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Dec 05, 2006


Gerald Myroup

More times than not... most software sold today contains a whole slew of functionality that most users either don't need or have the time to discover let alone learn to use. It may be safe to say that the average user only uses 20% of the functionality of the software they use 80% of the time.

That old 80/20 rule truely seems to apply to most software sold today... CAD programs included.

As a software developer I can see that an ala cart means of purchasing software functionality would be attractive to the end user if the cost of purchasing specific functionality allowed them to save substantially over the price of the 'full' version.

AutoCAD proved this when they created AutoCAD lite. Unfortunately for AutoDesk... I believe AutCAD lite has negatively affected (and continues to affect) their bottom line. Though they are a thriving company, I have to believe there are times when they wished they could put the genie back in the bottle on that decision.

R. Paul Waddington

Broadly I like what Alibre is doing but its got some small holes that need addressing that could make it a killer app.

Gerald states;
"Unfortunately for AutoDesk... I believe Autocad lite has negatively affected (and continues to affect) their bottom line. Though they are a thriving company, I have to believe there are times when they wished they could put the genie back in the bottle on that decision."
Is another way of looking at this situation to say that the market has spoken and Autodesk, and some others, don't like what they see. That is, that customers actually know what they want to use and have chosen accordingly? Tough pill for some to swallow eh!

Bill Fane

Software vendors can't win. I've heard these two laments since Day 1, and not just with CAD software:

A. The vendor offers a one-price, all-inclusive product. Complaint: "Why do I have to pay for functionality I don't use?".

B. The vendor modularizes their product so you only need to buy exactly what you want. Complaint: "They are nickel-and-diming me to death. Every time I want specific functionality they charge me for it."

My guess is that the one-size-fits-all approach is the cheapest to manufacture and distribute. Once the software is written, it probably doesn't cost any more to put it all on one CD or DVD and to package it. On the other hand, the segmented approach requires much more paperwork to keep track of packaging variants, different manuals, inventory, licensing, and so on.

Greg Milliken

We (i.e., Alibre) have actually designed our applications and licensing mechanisms to allow us to offer our products a la carte.

We have tested this in special promotions and programs that we closely track and monitor.

Some might find the results interesting; we did.

Rachael Taggart

I think that SOA-based CAD products stand the best chance of delivering a la carte envisaged here. We already gain a la carte access to various business solutions that are SOA-based.
Alibre, since they came up, is also a front-runner in web-based provision of CAD tools, as well as providing affordable and usable CAD applications.
So how interesting, then, that IBM announced SOA-based PLM technologies this week. Hopefully this might be the 'interesting' innovation that the CAD industry has been sorely lacking in the last couple of years.


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