Predicting Engineering Software Market Trends in 2012 (need your help)


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.