SolidWorks World 2013: The CEO’s Perspective


This year marks the 15th anniversary of SolidWorks World.  In 1999, when we had our first SolidWorks World in Palm Springs, there were approximately 800 people, 60 partners, and 70 technical sessions.  I was there, and I remember thinking how great it was to meet so many people with a passion for 3D design. Things have changed quite a bit.

At today’s event we have over 4500 attendees, over 240 technical sessions, and over 100 partners.  The number of SolidWorks users is continuing to grow at an amazing rate. It was only four years ago that we announced our one-millionth user, and today, we have over two million. In fact, if you stacked two million SolidWorks DVD cases, it would make a pile over 3.2 times the height of Mount Everest! To me, that is an amazing number, and if you are using (or learning how to use) SolidWorks today, it’s confirmation that you are in good company. Here’s a quick look at some of the community statistics:

  • Total SolidWorks Users: 2 million
  • SolidWorks Resellers: 407
  • SolidWorksSolution Partners: 800
  • Certified SolidWorks Users:  61,000
  • SolidWorks User Groups: 218
  • Facebook Fans: 525,000+
  • 3D ContentCentral Users: 1 million
  • DraftSight users: 1.3 million

But the SolidWorks community is not about numbers—it’s about people. Our mission is to make it easy for you to bring the ideas in your head to life,
as well as to help prepare the next generation of engineers and designers for success. SolidWorks is currently being taught in over 25,000 schools worldwide, including 72% of the world’s top universities, as well as a growing number of high schools, and even middle schools.

Over 2.5 million students use SolidWorks every day—some of them as young as 9 years old. The SolidWorks Certification Program allows qualified
schools to provide Certified SolidWorks Associate (CSWA) exams to their students. We want to help provide qualified students to our commercial
customers that require highly trained, skilled young designers and engineers. CSWA certification lets you know that a recent graduate will be ready to work on day one.

Last September, we announced the 21st release of SolidWorks with our 2013 update. We’re always excited about all of the new functionality that goes into every release, and you’ve probably heard that over 90% of enhancements are driven by customer requests. That’s true for 2013 as well, but this year our goal was to improve and simplify the core business processes that affect our users on a daily basis. And, we included some new capabilities that customers have been requesting for a while. For example:

  • New geometry tools to help you create models faster and easier
  • Tools to help you optimize the performance of SolidWorks and maximize productivity
  • Tools to help you work and collaborate with other people on your design team, vendors, and other supply chain partners.

One of these new features is Previous Release Interoperability. You told us that you needed the ability to open files in SolidWorks 2013 directly with SolidWorks 2012, and we listened.  Customers have told us that Previous Release Interoperability has already improved their file exchange rates and reduced delays, while easing the transition to our new release.

But in SolidWorks 2013, we did more than just add new features. We also continued our relentless pursuit of stability and performance, and we think
we’ve been successful. In fact, our customer satisfaction rates have never been higher. In 2006 we started soliciting feedback from our customers annually with a quantitative, Web-based survey. We ask questions about how customers are using SolidWorks, their satisfaction with the software, our company, and their resellers.

Our most recent survey ran this past summer, and we received around 25,000 customer responses. I am extremely happy to report that overall  satisfaction is 94%–that’s up from 93% in 2011, and from 89% in 2007. The development team at SolidWorks has done an incredible job over the last few years to make the tools you use every day more reliable, and I believe that these numbers show that those efforts are paying off. But we can still do better, and I’m confident that next year, we’ll get even closer to 100%.

In addition to SolidWorks 2013, we also released three additional products last year.  SolidWorks Electrical makes it possible for you to design  products requiring electrical systems for power, control, safety and data acquisition. We also recently introduced SolidWorks Plastics because our users were demanding tools to help predict and avoid manufacturing defects in the earliest stages of plastic part and mold design.

We also delivered eDrawings for the iPad and iPhone.  Now you can bring your 2D and 3D files to a customer’s site, or to a sales meeting, or to a  family member, and share the design concepts quickly and easily. And yes, we have heard all of you who have asked for an Android version, and I’m happy to tell you today that we are currently working on this. It will be available in the coming months, so stay tuned.

When we started in 1995, we never dreamed that we would have the largest and most vibrant mechanical CAD community in the world. The  SolidWorks community is made up of some of the most creative and innovative people, and when we all work together, there are no limits to what we can achieve.

So on behalf of the entire SolidWorks team, I would like to thank all of you for being part of the SolidWorks community. Our connection to the community is what keeps us excited. It’s what fires the passion we all feel when we come to work every day. And it’s also what keeps us grounded, making sure we’re always asking “are we doing the right things for our users?” From our customers to our employees, from our resellers to our  partners, we truly are united by design. Thank you again.

Bertrand Sicot

Bertrand Sicot

Bertrand Sicot is CEO of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.
Bertrand Sicot