Essay: Seeking Alternatives to AutoCAD
At the time this book was updated, Autodesk stopped selling permanent licenses to its software. Licenses are only available as subscriptions, which means that when firms cannot pay the fee each year, the software stops working. This is a scary thought for firms, especially during times of recession, and so there is a new interest in alternatives to AutoCAD. Here is the story from a competitor.
The following article is an abstract of the eBook ‘Best CAD Practices’ by Ralph Grabowski. Graebert is happy to share with you some of the experience accumulated by Ralph as a CAD expert and as compiled in his eBook for which the reference can be found at the bottom of the page. Feel free to share feedback in the comment section below.
I have over the last decade seen people’s reactions changing when considering CAD alternatives. I think this story with one of my long-time customers tells the story pretty well.
When I began selling a software alternative to AutoCAD in the early 2000s, I visited a branch of a very large construction company. The CAD manager there was in charge of 30 users. I introduced him to our software and he recognized that the software could do all that he expected, and that our alternative was ten times cheaper. I was enthusiastic to make the sale, but he told me that his company could afford the price of AutoCAD licences and so would continue buying AutoCAD.
Some years later the construction group hired cost killers from the automotive industry for their IT department. These guys changed the rules. When a CAD user asked for AutoCAD, they asked, “What for?” They also asked why alternative software to AutoCAD would not be good enough. As a result, I signed a global contract as the official provider, and began selling licenses. I reached a few hundred licenses over three years, but it always a fight for each user.
Around the same time, Autodesk began conducting audits at the firm. Because the firm had hundreds of offices and thousands of users, it could hardly control what was on each computer, and so Autodesk was looking for illegal copies. Many users were indeed using unlicensed copies as a result of budget restrictions. With the complexity in managing licenses at the small- to middle-size business units, it was just easier to find cracks on the Internet.
As Autodesk ran its audits, top management realized they had a serious problem to fix. They analyzed their needs, compared a few alternatives to AutoCAD. Today, one group is using 1,500 network licenses of DraftSight Enterprise from Dassault Systemes, while another group in Japan is using a localized version of ARES Commander called JDraf (Update: Now changed to ARES Commander). In reaction, Autodesk began a marketing campaign against low-cost CAD alternatives.
About The Author
Ralph Grabowski is a CAD expert with 30+ years experience. He is the author of several best-selling books related to most leading CAD programs. Ralph writes also in a variety of CAD news portals and magazines. More than anything, he is renowned as the founder and editor of the upFront.eZine newsletter and the blog WorldCAD Access.
NB: The views and opinions expressed by the author in this article or in the eBook do not necessarily reflect those of Graebert as a company or publisher of this blog.
About ARES Commander
Much more than a cost-effective CAD Software for dwg editing, ARES Commander brings your productivity to the next level with smart productivity features and a unique concept: The Trinity of CAD. The ARES Trinity of CAD Software combines the best of what each platform has to offer: Desktop, Mobile, and Cloud are combined into a unique user experience generating high synergies across all your devices. The highly flexible licensing of ARES Commander allows the same user to work from several computers under Windows®, MacOS® or Linux®. Each license includes also a 1-year renewable subscription for ARES Touch and ARES Kudo.
This year we are offering the possibility to try (30 days free trial) the new features of ARES Commander 2018 immediately by downloading our pre-release for Windows (no Mac or Linux pre-release version yet).
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Graebert is a leading developer of CAD software, solutions and services. We are recognized as a true innovator in the CAD industry and have more than 30 years of expertise. Our DWG-based CAD systems were the first to run on Windows®, Mac® and Linux®. Graebert is also a pioneer in mobile CAD technologies on Android® and iOS®. Most recently, Graebert introduced ARES Kudo, a full DWG-based CAD platform for the Cloud. Graebert‘s product portfolio is anchored by the ARES Trinity of CAD software – a powerful suite of DWG-based CAD software for desktop, mobile and cloud – which also enables developers to create standalone CAD applications. The three solutions are bundled into a unique subscription allowing users to take advantage of each platform with similar features but different use cases. Overall, millions of professionals use our CAD technologies in more than 100 countries. We also specialize in building surveying software and services. The SiteMasterTM line of “as built” surveying solutions, as well as worldwide surveying services are included under Graebert‘s iSurveyTM brand and division.