Wilfried Graebert, founder and CEO of Graebert, weighs in on the continuing importance of 2D. “When the first PLM, BIM, or GIS solutions emerged, many were claiming that 2D drawings would disappear,” Graebert recalled. “Twenty years later, there are still billions of DWG drawings circulating. The explanation is simple: These new 3D technologies have considerably increased the complexity of models and the quantity of information that they are illustrating. Drawings are therefore still widely used to document these projects with a higher level of detail and in a comprehensive way. The further this complexity is increasing, the more we need drawings. This trend is further expanding with the SaaS
transformation, as the cloud is enabling a deeper integration between applications and better collaboration among users.”
Cloud CAD Reaches Tipping Point for Vendors, but Not Users
One of the most notable CAD industry developments in 2019 was the movement toward software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery models. “I trust that the recent acquisition of Onshape by PTC will be remembered as an inflection point,” said Wilfried Graebert. “We see now that most of the industry leaders are accelerating their SaaS transformation.
“Besides the competitive landscape, we have also seen in 2019 maturation of the demand for cloud solutions,” he continued. “This trend is in particular very strong among the largest companies that can strongly benefit from the advantages in terms of collaboration. According to the IDC SaaSView 4Q18 survey (October 2018, 2,902 companies), a total of 72% of IT managers would give preference to a SaaS solution.
“The Subscription Economy Index (Zuora, October 2019) shows that SaaS companies have been growing three times faster in sales than the non-SaaS Software companies of the S&P 500 index,” Graebert reported.
“Still, another report from Synergy Research Group shows that the SaaS solutions currently represent a 15% market share, to be compared with 85% market share for traditional desktop software. CAD vendors can no longer wait to migrate to the cloud, but they also, realize that it will most likely take more than 10 years before the number of cloud users [will outstrip] the number of traditional on-premises users. The challenge our industry is facing for the coming years will, therefore, be to maintain, in parallel, products for desktop and cloud. The most successful companies will be the ones that can manage the complexity of such a hybrid ecosystem to conduct their transformation smoothly.”