BeyondPLM: CAD, Engineers and Online Communities
CAD and PLM industry blogger Oleg Shilovitsky discusses online communities, and specifically takes a look at the two top engineering communities - SolidWorks and GrabCAD.
Originally posted on BeyondPLM.com:
Engineering software companies are joining the bandwagon community building. Social CAD, Social PLM, Social Collaboration – for the last few years we’ve heard a lot about how community driven (social) software will change the way we do business. We can only speculate about successes and failures of social software. However, I want to bring two examples of communities related to engineering software - SolidWorks Users and GrabCAD.
SolidWorks has large and successful community. Nobody can argue. The common interests and needs among them is to share knowledge and experience of how to use SolidWorks. In my view, it was extremely important to all participants since it allowed to them (engineers) to get CAD system support. Most of SolidWorks users are working for small firms that had no budget and engineering IT to help them.
GrabCAD is an interesting example. Started few years ago as “Facebook for Engineers”, it succeeded to gather about 1 million engineers to share CAD files online. Here is my pure speculation how it was done. Re-use is one of the fundamental engineering behavior. You can save a lot of time by re-using existing design even if you will modify it. Back in my university years, to have an old similar project was a huge time saving factor in every project I did. GrabCAD provided to engineers models to reuse CAD models for the best price – free. In addition to that, it helps engineers to self-promote their work.
Think about these two examples. In both cases, focus on identification of “community rule” was a key to success. It should be something that will drive common interests and benefits of all participants. Wikipedia article about organizational communication can be a good source of learning and additional information.
Read the full post at BeyondPLM.com
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About the author: (Lindsey Christensen)
I'm the Director of Marketing for GrabCAD and Stratasys Software. Working hard to bring you the best in CAD, 3D printing, and all things digital manufacturing.
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