In our annual poll of executives in the Design and PLM Software market, we asked our experts about topics ranging from mobile applications and CAD in the cloud, to improving productivity and enhancing the user experience. Here’s more of what they had to say:

Bertrand Sicot,
Chief Executive Officer,
Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp.
Bertrand Sicot

Software that is easy to use is critical to the success of the design and engineering industry. The question remains: when will this happen? We’ve made progress over the years with our user interface, and each year we push the envelope a little farther.

With the proliferation and increase in computing power of mobile devices, mobility continues to be an important trend. We’ll continue to watch how our users are adopting technology and respond with the solutions they need to succeed.

Grant Rochelle,
Senior Director of Industry Marketing,
Autodesk Manufacturing
Grant Rochelle

With users being increasingly mobile and using more mobile apps and devices, we have enabled new generations of design software users with new expectations of how they engage with the software. Cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) will extend the functionality of desktop applications and offer users the ability to do things they couldn’t do before. This includes high-performance visualization, simulation, and analysis that will help enable on-demand processing with nearly infinite computing power, and new ways to collaborate with teams over great distances.

Our cloud-based approach is based on being easy to use, implement, and deploy. We’re focused on our approach being scalable, configurable, and intuitive. That is a sharp contrast to the decades-old legacy technologies in the market now. Our customers are keenly interested in this new kind of solution, particularly when it comes to leveraging cloud computing for intensive computation activities such as simulation or the secure availability of product lifecycle information across the enterprise and supply chain.

Mike Campbell,
Division Vice President for Creo Product Development,
Mike Campbell

Customers have expressed more interest in virtualization of CAD software, allowing it to be installed and run on centralized machines, and simply accessed from lightweight desktop clients. In fact, about 50% of customers recently surveyed indicated they already operate this way, or have plans to do so in 2012. In addition to centralized administration, they do indicate that data security is a driver behind this strategy for virtualization.

In order to improve efficiency in a global environment, more and more people need to use and access data. Whether it is someone in procurement who wants to know exactly what the product looks like, or a service planner who needs to convey disassembly procedures graphically, there are more people than ever working with 3D data. This means that our traditional definition of a “typical” CAD user – a designer or engineer who spends the majority of their time working with CAD – is no longer valid. There are still many people who consider CAD a “career,” but there are more and more that simply see it as one of many tools they use to get their jobs done better and faster. This must influence our thinking as vendors about how capabilities are designed, developed, and presented to this new audience.

Paul Sicking,
Chief Technology Officer,
Siemens PLM Software
Paul Sicking

Regardless of whether you use an open format like Parasolid and JT, or a neutral translator such as STEP or IGES, the real benefit is being able to do something with the data once it is imported. That is where tools like synchronous technology come into play. Synchronous technology can leverage imported data and allow changes that preserve the design intent that may have been lost in translation.

Finally, the emergence of co-creation and customer-sourced design is changing the way we look at user experience in regards to CAD and PLM software. To realize this co-creation paradigm, companies are asking their CAD and PLM vendors to provide tools for communities of ad hoc users to easily share and collaborate.

Chris Randles,
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Chris Randles

Our customers want tools that help them do their job better. For example, with traditional CAD systems, real-time design collaboration was impossible because engineers couldn’t edit designs in real time without risking meeting-ending rebuild errors. With our software, engineers, customers, and suppliers can get together in person or over GoToMeeting and make fast, informed decisions.

The emerging technology that will change engineering the most is neutral MBD (model-based definition) formats that support precise solids with PMI (product manufacturing information). JT is clearly at the forefront, as the automotive industry had mandated it, but 3D PDF and STEP also show promise. Combined with direct modeling, these formats finally offer the MCAD world a viable path from the interoperability nightmare caused by feature-based modeling. These interoperability problems cost manufacturers billions, which is the largest market opportunity in the business.