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Getting Input


When one of my friends asks me what I do at Siemens and I know they have seen the movie Office Space, I’ll say, “I take the specifications from the customer and bring them to the software engineers”.

It would be nice if I could just take an email (or fax) from a customer, forward it to the software engineer and have them implement it in the next release.  Unfortunately, there are many more inputs to this equation. Some things we have to think about are:

  • What do current customers want?

    • Is this customer a full time user of our software, an occasional user, a manager, a business owner or an IT manager?
    • How do you balance conflicting requirements from customers? Even users with the exact same job may have different ideas on how something should work.

  • What do prospective customers want?

    • Like any other business, we want to expand our market.
    • What do the folks in the field (sales,  training, marketing, application engineers) dealing with new and potential cusotmers everday say are good things? What do they say we should work on?

  • What new engineering, software, or hardware innovations can we take advantage of or even create in our product? Which ones do we need to prepare for?

    • These are the hard ones because it requires some future prediction.
    • Big innovations tend to be disruptive. How do we balance gain with impact to the customer?

We have processes in place for taking all these inputs and (hopefully) optimizing for the best possible product but as you see, its a bit more compliated that just forwarding email or taking a fax to a developer (note: I don’t think we use faxes anymore…that is just from the movie).

Now I’m sure at least one person out there reading this is saying, “This is all nice, but all I really want is this little tweak to Solid Edge to make it better for me”. Or, “I’ve got some great idea for your product.  How do I get it to you?”  I’ll talk about this next blog.


“What do prospective customers want?”

They want Siemens to give them incentives to move away from Pro/E and SolidWorks. As of right now prospective Solid Edge with ST customers are offered absolutely nothing in this regard.

They want Siemens to fully integrate UG CAM into Solid Edge with ST so that they can move to a better platform than is currently offered by popular mid-priced CAM with it’s lousy / dated / non-productive CAD.

Jon Banquer

San Diego, CA


Hi Jon,

I don’t do marketing and sales and I’m not a CAM guy so I can’t comment here. Maybe someone will jump in with a good reply.

One thing you left off was the ability to resuse and modify data from the old CAD system. Since I know you follow what is going on in the CAD industry pretty closely you may have done it on purpose. Syncrhronous Technology in Solid Edge is a huge advatage for prospective customers in reusing their data.



“Syncrhronous Technology in Solid Edge is a huge advatage for prospective customers in reusing their data. “

It’s huge, Mark.

The problem is that without marketing from Siemens users of SolidWorks and Pro/E aren’t getting the message… at all.

Superior technology and better ideas don’t sell themselves.

After a great build up to initial release Siemens thinks that this is good enough?

Company I work for has over a hundred seats of Pro/E. Think anyone from Siemens has targeted our account or paid a visit to our machine shop?

I’m a pretty vocal person online… think Siemens has ever gotten serious about finding out who I work for or if I might be interested in upgrading to Solid Edge with ST?

I had to beg a Siemens VAR for a quote for Solid Edge with ST. No trade in offer. No incentive to upgrade.

Any idea how many times I’m bombarded by SolidWork Corp by e-mail or from what use to be my VAR when I lived in Phoenix, Arizona?

Besides the initial release build up for Solid Edge with ST I see little or no difference between UGS marketing and Siemens marketing.

Jon Banquer

San Diego, CA

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cool insight. hard to realize sometime that there’s a lot of in-between processes in all the decisions going on. But when I think about it, that’s a large part of my job too… on the user side!

You probably know better than me, but I think customers are receptive to change when it does make things easier, even big changes.

good post man.


Thanks Josh,

I personally don’t think designing a software product is very much different from designing a real product. In my old days as an engineer in the tire industry, we had exactly the same needs for feedback.

The only real difference I see is that innovations and new technologies come faster on the computer side. Still, even here, I doubt the average person realizes how quickly real products have to be updated and innovated.

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Hi Jon,

I’m in the Inside Product Sales group for Solid Edge, in the Southwest Region.  Call me and we can discuss insentives if you know someone looking at Solid Edge.  Cam Express and Solid Edge are very well integrated as well.  We can do a demo for you if you are interested.


Adam Charlton


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“what do you do?”

“I write and publish technology magazines”

“really, like what? like Wired?”

“technology magazines for designers and manufacturers”


“oh.. sweet dreams”

Can we swap jobs for a week?



I enjoyed listening to you on the phone today.  ;>)

I’ve taken the time to lay out what I feel needs to be done:

Jon Banquer

San Diego, CA



Would I get to visit England during my week? If so, you are on. How hard can selling and publishing a technology magazine be? grin


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This is a really good read for me, interesting and very informative, I appreciate you work.

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Thanks you very mach.