Engineers or customers speaking their mind can be a nightmare for marketers. At a Siemens/UGS event today in New York, the nightmare scenario was averted, but it was close depending on who you talk to. Masahide Hamatani, senior GM for Canon’s engineering systems center 2 in Tokyo, was talking about CAD through an English translator. Halfway in, the presentation had been pretty bland and was mostly about the evolution and growth of the camera market.
That ended when he started speaking about CAD (his translator, a woman, seemed very good….but how would I know?). Apparently Canon has designers, but do they use the CAD such as UGS’ centerpiece NX CAD/CAM/CAE/CAID product? Not all of them. Canon has special CAD operators who specialize in the product’s operation, suggesting the designers apparently get their designs built by operators putting them into NX.
“CAD is not easy to use. We are making requests to UGS to revise this product [so designers can use it],” he said through the translator. “UGS is taking this problem seriously to correct this problem. In the future, NX will become a very good product.”
Wait a minute! Isn’t it already?
These profound and now public observations came after several presentations where UGS officials said how simple the product is to use. Indeed, UGS EVP of products Chuck Grindstaff had just said UGS was “removing the barriers to productivity and modeling” so engineers could “work the way [they] want to.” I highly doubt he was talking about “CAD operators.”
I found Hamatani-san’s comments refreshing and applaud Siemens/UGS for not scripting him beforehand. That would have been difficult given he does not speak English and perhaps only Japanese. I’m sitting on the Acela next to marketing friend I bumped into in Penn Station. His reaction to this scenario? “Ouch.”
I heard two others customers speak – one from Swedish steel products company Sandvik and the other from GM - who were neither derogatory nor complimentary about UGS, choosing instead to matter-of-factly describe their companies and the problems they were trying to solve. For sure, UGS/Siemens much to its credit let its customers get up there and say their piece.
Coming off 15 straight quarters of growth and a strong Q1, why shouldn’t it? These are good times for major design tool vednors coming off a number of tough post 9-11 years. Seats at UGS, according to CEO Tony Affuso, have grown from 3 to 4.5 million since the company went private a couple of years ago following EDS’ ownership. And UGS announced today that G.M. has upped for another three years in a sweeping PLM deal (terms were not disclosed).
USG’s, err excuse me, UGS Siemens (the conference left no doubt who’s in charge now) product portfolio is strong and the major question now is whether the company thrive under Siemens. Of course, we heard the accolades heaped on Siemens but let’s check in a year from now and see how it’s going.
A colleague at the conference pointed out a contradiction in what CAD vendors are saying these days…that products are simple to use while getting vastly more powerful as the virtual world relentlessly drives into the domain of physical prototypes and complete product life cycles. I guess his point was you can’t have your coffee hot and cold at the same time.