HUNTSVILLE, AL (Solid Edge ST4 Launch) - On the Internet, no one knows you are a dog. Or you can be a cool dude who wears dark shades at all hours. Meet Mark Burhop, who, unlike his avatar persona, is in real life is a down-to-earth CAD guy, nice enough to have as many friends in real life friends as he has followers in his virtual one.
But Mark needs help. He has been plucked from his comfort zone of FEA (Femap) and put in charge of creating a “app ecosystem” for Solid Edge, or in other words, reviving the partner program so users may have choices of 3rd party programs. He may have to curtail his time on social media.
As Solid Edge is gathers momentum, its executives must have noticed that “ecosystems” for the competitive MCAD products (namely Inventor and SolidWorks) are extensive. In fact, the ubiquitous AutoCAD has so many 3rd party programs -- from LISP routines to full heavy apps -- that the program is often referred to as a design operating system. SolidWorks has a half dozen CAM programs alone that work happily inside its environment.
Meanwhile, the Solid Edge 3rd party program, previously known as Voyager, had simply lapsed into oblivion. I am told it has been folded into the broader Siemens PLM partner program. According to one faithful Edger, “there were a few years where Solid Edge was in the doldrums,” a condition which no doubt had a lethal effect on Voyager.
But all of that is about to change. Siemens PLM states that there is “renewed vigor” in its Solid Edge business. Its new partner initiative is intended to create a streamlined environment, intended to make it easy for partners to participate and be available to the Solid Edge user base.
If I were a vendor, should I be worried that the Solid Edge population is small?
“Solid Edge licenses grew by 50 percent globally last year,” says Mark.“As for the vendors in our ecosystem, my goal is also to look for those with new and innovative ideas that address our customers technology needs. We want to build a strong community that benefits our partners and customers in a better way than the traditional partner programs in the CAD industry. ”
Mark’s been at this job for three months. Already, he has signed up CADENAS, who does parts management and electronic product catalogs, and Striker Systems, whose sheet metal apps handle nesting, CNC punching and profile cutting machines.
The hallway at the ST4 Launch was crowded with a dozen vendors who Mark probably has on the hook.