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Siemens PLM Software Joins the On-Demand Trend with Solid Edge Subscription

Siemens PLM Software announces Solid Edge on subscription, payable monthly.

Siemens PLM Software first tested the subscription-sales waters with Solid Edge Design1, a CAD package targeted at a smaller pool of users working on Local Motors projects. Whatever the success of this experiment was, it must have proven to be a viable business. Last week, Siemens officially launched Solid Edge subscription, priced $130-$350 per month. In doing so, the company hopes to attract a whole new set of design software consumers — especially those who need the software strictly for the duration of a project.

Solid Edge Design1 was “a subset of Solid Edge proper,” explained Kris Kasprzak, Solid Edge’s marketing director. By contrast, the version of Solid Edge now sold via subscription is identical to Solid Edge sold under perpetual licensing. The only difference is in how you pay for it.

“[Subscription-based Solid Edge] is the real production-level Solid Edge you’d get if you buy from a partner of ours. But [buyers] will download it from our site instead,” said Kasprzak.

On-demand or subscription-based software has also become synonymous with browser-based or cloud-hosted software. However, that’s not the case here. Solid Edge on subscription requires an installation, and runs on your local machine. It remains active so long as your subscription is active.

The subscriptions are offered as follows:

  • Design and Drafting (basic 3D CAD for creating designs and production drawings): $130 per month per seat
  • Foundation (complete 3D CAD for creating designs from mechanical to aesthetic products): $220 per month per seat
  • Classic (advanced 3D CAD for creating complete digital prototypes): $260 per month per seat
  • Premium (the ultimate 3D CAD functionality – from design to simulation): $350 per month per seat

Kasprzak emphasized, “With subscription software from our competitors, you may get the software but not the support by humans. [Standard online support, community-based troubleshooting, and forums may be available.] With ours, as you download, you get an email and a phone number for one of our partners for support, to answer their questions or offer training.”

When Adobe announced future versions of its popular Creative Suite will only be available as subscription-based cloud-hosted software, dubbed Adobe Creative Cloud, it angered many loyal Adobe users who prefer the localized perpetual version, reported Mashable. Siemens plans to keep both the perpetual and subscription options for Solid Edge users for the foreseeable future.

So what happens when you stop subscribing? Solid Edge will cease to work. If you want to view your Solid Edge models saved as native files after cancelling your subscription, you may use the free Solid Edge viewer from Siemens.

There’s no annual commitment requirement for Solid Edge subscription. It’s strictly pay-as-you-go by month. This approach, the company believes, will attract project-based users who only need access to the software for a finite period.

“A typical use case might be a government contractor who needs to work on a project for six months,” said Kaspzrak. “They don’t want to buy the software, but want to be able to pay for it for using it six months. Or start-up companies without a lot of money. They can use Solid Edge on subscription until they’ve made it and realized they’ll need to use it perpetually. Or business that are cyclical, like toy manufacturers who’re on fire during holiday seasons, then less work later.”

Siemens foresees some companies maintaining a number of perpetual licenses for core usage, supplemented by on-demand subscriptions as the business goes through peaks and lulls.

What are your thoughts? Is subscription-based 3D CAD the right licensing model for your business? Do you think it’ll save you money in the long run? Please share your thoughts with me on Twitter or as comments here.

Watch Siemens’ video announcing Solid Edge subscription below:

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.