Predicting Engineering Software Market Trends in 2012 (need your help)
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One thing is for sure, this hasn’t been a boring year for the engineering software market so far! A lot has happened with new entrants in the market and some exciting technology trends. As usual at this time of year, we are asking for input on what comes next. Please take a five minutes now to share your opinions on engineering software market in 2012 and beyond in a short survey, and then keep reading to hear what respondents had to say in past years.

The Research Findings – 2009-2010

Tech-Clarity and Cyon Research have teamed up at COFES (Congress for the Future of Engineering Software) for the last few years to lead a discussion on the future of the engineering software market. COFES brings CAD, CAE, CAM, PLM, and BIM experts (just to name a few disciplines) together to share ideas, insights, and strategies. In 2009 we focused on the economy, leading to these thoughts on how the economy would impact smaller PLM and engineering software vendors. That sparked some heated discussion, with smaller vendors vowing they would survive the storm. In 2010 we discussed the impact of the economy again, and we were happy to say that the smaller vendors reported they had, indeed, stayed afloat. For the most part, at least. We also reported that the channels and VARs were hurt the most in 2009, and were the least optimistic about 2010. Follow the links above for some more insight. Looking back I am pleased at the job the collective wisdom of the survey participants has done in predicting the future of the market. We are not financial experts, but we are all in this every day, many of you more than 5 days and 40 hours a week. We are the market and our opinions matter.

The Research Findings – 2011

What was new in 2011? To close off quickly on the economy, respondents clearly show that their priority for 2011 was to grow. The graphic groups growth objectives in green (which represent the top 4 strategic priorities indicated) and more defensive strategies in red (representing the bottom 5). I don’t think there could have been a clearer picture, and most of the earnings reports I have seen show these strategies are paying off. Even more interesting was looking at how that differed from the previous year, with some interesting shifts. Analysis indicates that companies were  planning to invest, specifically companies were:

  • 67% more likely to hire than the previous year
  • 47% more likely to add new products
  • 55% less likely to “stabilize / “hunker down”

It was clear that not only were companies looking to grow, they were willing to take the brakes off of the business to do it.

In addition to the economy, we looked at what market trends companies indicated would have the biggest impact on their business. There were some interesting findings, including new delivery models such as the cloud and mobile devices, among others.

  • Greater integration between design and analysis software  – 39%
  • New software delivery models (SaaS, cloud, etc.) – 36%
  • Combining design approaches (Ex: parametric and direct) – 35%
  • New devices (iPad/tablets, mobility, etc.) – 27%
  • Shift from 2D to 3D -  25%
  • Innovation in software packaging (Ex: More modular software applications, platform plus smaller applications) – 24%

I think we can already look back and see that there has been a lot of change in these areas in the last year. Perhaps even more than previously indicated. So what comes next? You tell me.

Time to Share your Views on 2012 and Beyond

In 2012 we are veering our focus away from the economy. There is a lot more “future” to talk about now that everyone isn’t quite as focused on how to survive the next quarter or fiscal year. The data we are gathering for COFES 2012 reflects future technology trends, and is open to vendors, analysts, VARS, and press in addition to customers. Please take the 2012 survey on the engineering software market to share your perspective. I don’t have a crystal ball, but if we all share our views we can come up with some interesting insights.

So that was a quick peek into some past research, I hope you found it interesting. More importantly, I hope you participate in this year’s research. And I hope to see you at COFES in April to share some more lively discourse on the future of the engineering software market.

  • http://jonbanquer.blogspot.com/ Jon Banquer

    One of the big problems is that most CAD software is design centric and it often does not give the user tools that allow a part to be manufactured / manufactured properly in the real world.

    http://www.topsolid.com/news-and-events/press-releases/press-release-detail/article/topsolid-7-interview-with-missler-softwares-ceo.htm

    “Missler Software is a software developer that takes into account manufacturing imperatives throughout the entire product development lifecycle. In other words we focus on manufacturing companies and the creation of strong links with the design stage regardless of whether the initial design was made in TopSolid or using a different CAD software. TopSolid’Design 7 is above all a manufacturing solution which targets users who wish to design products that can be manufactured.”

    COFES should be begging a company like Missler Software, who makes TopSolid CADCAM, to present at COFES.  In my view COFES should be looking to help tear down the wall that exists between design and manufacturing. Sadly, COFES has close to zero focus on CADCAM tools that are designed for those who actually have to manufacture something.

    Thinking that machining is a niche market and that manufacturing isn’t really important is what got this country into the mess it’s now in.

