Siemens’ CAD Solutions for Startups and Small & Medium Businesses

By Mollie Gladden

Many startups encounter obstacles in their quest for rapid success. Lengthy development cycles and various challenges impede their progress. This is why Siemens is dedicated to addressing these issues and enhancing the startup journey. 

On this episode of the Next Generation Design podcast, our host Jennifer Piper welcomes back Jeff Shagena, the SMB Product Manager for NX Product Engineering Software (CAD) at Siemens Digital Industries Software. Jeff will help us understand the various CAD offerings and programs from Siemens for startups, students, and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).  

In this episode, you will learn more about the Siemens Mechanical Design bundle, and the NX Cloud Connected products, which allow users to access NX software through the cloud, facilitating easy product acquisition and scaling. You will also get to hear more about the concept of Continuous Release, which involves regular major releases and monthly updates, enabling users to easily obtain the latest features and bug fixes at their convenience.

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • Benefits of Value-Based Licensing for SMB customers
  • How Value-Based Licensing works
  • The benefits of the Siemens Mechanical Design offering
  • Siemens Xcelerator for Startups
  • Cloud and SaaS offerings from NX design team

Whether you’re a day-one startup company or whether you’re already a mature, mid-sized business, we want to make sure that we’ve got the right offerings out there for you.

Jeff Shagena, Siemens Digital Industries Software

Listen to the Next Generation Design podcast wherever you do podcasts.

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Listen to or read the next episode of the Next Generation Design podcast: A Student’s Journey in CAD and 3D Modeling

Listen to or read the previous episode of the Next Generation Design podcast: How NX CAD Meets the Needs of Small and Medium Businesses (SMB)

Podcast Transcript

Jeff Shagena: We found that a lot of startups don’t become the unicorns they’re trying to be, they don’t have all the success that they envision, because they’ve got these long development cycles and all sorts of other issues on top of that. So, at Siemens, we’re working to alleviate that issue.

Jennifer Piper: Welcome to the Next Generation Design podcast. I’m your host, Jennifer Piper. Today, I’m once again welcoming NX Design Team member Jeff Shagena to talk about the advantages of using NX in the small and medium business segment and some of the developments that are happening in that space. Jeff, before we begin today, could you please give our listeners a refresher on your role at Siemens?

Jeff Shagena: I’m an NX design product manager on our core design team. My kind of specific focus is on the small and medium business segment, so I’m excited to talk to you today about SMB. I’m with the company now for about five years and in this specific role for about two and a half.

Jennifer Piper: Thanks so much for joining us again, we’re excited to have you back on the episode today. In our first episode together, we talked about technology, but today we’re going to do a bit more of an overview of the advantages of using NX for SMBs globally. Can you tell us a little about some of the offerings that are available in that space?

Jeff Shagena: I think the first one and the biggest one that we’re really pushing quite a bit because it just makes so much sense for SMB is value-based licensing. It’s really a great way to get the maximum value out of the NX portfolio without having to break the bank, essentially. You get all sorts of different add-ons at great value. And then on some of the new products and new bundle areas, we’ve got the Siemens mechanical design bundle, which combines the best of all the MCAD offerings that we have, as well as Teamcenter on the NX and Solid Edge side of things.

Jennifer Piper: And what about for startups, specifically?

Jeff Shagena: We know startups, obviously, need a lot of functionality and they don’t necessarily have the budget at that point to really get off the ground and running if they’re spending all their money on CAD. So, we’ve got a design engineering and simulation startup bundle as well that also has multiple tiers. It’s really a great way for startup companies to get off the ground with pretty much the entire Siemens portfolio for, of course, a great value.

Jennifer Piper: That’s great. Are there any other offerings within the SMB space that you’re particularly excited about?

Jeff Shagena: We’ve got the NX Student Edition, which, of course, it’s great for students, but we’ve heard from some of our customers as well, it’s been great if they’ve got interns or new hires, it’s great to ramp up with the NX Student Edition and it’s really a nice tool that we’ve made available. And of course, our commitment to academics is as strong as ever, that’s where a lot of startups come from, it’s from the academic, university space, so we’re looking to make sure we support that area quite a bit. And then continuous release is the last one, which I know it’s a benefit for everybody but it’s great for SMBs. You don’t have to have all these costly, time-consuming upgrades for future versions of NX. It’s a really quick and easy way to just get the latest and greatest right at your fingertips.

Jennifer Piper: Well, it definitely sounds like we have a lot of things to cover today. Let’s jump right in with value-based licensing. What is it and what can you tell us about the benefits of value-based licensing?

