business case here.

Tip #3: Outline Your Business Case

Before you start writing, get examples of successful (or failed) business cases within your company and beyond. Adopting a new CAD and PDM solution is a big change, so being knowledgeable about what will work for your company will give leaders more confidence in your transition plans.

When you are ready to document your business case, align stakeholders on an outline that makes sense for your business. Envisioning your final executive summary can help guide your work.

Example Outline Topics

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Current Challenges
  3. Proposed Solution
  4. Risks and Mitigation Strategies
  5. Budget and Resources
  6. Transition Plan
  7. Success Criteria

Example Executive Summary

Engineers and CAD Users experience difficulties collaborating and are constantly impacted by downtime while performing their jobs.

The proposed solution is to transition to Onshape as the primary CAD package. The cloud-native application will include a built in PDM, improve software access, security, traceability, and collaboration and, eliminate the administrative overhead of maintaining the current system (SOLIDWORKS + SOLIDWORKS PDM).

Making the Case for Onshape

While it might feel overwhelming at first, every business transformation begins with an act of advocacy - a leader willing to start the conversation.

For Adrian, leading the transition to Onshape has both benefited Dexcom and propelled his career growth as a CAD champion, "We could quantify and identify a 15% improvement in productivity across our 300+ users. We’ve seen the collaboration give agility in the development and design phase.”

Likewise, you and your company can achieve similar success by leveraging Onshape's cloud-native architecture for 24/7 reliable online CAD and PDM. By following the tips outlined above, you can build a strong case for your company to adopt a modern product development platform that fosters collaboration, enhances productivity, and reduces time waste. Remember, the Onshape team at PTC is here to help you every step on your journey towards greater productivity.

Discover Onshape and start advocating for better CAD and PDM today.

Bring the Power
of Cloud to
your Business.

With Onshape, your teams get a secure, scalable,
capability-rich product development platform
delivered as a reliable service in the cloud.