    Jon Banquer
    San Diego, CA
    http://cadcamtechnologyleaders.blogspot.com/

    • http://www.tech-clarity.com jim_techclarity

      Jon, thanks for your comment (and for retweeting the survey link, much appreciated). I wonder if the whole “maker movement” and 3D printing will revive interest in developing production-ready CAD models? Or will that also be a niche market, and something that comes in after the fact in most solutions?

      As far as COFES is concerned, I don’t know about “begging” but I can
      certainly ask to get Missler Software an invite to COFES if they don’t already have one.

      More importantly, perhaps, I know a lot of people that are passionate
      that a strong manufacturing base in the US is critical moving forward. I
      think more people are starting to agree.

      All the best,
      Jim

      • http://jonbanquer.blogspot.com/ Jon Banquer

        Jim,

        I don’t see how there can be talk about the US returning to its manufacturing base and moving away from a service economy when we have had a machinist skills shortage for 20 years. For the US to get back on track I feel the US government needs to help create a new modernized long term (3 years minimum) apprenticeship program for machining like we use to have.

        The needed machining skills don’t exist for a US manufacturing turn around. The sad fact is the lack of qualified machinists just keeps getting worse.  We aren’t going to solve the skills crisis we have now and become a serious manufacuturing player again until we find a way to properly teach the needed machining skills. That doesn’t happen in 12 week type programs that the NTMA or the SME love to hold up as an example of doing something about the problem. No one who comes out of these short programs has the needed skills to get and hold a really good job in a high tech modern machine shop.

        Jon Banquer
        San Diego, CA
        http://cadcamtechnologyleaders.blogspot.com/

        • http://www.tech-clarity.com jim_techclarity

          Jon,
          I spent some time in my junior years working with the guys in the machine shop at GE Appliance Park East. Very skilled, very professional crew. They were interested in apprenticing me to pass on their craft. I was there as an Engineering CoOp student, so that didn’t work out. That plant was shut down (Jack Welch era) and those skills were lost.

          So what happens now? If we are indeed going to be a player in manufacturing, the first step is to make manufacturing a career opportunity again. Today, most of the people I know expect their children to go to college. For many, a good professional training / apprenticeship program would be better for them assuming (and here is the rub) that there are jobs for them when they finish their training. There are lots of college graduates without the skills the workforce needs, and many without an interest in the kinds of jobs that would be available.

          So how do we change that? Is the first step is a funded training program? That doesn’t make sense if there are no jobs to follow. That is just more education going to waste. To me, I think the first step is a decision that manufacturing is strategic to our economy and our national defense. Then, we need to agree to invest in it for the long term. As a part of that, we need to train the next generation and make manufacturing a desirable, respected career path (the way it should be, and what I caught a glimpse of before the lights were turned off).

          You know the space better than I do, though. If there were more trained people would there be more work? Is it skills constrained, so the jobs go elsewhere? If there were a training program would it offer a good career on the back end?

          Thanks for bringing this up, I guess I had something to get off of my chest…

          • http://jonbanquer.blogspot.com/ Jon Banquer

            Jim,

            There needs to be a fundamental shift in the US mentality that has got us so lost and so in debt to the Chinese. Unlike the US, other countries like Germany have got it right. In Germany manufacturing is a respected job and is not something that’s seen as lessor job or that you keep your kids away from.

            If US citizens ever wake up and demand a return to a manufacturing based economy, as well as insisting that we cancel the one way “free trade” agreements that the we keep signing, plenty of highly skilled great paying jobs will be there.

            Doing the above would be a great start to helping the next generation get right what my generation got so wrong: putting price first and forgetting about quality.

            It’s time to admit the Chinese own us and do something about it. We allowed it to happen by moving to a service based economy and away from “dirty” manufacturing jobs.

            Jon Banquer
            San Diego, CA
            http://cadcamtechnologyleaders.blogspot.com/

          • http://www.tech-clarity.com jim_techclarity

            Or worse yet, ignoring the importance of creating any sort of value at all and making a profit while producing nothing. But that is a story for a different blog, a different time. Thanks for getting me riled up. All the best Jon.

  • http://jonbanquer.blogspot.com/ Jon Banquer

    One of the big problems with CAD software that is design centric is that it often does not give the user tools that allow a part to be manufactured / manufactured properly in the real world.

    http://www.topsolid.com/news-and-events/press-releases/press-release-detail/article/topsolid-7-interview-with-missler-softwares-ceo.htm

    “Missler Software is a software developer that takes into account manufacturing imperatives throughout the entire product development lifecycle. In other words we focus on manufacturing companies and the creation of strong links with the design stage regardless of whether the initial design was made in TopSolid or using a different CAD software. TopSolid’Design 7 is above all a manufacturing solution which targets users who wish to design products that can be manufactured.”

