Keynote Addresses Overview

It is so hard to pick out little important bits of information as they fly by in the stream out of the firehose. I was trying to live tweet from Tuesday’s general session, but there are a lot of things I just missed. As I was getting ready to come back home, someone handed me a thumb drive with a collection of presentations. So now I can slow down the flow of information to something I can comprehend and pick out the important bits. A lot of this is from the business side, but it might be important to you to know that you are part of a growing community. In this post I want to single out addresses from Karsten Newbury and Tony Affuso. My next post will go through the presentation by Dan Staples about the new features in ST5 and Insight XT.

If you weren’t there or if you didn’t catch it the first time, here is a rehash of some of what I thought were the most important bits from Karsten’s Tuesday keynote address.

20% increase in R&D staff

300% increase in sales staff

100% increase in marketing budget

30% license growth in 2011

40% growth in US sales first half of 2012

50,000+ downloads of free student edition

After Karsten, Tony Affuso got up to speak. Most of what he relayed to us dealt with Siemens overall, or Siemens PLM big picture. I guess that kind of stuff is necessary, but I found it of limited interest. It’s great to see that the parent company really builds stuff. To me that’s important. Toward the end, he covered Solid Edge specifically.

90% of sales from channel partners (resellers)

Siemens PLM outgrew the overall MCAD market

Here’s a graphic that helps you get a grip on Solid Edge’s place within the Siemens PLM division:


So Solid Edge is one of six business segments. Mr. Newbury seems successful to this point at treating Solid Edge like a small business with the backing of an immense conglomerate. After the mismanagement of previous owners, this is a breath of fresh air.

Tony went on to talk more about Solid Edge directly.

As this information flew through Twitter, several skeptics made various claims that they wanted to see a signed affidavit with the source of this information, or something to that effect. I think this just shows that some formerly overconfident competitors are starting to take notice. SolidWorks used to be a classy organization when it came to dealing with competition, but that era is over.

Solid Edge has used the Local Motors relationship extensively. The relationship seems to be beneficial for both sides. It’s great for Solid Edge to have such a great piece of machinery to display at the show, and the exposure can only be good for Local Motors. The relationship was mentioned prominently from the main stage multiple times. The Solid Edge side of the deal is that you can rent a reduced function version of Solid Edge on a monthly basis with the intention that you use it for learning and for modeling for the Local Motors projects.

Mr. Affuso went on to talk about companies switching to Solid Edge from competitive software, and cited the Develop3D article entitled The death of SolidWorks? where recent turmoil in the CAD industry is said to stretch the limits of credulity.

Most of what I took from Tony’s talk came in the last few minutes. Solid Edge has the advantage of backing from Siemens, one of the most successful companies on the planet. Solid Edge is on a growth trajectory that is gaining momentum against competitors.




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  1. Any mention of CAD definition of geometry? Perhaps a mention of conic surfaces, Coons patches, surfaces with spline edges, C2 continuity, pojected curves, developable surfaces? Does geometry matter to these guys?

    1. The n-sided patch is at least similar to a Coons patch, I think. That was improved in ST5. Lots of modeling and drawing related enhancements too.

      1. A Coons patch is a four sided patch that has especially nice edge conditions so that a shape can be made from a tiling of many patches. The patch is bounded by b-splines and the fill has the properties of ruled surfaces in two directions with the addition of a third order surface.  There are many variations on the Coons patch. The patch will not produce a wrinkle.

        It is possible that the four sided patch is a Coons patch. The n-sided patch is difficult and may have many solutions that produce wrinkles. SW surfaces often produce wrinkles, ripples, tits, hogbacks, butt cracks, and brocolli shapes. I do not want shapes that have undefined, uncontrollabe defective geometry.

        Did the keynote speaker actually mention geometry?

        1. Possibly he was thinking of a Gregory Patch?

  2. Matt regarding the comment about competitors taking notice yes that is true. Especially when someOne starts mud slinging then making big claims about growth and sales without any actual verifiable data to back it up. Siemens don’t publish financials so there is no way to verify their claims.

    It seems they are playing the FUD game while bandying about numbers that mean nothing. Thing is, if you start to go down that path it galvanises the opposition. Already SolidWorks VARs are responding with their own “facts”

    1. So if you don’t believe them, then ignore them. Casting doubt on their veracity without anything to back up your claim is just hypocritical.

    2. You are right Kevin, Dassault do publish their financials – with just enough creative reporting so that you are none the wiser for reading it….its got to be up and up regardless though doesnt it? Every other CAD company is of course guilty of painting an excessively optimistic picture of their future but Dassault would never do that…. Sorry to say I have reached the point of not really caring what SW or their VARS are doing to maintain appearances while the body is lying in state and still less in the middle of a SE blog for orphans. ;)

    3. This has already been refuted by a SolidWorks representative as being a VAR only initiative by this single VAR.  There is also much more to this VAR than what is now obvious by their site.  Look to their history to understand what is going on…

      1. Hey Ken,

        Does this mean they are nearly giving SW seats away to keep sales from SE like I hear they are having to do in Germany?  Maybe one of the German guys will chime in here and give us the lowdown as I have no proof :) . Anyway, send me an email and let me know what you have heard about this VAR. I did notice that Matthew West was quick to chime in with how it was not an official SW thing.