Jeff Shagena: Value-based licensing is such a huge value for SMBs and for all customers but I think it makes the most sense for SMBs. You get all this cost and flexibility advantage. So you can run up to 75 or more NX add-on applications now. We’re continuously adding more and more applications. I think it’s something like two to three new add-ons every single major NX release every six months that we’re adding to this for no additional charge. It’s really great when you just have these occasional add-ons. You use it maybe once every couple of weeks or something like that, but you don’t necessarily need it dedicated all the time. And it’s really nice to have access to all of these different add-ons all at once because it helps you avoid you needing to do timely trials to figure out, is this something that’s going to benefit me or not, is it worth the cost. Because we’re basically lumping all the add-ons together for value-based licensing, so you basically just buy access to everything all at once upfront.

Jennifer Piper: And how does that work, exactly?

Jeff Shagena: Basically, you buy tokens—so you can buy 50 or 100-pack subscriptions of tokens—and you check out licenses as you need. And each license has a defined amount of tokens assigned to it. So, basically, it’s a check-in, check-out kind of a system, it’s not consumed, per se, permanently so you get access to every product in the token license pool. And I want to say something like 90-plus percent of them are all available for under 100 tokens. So it’s very, very easily accessible even with just a small amount of tokens. So then you check the license out when you’re using it, and then just check it right back in once you’re done, and that just releases your tokens right back into the pool and you can go grab a new add-on or a different add-on to start using. It’s really that simple. The only prerequisite is just any Mach license, basically, Mach 1 and up. Pretty much everybody who uses NX is going to have access to purchasing tokens if they like them. I would just add one other thing. I mentioned they’re good for educational use, and we’ve found the threshold where it makes more sense to go with tokens or value-based licensing over purchasing dedicated add-on modules, and we found that value-based licensing is most effective with four or more add-ons; you use four or more add-ons fairly often but not all the time, and that’s where it makes sense for the occasional use—four-plus add-on—to consider value-based licensing. And then you can mix and match the value-based licensing with a concurrent add-on as well.

Jennifer Piper: It sounds like it’s a great way to get access to a lot of technology that may not actually be used all of the time. Let’s talk a little bit more about some of those new products and the packaging. You had mentioned Siemens mechanical design, what exactly is that offering and what are the benefits there?

Jeff Shagena: Siemens mechanical design is a really exciting offering, really an area that we wanted to make kind of a single source for all of your MCAD purchasing, the licensing, the training, your service needs, package it all up in one so it makes it a lot easier, especially for SMBs, to hit the ground running on day one once you start with NX. So the way that it works is it’s a seat of NX Mach 1—our core design offering—and also multiple seats of Solid Edge. And then you also get Teamcenter integration for both of the products for data management purposes. It’s really a nice all-in-one package. And given that you’re getting multiple seats of CAD with it, it’s really great value, competitively speaking, for sure. The nice thing with NX and Solid Edge is that they’re both on the same modeling kernel, Parasolid. So, what that means is that you’re getting really best-in-class data interoperability, so you can go straight from NX to Solid Edge, there’s no data translation there, it’s just a direct File Save, File Open from one to the other. There’s no chance of any data loss there, essentially. It really opens up some opportunities there because you get Solid Edge, of course, for a lot of the core design purposes. And then with the seat of NX, maybe you need to do something really complex or you need one of the NX add-on modules, you can jump up to NX and you can even combine it with, say, value-based licensing, and you get access to the whole NX portfolio, basically, through a combination of the Siemens mechanical design along with the value-based licensing. So, it’s a great way for SMBs to get multiple seats of CAD but also get access to the whole NX portfolio and Solid Edge portfolios as well.

Jennifer Piper: So, then we have design engineering and simulation for startups. This seems like a great opportunity for startups to start using our software and take advantage of all of the benefits.

Jeff Shagena: I think it’s really exciting to get even more new logos and open up access to even more potential unicorn startups. But we found that a lot of startups don’t become the unicorns they are trying to be, they don’t have all the success that they envision because they’ve got these long development cycles and all sorts of other issues on top of that. So, at Siemens, we’re working to alleviate that issue with the startup bundle that we’ve got. Essentially, the simplest way to say it is that we’re opening up the entire Siemens Xcelerator portfolio to startups, and of course, at a price point that makes sense for a startup company. So you really get the competitive advantage of getting the most productive modeling environment with NX, but you’re also getting all the generative engineering tools, electromechanical design as well. It’s all in this singular bundle.

Jennifer Piper: And are there other options available, depending on the type of business?

