Robert Green’s “An Open Letter to CAD Software Companies” and a Response from IntelliCAD

If you’re one of the many folks out there who don’t believe that the developers of your CAD software are listening to you… you’re not alone and you should take the time to read Robert Green’s “An Open Letter to CAD Software Companies” in Cadalyst. And, as to the part about feeling like you’re all alone, here is Robert’s follow up describing the overwhelming response to his open letter.

I receive email versions of Robert’s bi-weekly CAD Manager newsletters but had fallen behind and didn’t see the original post until yesterday. If I’d read it when it was first released, my response would have been, “Amen brother!”.

Just yesterday morning I had a conversation with a colleague whose company does Landscape Architecture, Civil Design and Land Planning. They are fully invested in Civil 3d (including much blood, sweat and tears in addition to money, money, money) but they’re as productive as any company I know of with the program. Their main complaint? They feel like Autodesk is pushing them toward Revit and they have no need for the software.

In my own experience, I see the push toward NavisWorks and 3ds Max. I had two seats of Civil 3d until I downgraded one of them to Map last year – only to be “rewarded” with an upgrade to Infrastructure Design Suite (and more money for Subscription) this year. This was supposedly something that owners of a Civil 3d and a Map license were able to opt-in to. I didn’t opt-in. So, it took me several days to get them to un-opt-me-in and revert my licenses back to what I’d purchased. Is it any wonder I’m suspicious of any “bonuses” that come my way because of this?

I don’t know how much Robert intended to point the finger at Autodesk in the original column but, with my experiences described above, the references to BIM (which we’ve long argued was a way for Autodesk to avoid talking about Esri and GIS) and Cloud and other buzzwords, that’s certainly the connection I made in my mind.

Because the Carlson Software I sell now includes IntelliCAD, an alternative to AutoCAD, I passed links to the open letter and the responses to a few folks to get their reaction. Dave Lorenzo, the Development Director for the ITC (IntelliCAD Technology Consortium) took the feedback to heart and, considering the interest in the future of IntelliCAD the past few years, I asked his permission to post his response. I very much appreciate his willingness to let me do so…

I agree that the features mentioned are focused on AutoCAD, but the article is not so much about features as it’s really about the user’s perception if someone is listening. While Autodesk is moving too fast providing features that users don’t want or need, we are not moving fast enough to provide the basic productivity features users are requesting, so it appears we both are not listening to our users. That is the perception we need to fix too.

Our next release has several user requested productivity features and I hope our users will see we are listening. Actually we have always been listening but our rewrite of IntelliCAD 7 took so many resources that there was little time for new features – that situation is finally changing. I believe that there are a lot of unhappy AutoCAD users who want IntelliCAD to be successful, we just need to listen and add those remaining productivity features that are keeping them from making the switch.


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