Last month we looked at a few internal reasons to move to a newer version of software. These included thinking from the perspective of your users and management, issues like training and finances and finally your industry at large.
We revisit the issues surrounding migration pros and cons as they relate the size of your firm. Do large firms gain more from an upgrade? Do smaller firms make the change easily? Are the issues the same for both?
Defining my terms
First let’s define the term “small and LARGE”. For general purposes I will be defining a small firm as one with less than 15 seats of CAD. Some firms this size are considered huge if they are in a niche market like kitchen design or fire protection. Some firms with 15 seats are considered tiny if they are competing with larger AEC firms or multi office firms. So I leave the final distinction of small and large in your lap. You decide if you are small or large after you see the perspectives below.
Just understanding the perspective of upgrades depends on your size and resources. So I will look at it from both sides as if I were listening into a conversation between 2 CAD Managers.
Large firm Larry (LL) thinks “upgrading is easier for small firms”
LL: “Purchasing and financials related to upgrades and migrations are easier for small firms because you don’t have so many seats to deal with. The sheer dollar volume of upgrading with the higher seat count at my firm often slows me down.”
Small firm Sam (SS) says “large firms have it made”
SS: “Give me a break! You have it made because you have unlimited funds. I wish I had budgets the size of your firm. I could buy anything I wanted.”
LL: “Training is a streamlined event for you, Sam. Small firms have fewer people to train. They get it done quicker. You don’t miss as much time away from work because there aren’t as many who need to be trained.”
SS: “You get your training as an outsourced event. Sure large firms have more users, but they get training contracts and have outsiders come in and make it happen. I have to do it all myself.”
SS: “And let’s talk deployment. It is a no brainer for large firms. You have the tools and wizards and servers and high end software to get everything done without even having to be in the office. You can easily deploy from a remote location.”
LL: “Deployment? How hard can it be to roll out the software when everyone is in the same office? You can do it over a few lunch periods.”
LL: “And don’t bring up Support Staff. They may not be as plentiful for smaller firms, but the needs are also less. You have fewer plotters, users, PC’s, smaller networks, etc. Support staff is not even needed. The users support themselves.”
SS: “Your Support Staff is highly trained and plentiful. You have dedicated CAD staff that does nothing but CAD 40+ hours a week. I have to be productive on projects just to keep my job.”
SS: “You big guys have enough muscle to get everyone on the same version of software. You, your subs, your contractors. You just throw your weight around and everybody jumps.”
LL: “Yeah – right. Like we can force others to buy software. You can’t imagine how tough it is to be exchanging DWG files. Most of your subs are happy with a vanilla AutoCAD file and couldn’t care less about my troubles. It makes my head spin.
LL: “Project workflow is never a problem for you like it is for me. It is not an issue because you guys typically work on one project at a time since you have fewer projects. Shifting software is smooth because your guys all just take a weekend and change over.”
SS: “Who works on just one project? Not us! Project workflow is not an issue for your folks, not mine. Your teams typically work on one project because their projects are so large. Everyone can transition to a new piece of software between jobs.”
LL: “Smaller firms are able to keep up with technology because they can deploy and embrace the newest versions as soon as they roll out. It is a proven fact that smaller firms make the change quicker. I wish I could get on that gravy train.”
SS: “Larger firms are able to keep up with technology because they can buy and embrace the newest versions as soon as they roll out. You most likely have subscriptions for free upgrades. It is a proven fact that larger firms make the change quicker. I wish I could get on that gravy train.”
LL: “You have fewer demands. Small firm Clients are not as demanding as with larger firms. They do not require a firm to comply with CAD Standards and software requirements. They are happy to get their job done and never complain about software problems.”
SS: “Whoa big fella. Big firm Clients are not as demanding as with smaller firms. My clients expect us to keep up with the latest tools and technology just to get the contract in the first place. I am required to comply with CAD Standards and software requirements. Large firm clients are happy to get their job done and never complain about software problems.”
We live in the same world
Hopefully my scenario above demonstrates that the problems, concerns, troubles, and annoyances of migrating are common to all firms. Whether you are a large or small firm only sets the stage for your particular difficulties. We may have differing areas of concern and constraint, but we all are in the same boat. Migrating to new software takes thought, planning and execution to succeed. Next month we will move to the planning stage.