    COFES should be begging a company like Missler Software, who makes TopSolid CADCAM, to present at COFES.  In my view COFES should be looking to help tear down the wall that exists between design and manufacturing. Sadly, COFES has close to zero focus on CADCAM tools that are designed for those who actually have to manufacture something.

    Jon Banquer
    San Diego, CA
    http://cadcamtechnologyleaders.blogspot.com/

    • http://www.tech-clarity.com jim_techclarity

      Jon, thanks for your comment (and for retweeting the survey link, much appreciated). I wonder if the whole “maker movement” and 3D printing will revive interest in developing production-ready CAD models? Or will that also be a niche market, and something that comes in after the fact in most solutions?

      As far as COFES is concerned, I don’t know about “begging” but I can
      certainly ask to get Missler Software an invite to COFES if they don’t already have one.

      More importantly, perhaps, I know a lot of people that are passionate
      that a strong manufacturing base in the US is critical moving forward. I
      think more people are starting to agree.

      All the best,
      Jim

      • http://jonbanquer.blogspot.com/ Jon Banquer

        Jim,

        I don’t see how there can be talk about the US returning to its manufacturing base and moving away from a service economy when we have had a machinist skills shortage for 20 years. For the US to get back on track I feel the US government needs to help create a new modernized long term (3 years minimum) apprenticeship program for machining like we use to have.

        The needed machining skills don’t exist for a US manufacturing turn around. The sad fact is the lack of qualified machinists just keeps getting worse.  We aren’t going to solve the skills crisis we have now and become a serious manufacuturing player again until we find a way to properly teach the needed machining skills. That doesn’t happen in 12 week type programs that the NTMA or the SME love to hold up as an example of doing something about the problem. No one who comes out of these short programs has the needed skills to get and hold a really good job in a high tech modern machine shop.

        Jon Banquer
        San Diego, CA
        http://cadcamtechnologyleaders.blogspot.com/

        • http://www.tech-clarity.com jim_techclarity

          Jon,
          I spent some time in my junior years working with the guys in the machine shop at GE Appliance Park East. Very skilled, very professional crew. They were interested in apprenticing me to pass on their craft. I was there as an Engineering CoOp student, so that didn’t work out. That plant was shut down (Jack Welch era) and those skills were lost.

          So what happens now? If we are indeed going to be a player in manufacturing, the first step is to make manufacturing a career opportunity again. Today, most of the people I know expect their children to go to college. For many, a good professional training / apprenticeship program would be better for them assuming (and here is the rub) that there are jobs for them when they finish their training. There are lots of college graduates without the skills the workforce needs, and many without an interest in the kinds of jobs that would be available.

          So how do we change that? Is the first step is a funded training program? That doesn’t make sense if there are no jobs to follow. That is just more education going to waste. To me, I think the first step is a decision that manufacturing is strategic to our economy and our national defense. Then, we need to agree to invest in it for the long term. As a part of that, we need to train the next generation and make manufacturing a desirable, respected career path (the way it should be, and what I caught a glimpse of before the lights were turned off).

          You know the space better than I do, though. If there were more trained people would there be more work? Is it skills constrained, so the jobs go elsewhere? If there were a training program would it offer a good career on the back end?

          Thanks for bringing this up, I guess I had something to get off of my chest…

          • http://jonbanquer.blogspot.com/ Jon Banquer

            Jim,

            There needs to be a fundamental shift in the US mentality that has got us so lost and so in debt to the Chinese. Unlike the US, other countries like Germany have got it right. In Germany manufacturing is a respected job and is not something that’s seen as lessor job or that you keep your kids away from.

            If US citizens ever wake up and demand a return to a manufacturing based economy, as well as insisting that we cancel the one way “free trade” agreements that the we keep signing, plenty of highly skilled great paying jobs will be there.

            Doing the above would be a great start to helping the next generation get right what my generation got so wrong: putting price first and forgetting about quality.

            It’s time to admit the Chinese own us and do something about it. We allowed it to happen by moving to a service based economy and away from “dirty” manufacturing jobs.

            Jon Banquer
            San Diego, CA
            http://cadcamtechnologyleaders.blogspot.com/

          • http://www.tech-clarity.com jim_techclarity

            Or worse yet, ignoring the importance of creating any sort of value at all and making a profit while producing nothing. But that is a story for a different blog, a different time. Thanks for getting me riled up. All the best Jon.

