To all SolidWorks WORKGROUP customers: If you have not heard by now, be advised that SolidWorks is discontinuing support for their WORKGROUP PDM product.
Therefore, if you are a WORKGROUP customer, this leaves you with the following options regarding WORKGROUP and the data it is managing:
- Continue using WORKGROUP knowing it is an unsupported product. Customers will be supported until December 31, 2018 when official support for the 2017 product line ends.
- Migrate to SolidWorks PDM Standard
- Migrate to SolidWorks PDM Professional
- Migrate to a non-SolidWorks PDM/PLM system
xLM does not recommend option #1. Most likely your company’s intellectual property (IP) is stored in the WORKGROUP system. If WORKGROUP ceases to function properly and you could not access it, this could have a major impact from a productivity, cost and even legal impact. You will also be limited when it comes to upgrading your SolidWorks to newer versions in the future. Even though xLM and companies like it understand the intricacies of WORKGROUP and most likely would be able to deal with such issues, we find that it is risky and unnecessary given the alternatives. Indeed, we see that most WORKGROUP customers will be choosing between options #2 or #3. This blog will provide insights as to which questions WORKGROUP customers should be asking themselves to help make the best decision for their particular situation. In addition, we will provide some insight on option #4.
When deciding if SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or Professional is right for your company, consider the following:
- Size of the current WORKGROUP Vault – the recommendation from SolidWorks is that if your WORKGROUP Vault is larger than 20 gigabytes in size, we recommend Professional.
- Types of users who need to access the data and number of users who be accessing the data – what are the roles of users who need to access, create and modify the data? Will it only be engineers, users from other departments or management? How many users are accessing the data today? If it will be twenty or more users this may be the tipping point between Standard and Professional.
- How will the users access the data? Do they need to access through the PDM thick client, Web Client or some custom developed client interface.
- Which functions with PDM are you looking to perform? For example:
- Which file types are you managing today? Do you manage more file types beyond SolidWorks, DWG and Office?
- Do you need data replication? Will there be users at other locations that need to access and or create/modify the data?
- Do you need any automated tasks for creating PDFs, Batch Printing, or other customizations? Note that Standard will be including a task to create PDFs for SOLIDWORKS files, but will be limited to just that.
- Does the data need to integrate with any other systems such as PDM – ERP integration?
- Do you have custom Status defined in WORKGROUP and need to manage similar lifecycle states in the new system?
- Growth – Not only should you consider the current state of your data/data management requirements, but consider where as a company you are heading and which functionality you will need to support it in the future. Here are some specific items to think about:
- Are your current business/engineering processes dependent upon how WORKGROUP manages your data? Might you be able to optimize these processes if you had a more flexible product?
- Where do you see the company going in X number of years? Which challenges do you anticipate due to such growth or change?
- How is your data trending today? What is the rate of growth for the number of files being created, number of revisions, number of projects, etc.?
- Cost – based upon information I have seen to date, I believe there is no change in license price to switch from WORKGROUP to PDM Standard, however there will be additional license costs to “upgrade” to PDM Professional. In addition to any licensing costs, there is a migration cost to migrate from WORKGROUP to PDM (regardless of Standard or Professional). The cost for migration will depend on various factors, such as how clean your WORKGROUP data is (will there be data clean up required?) and if you are performing a one-to-one migration or performing any data translations or modifications to support how you may configure PDM. (Be on the lookout…xLM will be writing a different blog on the topic of data cleaning and what to look for from a data point of view when migrating out of WORKGROUP).
SolidWorks will be providing their resellers and partners with tools to help make the migration process as easy as possible (xLM participated in prototyping some of these tools).
If you answer yes to many of these questions, most likely SolidWorks PDM Professional is the correct choice for you.
As for option #4, if there is a need for different or additional functionality from what SolidWorks PDM can provide, you may wish to consider other products. As with its name, SolidWorks PDM is more of a PDM system. If you need more of a PLM system, then you may want to look at other products as well as 3DEXPERIENCE, for example. Answers to my questions in points #4 and #5 should help you understand if this is an option to consider.
We at xLM have vast experience and are the premiere player in migrating data out of WORKGROUP and into other systems. If you are considering migrating out of WORKGROUP and want to discuss the implications of what will be involved or how we could assist you, we would be happy to organize a meeting to discuss in more detail.