For various reasons, it has been several years since I have attended a Solid Edge conference. When I found out that the Solid Edge ST4 Global Launch Event was going to be held in Huntsville, Alabama, corporate headquarters of Solid Edge, I was immediately on board. I have met and worked with many of the fine folks from Solid Edge and I can tell you that they are a very talented group of people. The problem in the past is most people would never know it because the chances to meet them was so rare. In my view, Siemens has acknowledged this and is addressing it with success.
In late 2009, Siemens brought Karsten Newbury on board as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Velocity Series. Typically, changes in a software vendors' management doesn't necessarily equal positive change. This change has been different. Karsten has actually put a face to Solid Edge. In his short time with us, I have seen more positive changes in how Solid Edge interacts with customers than I have in all my years as a customer. This is indeed an exciting time to be a Solid Edge customer.
This leads me to the point of this post. People that know me know that I say what I think so I'm just going to say it like it is. If you are a Solid Edge customer, it's time to put up or shut up. Siemens has heard us. They are listening. They are trying to make positive changes but they can't do it successfully without customer involvement. They have literally opened their front door and invited us in. If Solid Edge is important to you and your company, you must get involved.
I also wanted to share this post from the Solid Edge customer forums. Matt was kind enough to give me permission to repost it here publicly.
SE/ST4 Beta feedback - Why YOU cannot miss ST4 Launch Event!!!
I haven't said a whole lot previously regarding my involvement in ST4 Beta testing as to avoid putting myself in the midst of a NDA pickle... However, I have some things I really want to share.
I just returned from Huntsville and my onsite week of Beta testing ST4. I’d love to tell you all “this has been fixed” and “that has been fixed” and “oh by the way this is totally new functionality”… But, I think while in Huntsville I learned and had 1st hand experience with something much more important than features and functionality of Solid Edge. Don’t get me wrong, there is a list of “This & That’s” coming in ST4 BUT as previously mentioned because of NDA I do not have the luxury to divulge… Plus, if I did, what incentive would that give the rest of you to join us at the Launch event and Users Group.
This brings me right to the meat and potatoes of why I am writing this morning. I want each of you to have the same opportunity I had this past week. Don’t get me wrong here, Beta testing ST4 was pretty cool on its own right but I do not think in whole it was singly the most value I received while in Huntsville. As most of you know; Huntsville is the “Brain Center” for Solid Edge Planning and Development. Having been there now and meeting the folks, I cannot say enough positive things about the experience and more importantly the value as a user and customer!!! I found out personally that these folks really, really do care about SE. More importantly, they care about how YOU use SE in your day to day tasks and want to know how they can make that a better experience for you!!!
Without exception, each Planning Manager and Development Manager took time to seek me out to have an open dialog about MY use of SE and what can be done to make me more efficient and to make the overall users experience of SE a better one. Going beyond managers I also had the opportunity to meet support staff, GTAC reps and development code writers; they each made themselves available to better understand my individual use cases. In some cases simply putting a face with a name I had spoken with on many occasions was good enough but in other cases dialog took place down to very specific workflows.
What I found via personal interaction, listening to and observing the folks churning the “Brain mass” in Huntsville is this... These guys really do care about YOUR user experience and they get excited about Solid Edge as much as, if not more so, than I do. Most of the folk in Huntsville have been involved in the Planning and Development of SE way before I was even a CAD user. I began using SE on V9 over 10 years ago and by far (I’m guessing here) the average tenure of the group far surpassed my exposure to SE. I bring this up to validate that these guys have much vested and invested in SE. It was obvious to me there is a real passion for and excitement for SE from the inside.
I know by now that most plans for traveling to the ST4 Launch event and Users group have been decided on but I have to urge any of you who have a real interest in SE or even those who simply want a better user experience of SE to make plans to attend. This same great team of Solid Edge Planning and Development will be available to YOU during the event. I cannot think of a single more important reason to attend. This is YOUR time to speak YOUR personal wish list to those at SE who really can make it happen.
I know some may be too busy with their current work load and others cannot get thru the corporate red-tape to attend… BUT… as a user and one who had to push and push and push internally myself to be able to attend… This is an opportunity that should not be missed.
I’m going to draw a parallel on this one to voting in the national election. If you don’t vote for a president one would argue why or if you have the ‘right’ to complain about the course of our country; argument being you had a chance to be heard during the election and choose not to… I feel the same applies here… This is YOUR time to be heard.
Consider this my personal advice and 1st hand experience but also my fair warning…
This really is, as far as I know, a first for us as users to really meet and talk with the “Brain Mass” that plans and designs Solid Edge.
Please join me and the others in Huntsville this June at the ST4 launch event and Solid Edge Users Group.
PS: I am just another user… BUT if you think having 1st hand experience shared with your managers or others trying to justify the travel expense to allow you to attend I am more than willing to share my experiences.
My 2 ½ cents -
Matt Johnson, Sr. Designer