  • Ryan

    Manufacturing
    and machining still has the stigmata of being a very dirty, hard and sweaty
    job. Machining has an image problem to overcome. Most shops that I’ve visted
    lately are almost clean rooms! There’s been a huge change in that environment
    but it has to been “marketed” at all and it’s huge obstacle to
    overcome.

    Second issue:
    You don’t have many schools that actually have budgets or space to support 5-axis
    machining stations or swiss machines. My point here is not the actual type of
    machines but the actaul existence of equipment and space at all.

    Programs need
    to be revived and this can be done with collaboration of local technical
    colleges, local employers and machine manufacturers. We’ve seen some of this
    collaboration in the Twin Cities. It still grassroots but it is being worked
    on.

    Finally, you
    have to deal with Human Resource issue where companies are still using 4-year
    degrees as requirements even for the basic of jobs. I know plenty of
    over-qualified machine designer, IT professionals and others that have the
    skills that companies need but can’t get past the 4-yr degree check. Heck, I
    know quite a few “designers” that can out engineer most mid-career
    engineers!

    We’ve created a
    class of qualified employees that can’t get work!

     

    • http://www.tech-clarity.com jim_techclarity

      Ryan,
      I think many peoples’ vision of working in manufacturing is more along the lines of working in a coal mine, and images of sweaty men in overalls. While I have been to a couple of plants like that, the majority are very nice, high-tech environments. The reality if very different than the general opinion.

      I think a bigger problem is what we celebrate. We have a shortage of engineers as well as a shortage of skilled manufacturing people. Why? There are too few shows like “Myth Busters” and too many that glorify the crazy extremes of “reality” tv. We all want our kids to do well, and we were told that means college. But are they really being trained for jobs that they will succeed it? That they will enjoy? Or frankly that exist? We are out of alignment.

      Great insight on the HR scenario, I hadn’t realized that. I do remember at GE when the layoffs came (they eventually closed the plant, so I watched it dwindle). The people that went first (or got demoted, in some cases) were those without college degrees. Sometimes they were the much more skilled people. But it was easy to defend the action when it was based on something concrete like a degree, and nobody wants to get sued.

      Thanks for sharing. The first step has to be demand – hopefully we see more companies producing locally (for lots of good reasons) and we see a resurgence of kids wanting to make things. Who knows, maybe the “maker movement” and 3D Printing will inspire them?

  • Ryan

    Manufacturing
    and machining still has the stigmata of being a very dirty, hard and sweaty
    job. Machining has an image problem to overcome. Most shops that I’ve visted
    lately are almost clean rooms! There’s been a huge change in that environment
    but it has to been “marketed” at all and it’s huge obstacle to
    overcome.

    Second issue:
    You don’t have many schools that actually have budgets or space to support 5-axis
    machining stations or swiss machines. My point here is not the actual type of
    machines but the actaul existence of equipment and space at all.

    Programs need
    to be revived and this can be done with collaboration of local technical
    colleges, local employers and machine manufacturers. We’ve seen some of this
    collaboration in the Twin Cities. It still grassroots but it is being worked
    on.

    Finally, you
    have to deal with Human Resource issue where companies are still using 4-year
    degrees as requirements even for the basic of jobs. I know plenty of
    over-qualified machine designer, IT professionals and others that have the
    skills that companies need but can’t get past the 4-yr degree check. Heck, I
    know quite a few “designers” that can out engineer most mid-career
    engineers!

    We’ve created a
    class of qualified employees that can’t get work!

     

    • http://www.tech-clarity.com jim_techclarity

      Ryan,
      I think many peoples’ vision of working in manufacturing is more along the lines of working in a coal mine, and images of sweaty men in overalls. While I have been to a couple of plants like that, the majority are very nice, high-tech environments. The reality if very different than the general opinion.

      I think a bigger problem is what we celebrate. We have a shortage of engineers as well as a shortage of skilled manufacturing people. Why? There are too few shows like “Myth Busters” and too many that glorify the crazy extremes of “reality” tv. We all want our kids to do well, and we were told that means college. But are they really being trained for jobs that they will succeed it? That they will enjoy? Or frankly that exist? We are out of alignment.

      Great insight on the HR scenario, I hadn’t realized that. I do remember at GE when the layoffs came (they eventually closed the plant, so I watched it dwindle). The people that went first (or got demoted, in some cases) were those without college degrees. Sometimes they were the much more skilled people. But it was easy to defend the action when it was based on something concrete like a degree, and nobody wants to get sued.

      Thanks for sharing. The first step has to be demand – hopefully we see more companies producing locally (for lots of good reasons) and we see a resurgence of kids wanting to make things. Who knows, maybe the “maker movement” and 3D Printing will inspire them?

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