What to Expect When Changing CAD Tools

There have been a lot of changes in CAD industry over the last several years. Several CAD vendors have radically changed the way in which they offer solutions, eliminating the option of buying a perpetual software license and instead forcing users into subscription offerings. While for some users this might be a better option if the cost of owning the software is prohibitive, for many companies that want to protect the investment they have already made in their software, owning their software is still the most logical route.

Is the Time Right to Switch?

If your company has become disenfranchised by its CAD vendor or has determined that their current CAD tool is no longer providing them with a competitive benefit, perhaps the time is right to switch CAD tools. In an earlier blog post, we discussed the reasons behind such conversions. Catch up on the topic by reading What Challenges with CAD Tools Drive a Change.


Setting Expectations for Implementing a New CAD Tool

Once you have committed to changing CAD tools, there are myriad considerations you must take into account. In the Tech-Clarity white paper, “Are you Changing CAD Tools? What you Should Know,” survey participants were asked about their top challenges when switching CAD systems. The biggest challenges were learning curve (52 percent), followed by re-using legacy data (46 percent), loss of productivity (28 percent), configuring your workflow (27 percent) and resistance to change (25 percent).

Adequate employee education and proper training often makes the difference between success and failure as well as frustration on the part of your users. To understand how the leading companies successfully undergo such a change, Tech-Clarity researchers identified the Top Performers among survey participants and asked them to weigh in on training time, loss of productivity, how long it took to recoup their investment in the new CAD tool and how satisfied they were with ROI of the CAD switch.

On average these top performing companies spent six weeks training their users on the new tool and an average of 13 weeks of lowered productivity. In terms of recouping their investment, these same companies say they achieved a return on their investment (ROI) within the first year (46 weeks). Perhaps most telling is that on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being extremely satisfied), these high performing companies rated their overall satisfaction with the ROI of their CAD switch as 4.7. The chart below shows what to expect during the CAD change, comparing the results of Top Performing versus Average Performing companies.


These top performing companies overall reported that they spent less time on training, yet they resumed productivity eight weeks sooner than their lesser performing competitors. The criteria in which Top Performers look for in a CAD tool likely contributed to this.

We will tackle the issue of data migration challenges when changing CAD tools in our next blog on this subject so stay tuned. To read the Tech-Clarity white paper in its entirety, click on the banner below.


Barb Schmitz

Barb Schmitz

Senior Marketing Communications Manager at SolidWorks
Barb Schmitz is a Senior Manager in Marketing Communications with BA in Journalism and over 30 years of experience in the CAD software industry. She started her career as a journalist covering technology and served as an editor for several leading industry publications for over 20 years. Besides being a sleuth of tech, she is a loyal dog owner, travel bum, mom, lover of hoppy IPAs, red wine, and alternative music lover living in the great city of Chicago.