        Reading Matt’s SW blog today and if all the irate long time SW users are a real indicator the proponents of SW are dwindling rapidly.

      2. Ken is right there is a bit of a back story here, unfortunately it is a rather sorry tale. Last year
        Siemens contacted their VARs and asked them to rerun a document stating how they would take the
        SE business forward. Those with good proposals would win the business, all others would loose VAR status.
        I guess the intention was noble but the implementation was a lesson incompetence. Firstly, Siemens didn’t tell their customers that they would be loosing their VAR. As you’ll know I’d you have a good on, it is a relationship not just a business contract. Secondly when they did contact their customers it was so vague it was hardly worth the paper it was written on. So right now you’ve got a lot of VERY unhappy customers who feel Siemens don’t give a damn about them.

        Now you also have SE VARs who have provided excellent service but have been dumped. They are pretty angry and are not about to let all that goodwill go to waste especially as they have been replaced by two NX/Teamcenter VARs with little or no SE experience. So at my clients site they offer to replace the 6 licenses completely free of charge and upgrade one to Premium. If it hadn’t been for some pretty intense work from the new VAR and a conference call with Mr McClure the these guys would have definitely gone.

        Personally I have no trouble believing there have been many defection and it could have been so easily avoided. I hope this is a lesson learned.
        Others may have a different story but this was the experience of all the SE users I am in contact with.

        1. Unfortunate that it was not handled better.

          It is an essential truth that a VAR must do two things really well:  Add Value and Sell.  It is not enough to do only one really well and the other poorly, as the net result is an unsustainable business model…


        2. I remember some of the English guys complaining about this around a year ago or so  now that you mention it. It is a mystery to me why customers in other countries are never offered the support and pricing that we get here in the US. I would think it should be adjusted for currency differences and then whatever taxes various rapacious governments feel they can get away with. I hear this is pretty common for all software and is what SW and Autodesk do to. The other thing is support and it should be the same. There are enough seats in Europe to have a GTAC there too and perhaps one for Asia. Eight hour days equals three shifts one third of the globe apart.

          Perhaps this lesson will change how things are done over there. It is not like customers in other countries don’t know how we are treated in pricing and support and if I was over there it would sure make me mad.

  3. That’s the point Matt. If they do not give out any data how can I or others make assessments? Without data we can only go by what we experience.

    How is it hypocritical asking for them to supply some figures to back up their claims?

    So far from SolidEdge in the last few months we have had a great deal of mud slinging, FUD and claims that when you get below the hype are not all they seem (ref the Helena Labs PR story swapping out just a few seats). When you get below the hype there is no hard data.

    So who is being hypocritical?

    Anyway I’ll bow out at this point. These discussions are getting very repetitive.

    1. Why don’t you take your arguments to a place where there are people who might be able to answer you? Throwing barbs at me about how someone else supports statistics is a pretty empty argument.

      You’ll have to point out where you asked for figures. All I saw was a lot of doubt slinging. Hopefully for your business you have better things to do.

    2. Kevin

      We are not hype, we just saw thru the SW fog (AKA clouds) long before they would really admit to what was going on.  That SW parasolid is being replaced after a storied CAD history.  Like other popular mainstream software packages of their day have gone in the past, (Computervision, IDEAS, CADAM, and so many others, etc…. the list is long).

      And we still do not know what the future holds with SW, so we are not slinging anything.  Just listened to what SW told us and decided that we are not going to wait years for the “software future’s” that they are unwilling to share with us today.

      We needed a ‘solid’ plan for the future to build our business on. 

      We basically got tired of being told ‘everything gona be OK’ ; ‘we will tell you in a few years what it’s called and what it’s gona do and a roadmap, ”maybe”; ‘you will switch when the pain of the status quo becomes to great’; yada, yada, yada

      WE will see in 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 years where we are and who made the best choices.

      All I know looking back 3 years, everyone was slamming SE and sync tech and direct modeling as a retread, that history based was the only way…….. That all changed last year with every major player stepping up with a direct modeling play (including PTC).

      WE made a decision based on facts the ones we could see and the ones that we could not see.  And we are very comfortable with our decision.

      Have a NICE day! :)

  4. So, about these sales in England. Is what I am reading true in that SW gets these by offering ex SE VARs the ability to “sell” free seats of SW to SE users? Does anyone have any clarification on this? Why would a company confident of it’s product have to offer free software to get new customers I wonder.

    I can say one thing about this VAR issue. There were some VARs that were know to show up once a year to collect a paycheck and then gone for 364 days. Part of what was going on, at least here in the States was that if a VAR was not adding value in support and involvement in the user community they were in danger of being told to go somewhere else. The VAR that used to represent Huntsville is a good example. They could write an invoice but that appeared to be the extent of their desire to participate with users. SE actively sought feedback from users as to what they thought of the VARs they were using and an effort made to get rid of bad ones.

    This was perhaps not the sole criteria though as a couple here that were liked by their customers also bit the dust much to the customers irritation. Is it not strange that in life it is so hard to get the real information on what really happened?

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