The Synchronous Technology Effect on Solid Edge

I was fiddling around with the download statistics of SYCODE’s Solid Edge add-ins today and noticed that a third of the Solid Edge users that tried our add-ins were still on V20. That’s the version before Synchronous Technology came out.

Siemens released the second generation of Synchronous Technology about five months ago. So I pulled out a report of our Solid Edge add-in downloads for the last five months. This is what it looked like.

  1. Solid Edge V20 (33.09%)
  2. Solid Edge ST (19.51%)
  3. Solid Edge 19 (15.68%)
  4. Solid Edge ST 2 (9.63%)
  5. Solid Edge V18 (9.38%)
  6. Solid Edge V17 (5.31%)
  7. Solid Edge V16 (2.35%)
  8. Solid Edge V15 and earlier (5.05%)

Like I said before, these figures by no means reflect the actual state of the Solid Edge user base. Rather they very accurately represent the part of the user base that has tried SYCODE’s Solid Edge add-ins. This is just a very small sample of the total Solid Edge user base and I have no way of knowing whether it is a good or a bad one.

Anyways, for discussion sake, let’s take these numbers at face value. I am not surprised that ST2 comes at number four because understandably it does take time for users to get around to deploying a new version of a product. But I am a little surprised that only a fifth are using ST. Surprised because Siemens has been claiming since 2008 that “Synchronous Technology delivers up to a 100x faster design experience” among a host of other things. So I am assuming that either (1) my numbers are totally wrong, or (2) Synchronous Technology does not actually deliver a 100x faster design experience. Because I simply cannot for the life of me accept that Solid Edge users are stupid enough to continue to work a 100x slower than what they could with Synchronous Technology.

As it turns out, for the last five months, the most popular version of Solid Edge that my customers and prospects have been using is V20, a version that is two years old and is devoid of Synchronous Technology. Which brings me to my question. If Solid Edge users themselves have not being very eager to dump their old slower version of Solid Edge and move to the allegedly 100x faster Synchronous Technology, how successful has Siemens been in getting  Inventor and SolidWorks users to jump ship and adopt Synchronous Technology? Did Synchronous Technology indeed have the intended effect on the mid-range MCAD market? Or is a year and a half too less a time to see the effects of Synchronous Technology?

And then of course, all these questions may very well be worth as much as my numbers are.

  • robcohee

    My take on this is that users HATE loosing anything that they may have put onto a design. (Hate is a strong word, so I'll use Dislike…) They dislike loosing the drawing file associated to an MDT model, dislike loosing dimensions from dwg files for use in a new 3D part, and they most certainly dislike loosing an engineering level of control with parameters when they move from a parametric part to a direct modeling application. All of these statements are void of personal bias toward any one product. It's just something I've heard from customers for many, many years when it comes to loosing parameters in an MDT part when converting it over to Inventor, same with drawing files and so on. To me, it's not that direct modeling isn't sweet, because it is, its that users don't want to loose the possibility of having a tighter, more parametric level of control where and when needed. What is needed is a balance of parametric modeling and the ability to allow users to use a direct modeling application on the same file, then bring it back into the parametric modeler to analyze the changes – approve or reject the changes and then update the parameters. Hmmm, I know a guy, who showed me something like that… [grin]

  • Deelip, are you stirring the pot or what!? 🙂
    Yeah, I think this analysis isn't really fair to ST. It may not be the smartest move to toss out a number like 100x (even if it's true) because people either won't believe it or simply because it's 100x on some things and 1x or worse on others… too easy for anyone with an agenda to poke holes either way with a single example.

    I think we're just seeing the standard adoption rate for MCAD versions. I'm surprised you're only seeing SolidEdge users being only 2 years behind the current version. Companies using Pro/E are usually far behind that, for example.

    To Robchoee's points, I think there are different groups of users out there. The one's that will feel like they are “losing something essential” when history disappears are the ones who bought Solid Edge or Pro/E or SolidWorks with a detail design focus in their job description. In other words, they are looking for a more rules-based, documentable end result. I still think history-based CAD is better on that end of things, so those people probably won't even want to dip into the Direct Modeling end of things anyway.

    BTW: In general, I don't see much value in trying to build som sort of artificial intelligence into mapping changes from a history-free process back into a history-based model. Just too many ways for that to fail to be useful is my prediction. I think this is the part where you need a skilled history-based CAD guy to figure out the best way to incorporate these unplanned changes into the traditional CAD layout.

  • danstaples


    I think your original post says it all –> “By no means do I claim that the above data is a true representation of what is actually going on in the CAD world. This is just one month’s data of the people who have managed to find”

    But people tend to gloss over this and tend to take it as a representative sample. Based on the data I have, it is not representative of the Solid Edge base.

    I will point out that my exposure is primarily to maintenance paying customers, so my data is admittedly skewed in that regard. Like I can't recall the last time I've had any discussion about V15 or something like that.

    When it comes to “recent releases” — which I would say are V20, ST and ST2 — I can give you some insight. Bear in mind the following key premises when reviewing this:

    1. Large users are slow to move, regardless of “goodness” of a current release. It just takes too much time and effort for a large user — say 50 or more seats — to move each time a CAD vendor revs the software. So a lot of larger users will skip a release or even two. So with ST2 just released, I would expect larger customers to still be on V20 — just cuz.

    2. With the ST release (and by inference ST2) we moved from the older style Windows ribbon style UI to the new Office ribbon UI. This is a pretty religious topic as I'm sure you know and will definitely delay some adoption of the latest releases — people don't like change — and to be fair, our first release of this with ST had a few warts that were corrected in ST2.

    So the current state of affairs is that a minority (but not insignificant) number of people are still using V20, particularly the larger accts who as a rule just move more slowly. A small percentage of users are using the initial ST release – -most of these have moved directly to ST2, since its just better across the board and they've already taken the UI plunge. And a growing majority of users are using ST2 – including some that had been sitting on V20 waiting for us to sort out some of the bumps in the new UI. In fact, the adoption of the ST2 release has been amongst the fastest I recall in the last 10 years.

  • Jeff,

    Who me? Stirring the pot? Naaaaw. I'm a good boy. 😉

    One of the questions I asked was whether a year and a half was too less to see the effected of Synchronous Technology. Looks like you are saying “yes”.

  • Dan,

    True, I am sure the new ribbon interface did play a role in deciding whether to move to ST or not. But the ribbon is an old story now and I guess most have come to terms with it.

    I find it quite interesting that you can't recall the last time you discussed V15. I get to talk to these customers every now and then. But like you said, you primarily deal with subscription customers only and I doubt there will be one still on V15.

    You rightly call V20, ST and ST2 “recent releases”. I find it quite odd that 38% of my customers/prospects are not using them. But then I guess that is a problem faced by all CAD vendors, not just Siemens.

  • DanBana

    I believe that Dan Stamples got the point. And I think we are facing a cultural paradigm by being the first, or rather, the most significant to launch the technology of direct editing in the MCAD market. In my opinion we'll need more time to tell the real effect of Synchronous Technology into the market.

  • Frank

    “What is needed is a balance of parametric modeling and the ability to allow users to use a direct modeling application on the same file, then bring it back into the parametric modeler to analyze the changes – approve or reject the changes and then update the parameters.”

    Try NX for this. You'll love it.

  • Frank

    Maybe you should also wonder what percentage of the people using ST1/ST2 actually make use of Synchronous Technology.
    I believe THAT is the question you should be asking. I think that only a minority actually uses Sync on a daily bases. The GUI issue is just a small one compared to the practical use of ST.
    That is of course a statistic that is even harder to get a hold on.

  • nileshb

    where solid works is using