Bertrand Sicot Reinforces SolidWorks Cloud Plans

In a comment to my post titled “SolidWorks Gets A New CEO“, Rick McWilliams asked “Does he have to courage to flush the cloud?“. SolidWorks, its new CEO or its parent Dassault Systemes have absolutely no plans to “‘flush out the cloud”. This is quite evident from Bertrand’s post on the SolidWorks blog in which he wrote:

“I am also excited about the technology we’re building with our next-generation platform. The benefits are clear–access from anywhere and with no restrictions on product versions or platforms. Online delivery mechanisms mean that we can provide our products and services in new ways, and give customers the power to work how they want, where they want. In effect, we’ll have three platforms–desktop, mobile, and online. New offerings will be rolled out as they are available but in tandem with existing applications so that customers can choose the option that is best suited to their needs.”

The good thing is that Bertrand is making it clear that all three platforms will exist and users will be able to choose between them. That was a lot of confusion about that in the months following SolidWorks World 2010 where the cloud plans were unveiled (see “The Deafening Silence From SolidWorks On The Cloud“). But recent blog posts from SolidWorks have been aimed at undoing the damage (see “Jeff Ray Clarifies SolidWorks Stand On The Cloud“).

Now we can argue whether all platforms will be developed at the same rate or whether one will get preference over the other. For example, in my recent interview with outgoing CEO Jeff Ray, he told me the new SolidWorks will have direct modeling and it will be implemented differently than other MCAD systems because it would not be constrained to Windows, whatever that means. We know that the current SolidWorks is constrained to Windows. So does this mean that it will not be invited to the Direct Modeling party. I don’t know.

Listen up people. These plans of taking CAD to the Cloud that Dassault Systems and SolidWorks have got going on are not going away. I have interviewed a bunch of people in my role as media. I am not a shrink but I think I can read body language to an extent. I think I know when people are giving me marketing bullshit as opposed to when they are saying things they mean and are really excited about. I remember a recent conversation I had with Dassault Systemes CEO Bernard Charles involving the Cloud. The man was at the edge of his seat and his eyes were sparking like a child about to open his Christmas present. He truly believes from the deepest part of his heart that design is going to happen this way in the future. He wants his company to be the one leading the way. And why the hell not?

I was in the audience when Bernard Charles was speaking at the India PLM Summit 2010 recently in Mumbai. During his speech, he recited a very interesting personal incident. His daughter had received a digital rose from a friend on her birthday and he asked her whether that made her happy. She replied that it did. He went on to remind her that it was not a real rose and his daughter replied him that it didn’t matter. What mattered was that her friend had thought about her and showed it in some form. Bernard then asked his wife if she would be happy if he sent her a lovely digital bouquet of roses. She replied, “Don’t even think about it“.

Bernard was making the point that the next generation views things completely differently as the present one. My point is that CEO’s are paid to understand things like these and steer their companies accordingly, not just run day to day activities and make their quarterly numbers. Users have day to day problems that they need to solve. Sure they are interested where their tools are headed. But that is not their primary concern.

How far into the future do you think your CAD vendor is looking? Do you even care? Or are you more interested in getting the bugs fixed and seeing what’s new in the next version? How far into the future are you looking?