Small to medium businesses, or SMBs, may look for different things in a CAD software than what a large corporation may look for. On this episode of the Next Generation Design podcast, our host talks to Jeff Shagena; the SMB Product Manager for NX Product Engineering Software at Siemens Digital Industries Software, about how NX CAD works for SMBs and the continuous improvement that is being done to enhance NX for SMBs.
In this episode, Jeff will help us understand the state of the SMB CAD market, especially after the pandemic. You will get to learn about the trends that are driving changes in this market, with the first being digital transformation. You will also hear more about Siemens’ future vision for NX and how it is adapting to fit the needs of SMBs – which includes improving awareness of the software and its packaging options, investing in tools like the Discovery Center, and focusing on innovation in areas like AI and machine learning.
Listen to or read the full episode: How NX CAD Meets the Needs of Small and Medium Businesses (SMB)
What you will learn in this episode:
Trends in the SMB market and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Jeff starts off with noting how the pandemic hit SMBs hard, but since then there has been a snapback with a rapid growth. SMB continues to grow relative to enterprise and bigger business segments. Jeff is excited to see the growth and innovation in this market.
He says that the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation– that the comprehensive digital twin is being quickly adopted by SMBs where it was slower before. With people working in different places from different devices, it is important to stay connected, and the digital twin helps to do that. With the drive for digital transformation and changes in working environment, companies need to be able to be flexible and meet their users’ needs, and for CAD, that’s where NX comes in.
How Siemens’ NX fits the needs of the SMB industry
Siemens Digital Industries Software has done a lot of work, especially in the past few years, to increase the presence of our software in SMB and make the market more aware of our solutions. With all of our key industries having many SMB customers, it goes to show that NX software is a great fit for SMBs.
NX packaging and licensing is one of the big areas where work has been done to make NX accessible for companies that aren’t just thousand-seat OEMs. There is a right size package for a any size company, even if it’s just one seat. One specific package that is offered is the Siemens Mechanical Design Bundle which comes with one seat of NX Mach 1 and two to three seats of Solid Edge (depending on geography). It is the best solution in the market with the functionalities that are available. Additionally, the October 2022 release of Solid Edge has a similar look and feel to NX, which helps the learning curve between the two.
Another program that Siemens offers is the Siemens Xcelerator for Startups, which offers three tiers. Companies that qualify as a startup get access to the entire Siemens Xcelerator portfolio at a cost that makes sense for a startup to help the company grow and succeed.
These bundles all offer value-based licensing on top of the base bundle. This licensing option offers tokens to check-in and check-out add-on modules within your NX CAD solution. Value-based licensing is a cost-effective way of accessing different functionalities and applications in NX, with over 100 modules available in the token pool for one subscription cost, as opposed to buying licenses for each add-on module individually. It is a great option for customers that need to use a variety of modules on an occasional-use basis.
Cloud-based CAD solution for SMBs
The cloud is huge for SMBs, and NX is fully supported as a cloud-based solution. NX X is a prepackaged cloud-based solution that is managed by Siemens and offers the same exact capabilities as the traditional NX on-premise, available globally.
Additionally, cloud-native NX apps are becoming available for specific workflows, with the first one released in July 2022, NX Mold Connect. This SaaS app improves collaboration in the RFQ process for injection molded parts. It is, in part, targeted towards SMBs and allows suppliers to communicate back and forth and give pricing for mold, tool, and die design. Jeff teases more in the pipeline that he can’t yet share.
Making it easier to learn and use NX CAD
A key area for all companies but especially SMBs is efficiency. The first thing that Jeff talks about for how NX is adapting to make it easier to learn and use for both first-time and seasoned users is Continuous Release. Continuous Release brings a new major release of NX every 6 months, in June and December. Frequently releasing NX allows the software to adapt quickly to needs and add new features and functionalities every 6 months.
Next, Jeff talks about the NX Discovery Center, which replaced the old startup page within NX. While it does help you learn NX if you’re a new user, it also helps all users get more value out of the software. The Discovery Center makes sure it is giving information that is relevant to a user. If you only work in MBD and PMI, maybe you don’t want to see everything new in sketch. It looks at what applications and functionalities you’re using to give you the best tips, tricks, and enhancements in those areas to help you be the most productive and efficient in NX.
There are also over 200 new help videos within NX that go over core design types of commands. They help users to get an idea of all the possibilities with different settings and options that there are. Another great feature is the Command Finder. With many commands in NX, the Command Finder helps users to find the command they are looking for. Those are only a few of the features that Jeff touches on, listen to, watch, or read the transcript of the full podcast to learn more.
The future of NX CAD
Jeff begins to wrap up the episode looking into the future for NX. The Discovery Center will be continuously improved to help users get more value out of NX, and focus will continue to be on innovation. In the last couple of years, NX has been awarded over 100 patents and there are certainly more to come, especially in the AI and machine learning space. In 2019, NX was also a finalist for the AIconics Award for the best in AI, a testament to being industry leaders in that space.
Speaking of awards, NX X also won an award for the best SaaS Product for Engineering Management PLM or CAD at the 2022 International SaaS Awards Program. They specifically noted in awarding NX, the interoperability between the desktop and cloud-based software was second-to-none. NX supports working on the cloud, work-environment flexibility, and working on any device. With on-premise, cloud, and SaaS solutions available for NX, SMBs are sure to find a package and licensing model that works for them.
Jeff also acknowledges the importance of our customers, “They’re the reason we’re here, the reason we’re successful.” Listening to customers is always important for Siemens and the NX team, and the ERs implemented through Continuous Release proves it. He concludes with his top takeaways: Siemens is right for SMB. From packaging, to technology, to listening, no one is being left behind. “We’re moving into the future and we want SMBs right there with us.”