When the pandemic hit, it turned our understanding of how a workforce operates on its head. In the past we might have been used to a huge office building full of employees all working in close proximity to each other. However, in a post-pandemic world we are seeing a predominantly remote workforce that seems more connected than ever. Fortunately, the flexibility with our design tools has allowed the shift from in-person to primarily remote happen seamlessly.
Traditionally, our 3D design tools were activated on a single machine using a serial number. This would mean that the software being used would be locked to that machine and would need to be deactivated before launching the program on a new machine. In a scenario where you had to unexpectedly be away from the office and you left your computer (and your software license) locked away, you were typically stuck without that software until you could return. At best, the license was stored on a network location and you could use a VPN to remotely connect and still use your design tools. At worst, you were using a standalone license and couldn’t remotely connect. Maybe you could sneak in to release the license to activate on a new machine or rescue the entire computer, but often times that was not feasible.
Nowadays, more and more design tools are transitioning from the traditional serial number based licensing to a named-user licensing model. For example, the 3DExperience Platform allows the admin to assign specific roles to the users, all tied to that user’s login. This means that as long as the user is connected to the internet, they’ll be able to access all the design tools they would sitting in the office but from wherever they are connected. They will be able to use the same CAD tools they know and love as well as any additional design or validation tools.
Having control over your design data is a great idea for any industry. Making sure all your relevant information is in one location allows not only just the team to collaborate but to also work together accurately and efficiently. One of the most important aspects of any file storage system in a post-pandemic world is making sure that storage is connected. This means that no matter where a team member is located that they are able to get access to the file storage system and grab the correct version of the file they're looking for.
With non-CAD specific file storage options you can keep team members connected and give a centralized location for collaboration. However, often times these aren’t optimized for CAD files and have a hard time differentiating versions/revisions and making sure you don’t have duplicate models. Problems like these can be easy to solve with smaller teams working in offices but problems can arise when working in a more flexible remote setting. To remedy this, a lot of companies use a more CAD specific file management system such as SOLIDWORKS PDM. These are typically hosted on a server on site and act as a secure vault to house both design and non-design data. With a CAD specific vault, there are additional controls to lock down files, control revisions, and even allow remote members to collaborate as long as they maintain a connection to the vault.
Similar to our traditional design tools, data management can also be used as a cloud-based, named-user licensing tool. This is a great way to implement a secure file vault and allow team members from all over the world to connect in a secure environment. Using a tool like the 3DExperience Platform, you won’t have to worry about costly server maintenance, implementation, or administration. As long as your users are connected to the internet, they can access their files either in SOLIDWORKS or on the Web whenever they want, whenever they want.
The key to working with 3D CAD in a post-pandemic world is being able to maintain flexibility. Whether that means flexibility on-site or having the flexibility to work remote, we want to make sure all our users can not only see the design data but also work with it. Being able to maintain projects, hit deadlines and encourage collaboration are essential to maintaining productivity in the future. Knowing the options of how to leverage any existing design tools and data management to encourage that is a great first step. Being able to implement changes to processes and staying flexible to the changing structure of the 3D CAD world is critical to staying relevant for the future.
Want to learn more? Watch the webinar "Understanding 3D CAD in a Post-Pandemic World"