After making a tremendous amount of noise about running SolidWorks on the Cloud and even showing it on stage at SolidWorks World 2010 in January this year, the company decided to stay absolutely silent on the topic for the next half a year. Not a word. This led to all kinds of speculations from all kinds of people, myself included. The vague statements coming out from senior SolidWorks executives only added fuel to fire and scared the crap out of many SolidWorks customers.
People like CAD managers and administrators are paid by companies to look ahead and plan for the future. For these people, the direction that a particular vendor is headed is important as it guides their decisions. A CAD user’s job is to concentrate on the task at hand and meet deadlines. People above them have other far reaching things to think about.
On the other hand, partners like myself, need to plan things even earlier than users. We need to get our infrastructure and intellectual property in place so that when there is a change in technology or the release of a new one, customers are not left in the lurch.
I was hoping that SolidWorks would break its silence on the Cloud at yesterday’s SolidWorks 2011 launch press event. Ralph Grabowski sent me this note on Facebook, “SW refuses to give us any details. Just more ‘Enovia will be the backbone’ and similar stuff.” I am now beginning to question the wisdom of announcing SolidWorks on the Cloud and then not following it up with more encouraging information or responding to questions posed by its own customers and partners.
Dassault Systemes CEO Bernard Charles didn’t come to SolidWorks World 2010 to drink free beer. He came to announce SolidWorks on the Cloud. His presence on stage was highlighted as an indicator of how important the Cloud was for SolidWorks and Dassault Systemes as a whole. I was in the audience when SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray said on stage, “We have got this working. I wouldn’t have shown it to you otherwise.”
If the whole point of the deafening silence that followed the Cloud announcement at SolidWorks World 2010 was to create confusion and cast doubts on the future of SolidWorks, then the company achieved that with flying colors. If the point was to just get people talking about SolidWorks on the Cloud then they achieved that objective as well. Just that there are so many good things to talk about SolidWorks, quite frankly I don’t see the point in going through pains looking for negative press.