Jeff Shagena: We actually have four different options here as well, based on what kind of startup you are. So, just to run through those briefly, we’ve got the engineering bundle, that’s the good tier. And with the engineering tier, that could be on-premise or SaaS, as we know, of course, with startups that that’s a big differentiator for sure, they might have different preferences there. So, with the engineering bundle, you get Teamcenter for your data management purposes, as well as the NX Mach 3 industrial design, so you’re really getting all the heavy-duty NX design tools at that point. And then also training as well, which we want to help startups get up and running as fast as possible, speed up those development cycles, and make them as productive as possible. And then the middle of that, the better tier is flex engineering. So, this one comes with NX Mach 1. Again, the core design tools with NX, along with Simcenter 3D for simulation tools, NX manufacturing, and then training and value-based licensing for all three of those areas. So, again, you get access to all this content and training to get up to speed as fast as possible in the areas that matter to you most. And then the last option is the simulation tier here, and that is all the exact same as the engineering bundle—the first one—the Teamcenter and the NX Mach 3 industrial design and training. But it also comes with all sorts of simulation products — so a couple here we haven’t actually hit on before. One of them is Star-CCM+, which is for CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software. And then Amesim as well, which we haven’t covered as much, but it’s also a simulation product and kind of like the mechatronics design space. That’s a really exciting bundle, and obviously, very specialized there, and not everybody needs those products. But for those who do, those are the industry-lead products in those spaces.

Jennifer Piper: How would a company qualify to be a part of the startup program? Can you walk us through that process?

Jeff Shagena: Essentially, you need to hit certain qualifications when you sign up for it. We basically take a look at how many seats you need and see if that makes sense because there is a limit because it’s a great value. We don’t want people taking advantage of that unless they’re really truly startups. But then we also look at the revenue that they’re pulling in right now to see, are you really a startup at this point or are you moving past that point. So there are some qualifications that a startup does have to pass, but we’ll make sure to vet that with them. We figure out what makes sense for them. But for the most part, if you’re really a startup, you’re going to qualify for this, basically.

Jennifer Piper: So it sounds like anyone wanting to check into that program should definitely check it out and take advantage of that opportunity, for sure. Siemens has also made a lot of headway with the NX Student Edition to make sure students are aware of our offerings and really start using NX in their studies. Can you tell us a bit more about that? How can students access the program?

Jeff Shagena: Yeah, absolutely. The NX Student Edition is completely free unlike some other academic competitors out there. We want you to use NX, we want you to get familiar with NX. And that’s really easy, you just go onto our website. We can put the link here somewhere, maybe in the description or something like that. When you go to Siemens NX Student Edition, you just register for it and you can just straightaway download it. We’re not too difficult to work with there. It really is free. So, once you get it installed, you get access to all sorts of NX design tools, the core design Mach licensing kind of tools. And I know this is a huge area for us, but even some of the others—simulation, for instance—are working on a Student Edition component as well to this. So we’re really trying to make the NX Student Edition a really comprehensive NX offering, of course, for students to take advantage of with any kind of design work.

Jennifer Piper: Before we wrap up, could you give us a brief overview of the continuous release program for those listeners who aren’t familiar with it?

Jeff Shagena: I think it’s always good to touch on this because it’s something that none of our competitors can do. So, with continuous release, every six months, we’re putting out a major release but we also put out monthly releases in between. So, basically, what we’re doing here with continuous release and why do you care about it? Is that it lets you really quickly and easily get the latest and greatest functionality at your own convenience so you can basically push a button when you’re ready to update — the same thing as Microsoft Office or Windows when you do an update there. Basically, you could just really quickly update whenever you want and we also have all sorts of new tools that we’ve introduced to help you understand what have we changed from release to release so that makes it a lot easier. And then also the monthly releases we do, we’re able to put out all sorts of bug fixes. A few bugs that do get through every once in a while, we’re able to get those fixed very quickly in those monthly releases. So, really just makes us so much more flexible and able to respond to our customers and their needs a lot faster with these quicker development cycles.

Jennifer Piper: You mentioned Customer Self Service. Can you talk a bit more about that?

Jeff Shagena: So you can very quickly search if you’re curious, “Hey, I use Sketch a lot. What’s changed in Sketch in the release of a release?” With the Discovery Center that we’ve gotten now, you can just go in and literally search, “Hey, what’s new in Sketch since the last release I was on?” And it’ll populate a list of however many items that is. So, it’s really easy to figure out what you care about that’s changed based on your daily workflows.

Jennifer Piper: Well that feature will definitely make life easier for people.

Jennifer Piper: Well Jeff, thanks again for joining us today. This was a great overview of the different offerings that are available to the SMB market. Is there anything else that you’d like to add before we wrap up today?

Jeff Shagena: I think that was just about it, other than just the overall summary that we’re listening to our SMB customers out there and we’re absolutely looking to make all of the packaging and pricing the right size and right fit for all SMBs, whether you’re a day-one startup company or whether you’re already a mature, mid-sized business; we want to make sure that we’ve got the right offerings out there for you.

Jennifer Piper: Thanks again, Jeff, for joining us. We look forward to speaking with you again, soon.

Jeff Shagena: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Jennifer Piper: Thank you to our listeners for tuning in to today’s episode. Join us next time for more discussions about the latest in design innovation and software applications. I’m your host, Jennifer Piper, and this has been Next Generation Design.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/podcasts/next-generation-design/nx-cad-engineering-bundles/