SOLIDWORKS: Offering Users the Freedom of Choice

At SOLIDWORKS, we spend a considerable amount of time and effort learning as much as we can about our users. We visit them and engage with them through multiple channels (tech support, user forums, user groups, our VAR channel, social media, etc.). We continually solicit feedback on how we can improve our solutions to better meet their needs and help them be more successful. As a result, we know a lot about how our users work, what their day-to-day challenges and bottlenecks are, and how we can improve on the entire ecosystem of SOLIDWORKS solutions to make their jobs easier and their product development processes faster and more efficient.

We are also fortunate enough to have customers of many different sizes that are in many different stages on their path to success, from young entrepreneurs still in the incubation stage to vibrant startups and very successful large corporations as well as companies that occasionally need to weather the ups and downs of economic cycles. We don’t pretend we know how to run our customer’s businesses, but we understand that different business stages require different financial models and the flexibility to adopt what makes most sense.

We often see that startup companies or individual entrepreneurs who are strapped financially, either bootstrapping their own ventures or crowdsourcing to get their businesses up and running. For this emerging group of users, we have introduced a very successful program for startups called SOLIDWORKS for Entrepreneurs. This program partners with innovative designers, incubators, accelerators, and maker spaces that are just starting out. With powerful design and development tools and a wealth of resources, we help guide, instruct and empower entrepreneurs in designing their vision.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we also have established companies that have large, steady IT budgets that enable them to buy CAD software through perpetual licenses, enabling them to use that software as long as they want. The large majority of these companies also choose to purchase SOLIDWORKS with subscription services so they always have the latest release of the software and ongoing technical support. They understand that the subscription services are a choice, and we work very hard to make it a very compelling one. If, however, their financial conditions change, they have the choice to opt out and still have the full access to their precious assets for as long as they need, because they own the software forever.

Other companies, especially smaller companies, regardless of how they are funded, still need CAD to bring their ideas to life but might not have the upfront capital to purchase a perpetual seat of software. In addition, for consultants and contractors, who might only need CAD software on a project-by-project basis, buying a perpetual license of software might not make sense. For these types of businesses or temporary situations, it’s easier for them to allocate funds for software as an operational expense, not a capital expense.

Flexibility of Options Lets You Pick the Way that Fits Your Business Needs

In order to meet the needs of all businesses—large and small—we recently expanded the options for how you can buy SOLIDWORKS solutions. With SOLIDWORKS 2017, we introduced term licensing to provide more flexibility and choice. With term licensing, the upfront costs are greatly lowered for any business that wants flexibility in software ownership.


We are also investing heavily in a cloud-based CAD solution. For many users, the ability to access CAD anywhere and on any device is critically important. We understand this and are working tirelessly to find the best solution that leverages the strength of the cloud, but one that also provides our users with the security to know that their data is safe.

The problem with subscription-only sales models is that these users relinquish control—not just of their data, but also of the costs of that software. There are no assurances, that once committed, these subscription costs won’t increase. And, what happens to the users’ data once they stop paying?!?

We provide the flexibility that enables our users to decide how and when they buy SOLIDWORKS solutions…because while there are many smart people at SOLIDWORKS who know a lot about CAD and many other engineering disciplines, we don’t know how best to run your business. Only you can make that decision so we are working hard to provide you with as many choices as possible to make the decision that is best for your unique business needs.



Gian Paolo Bassi

Gian Paolo Bassi

Gian Paolo Bassi is senior vice president of 3DEXPERIENCE Works.