Someone once said to me that Solid Edge was the best MCAD product that you never knew. That someone was a senior executive of a brand rival to Solid Edge. Hardcore Solid Edge users have been bitching on this blog and other places for years about the lack of marketing attention that Solid Edge has been getting. One reader even asked me if I had something against Siemens since he felt I was always writing about SolidWorks or Inventor. I have even heard Siemens employees say that Solid Edge should be receiving more press than it currently does.
I find this odd because Siemens marketing itself has neglected (if I may use that word) Solid Edge for years. Even now with the new branding, Solid Edge is hidden in something abstract called Velocity Series, which by Siemen’s definition is “a comprehensive family of modular, yet integrated solutions addressing the Product Lifecycle (PLM) in the mid-market.” On the other hand, NX has its own product line. I understand that the capabilities of NX far exceed those of Solid Edge. But this is like sending the message that Solid Edge by itself cannot do much and it needs these other things in the Velocity Series portfolio to make it really useful. Nothing is further from the truth.
My point is that Solid Edge is up against brands like SolidWorks and Inventor, whose owners have left no stones unturned to let these products have their own individuality. I have absolutely nothing against creating a portfolio like Velocity series. But from a pure marketing perspective, I would expect Siemens marketing to push Solid Edge individually a little harder as well.
Imagine someone looking to move from a 2D CAD system or a low range MCAD system to a mid-range MCAD product. What does he see? He sees SolidWorks and Inventor being touted by their respective owners as individual solutions and then he sees something called Velocity Series which has PLM written all over it. Sure he may evaluate each one and test them on their merits. Or he may not. But from a purely marketing perspective, I don’t think branding Solid Edge as part of a bundle helps its image.
What’s even more ironic is that some of the important cutting edge stuff is happening in Solid Edge and not in NX. I mean Synchronous Technology was added to Solid Edge first and then bits of it were taken over to NX. I cannot disclose much about ST3 but the story continues along the same lines. I don’t expect Siemens to make Solid Edge their flag ship product. But at least I would expect them is to portray it as a strong pillar that does not need any support. Note that all this is purely about marketing and not about the capabilities of Solid Edge.
While attending the Siemens PLM Connection in Pune I brought up this issue with a number of Siemens executives. Every single one of them was of the opinion that “more needs to be done“. I understand that cannibalization of NX is an important factor that cannot be ignored. In fact, I believe that is the only reason why Solid Edge has been given stepchild treatment for all this time. But that’s where the senior leadership should get into the act and take a look at the bigger picture. Even if seats of NX get cannibalized today, tomorrow it will be much easier to convert them from Solid Edge to NX as opposed to converting them from SolidWorks or Inventor to NX.
I am told that certain things have changed at Siemens and that I should expect to see Solid Edge to be featured more prominently. Common sense dictates that if you wanted to showcase a car you would put it in the spotlight and maybe have a couple of glamorous girls pose around it. You most definitely would not put it in a garage along with all the tools and equipment that you need to get the most out of the car and then put the spotlight on the garage building.