I've noticed in the past few months that there are quite a few companies in my User Group that haven't upgraded their SolidWorks seats yet. A couple of them are still using SolidWorks 2007 & 2009! This saddens me because I work hard to promote SolidWorks to everyone, I recommend that small shops can use it to decrease drafting time, get new business and make prettier drawings. The Stimulus package was great for people looking to keep their skills up to date when out of work, but what about companies who are struggling durring these hard economic times?
After doing a little research, I've found a couple of reasons for this:
1) Smaller mom & pop shops that barely bring in a profit cannot afford the subscription fees on even one or two seats. Working for a larger company, we sometimes forget that some industries just can't justify the cost of new technology in the form of computers, software and training.
2) Large companies with several seats of SolidWorks (including my own) are struggling to stay affloat, and the next item on the list to cut back on is maintenance fees that we really only use to upgrade to the next version. Sure we use the tech support, but usually only once a year (when we have installation problems). Our company went from having 15 seats to only 7 now. At several thousand dollars per year for maintenance, that helped save our company.
I've been trying to come up with a solution to this dilema, because let's face it... we are here to help each other. If not, then you wouldn't lead or attend user group meetings, and you certainely wouldn't be browsing this online forum looking for questions to help answer. The only solution I've been able to come up is something similar to how a friend of mine get's $10 a month phone service, and I pay $50. It's based on income. If you can prove your company's profit is less than X, then you qualify for a discounted price. Tech support could be for a month to help with install and get you moving,and upgrades wouldn't need to be included. You can get all the free training you need online from helpful websites, and user groups. Let's face it, software is expensive to develope, but is cheap to distribute. If a company can't afford the full price, then they will do one of three things... 1) use outdated software until they either get lucky with a big contract or go out of business. 2) download a bootleg version somewhere and that's not cool or 3) switch to a different product, and that's not cool either.
Does anyone else have any ideas on getting inexpensive software to the masses so companies can continue to be competitive?