Cutting to the chase, the money maker for any Industrial Process Plant Design system is design delivery, intelligent 3D Design systems deliver fastest, implying they would be used by every one in the industry. This is not the case however, not every one can access such a system, primary reason is how they are distributed, installed, configured and maintained.
This puts the responsibility of getting them to operate efficiently onto the owner, who in turn must use a combination of sales vendor, internal IT & in house expert’s that comes with a high price tag.
One reason for the high price is that the systems are purchased, installed, maintained on a per premises basis, which will never achieve the “one to many” relation ship that cloud comp
With the SaaS Design system, getting design delivery or capacity to deliver designs, does not mean having to scope out, evaluate, purchase software and equipment, install, train and maintain all before we can get to the important bit, which is delivery, we can now simply log on to an outsourced provider, and use the tools to deliver design from there.
The Industrial Process Plant Industry spends 8 billion dollars annual on upgrades and maintenance to the old premises bound design systems (anything owned installed and maintained in the company that uses it). Such systems also produce large CAD files, a.k.a. data back washes or data silos, a SaaS solution will deliver a far more evolved and comprehensive tool set than even the best in class for 10% of that 8 billion across the board, this is because the new business model uses the Internet for distribution and concentrates maintenance and system evolution in one dedicated place, in much the same as electrical power providers use power stations.
Its easier to log on to as many screens required, use the tools to produce the deliverable and on to the next job. Nothing worse than looking at a significant capital investment in intelligent 3D design software and associated hard ware grow old and halve in value year on year from the day it was bought, not to mention the ongoing configuration and maintenance costs, in addition to this is the dark art associated with the configure and maintenance of such systems, not many get it right, even more find it a daunting prospect, still more again will not even consider it.
The big question now is, who can supply such a SaaS CAD, are they to be trusted, what about where the data is kept, the Internet is the wild west, our systems will get compromised, is the provider going to steal or sell on our designs.
The answer is clear and it hinges on this, the “Design Tool” and “Design Data” are different, like a chisel is to a sculpture or a shovel is to snow, the “3D design system” is a tool, the tool is not the data it creates and conditions. As a tool it can write & delete entries (if allowed), BUT it cannot remember or record entries, the Data Base does that, in that way it is data transparent.
So what about the big CAD file ?.
The fact is that it is no longer required when you use a data centered system. All specs, components and model data are contained in data bases, the 3D CAD system simply rebuilds the model from the data it’s allowed to read by the Data Base Management System.
In fact all of the advantages of enterprise Data Base security and associated applications are now leveraged, the data base is now monitoring every thing the “3D Design system” is doing, the data base and all those who use it, are all carefully monitored and logged, anything that conditions the data in the data base is fully validated and traceable, the 3D CAD system is now an outsourced, OPEX only, value appreciating utility.
Further more, the system can be made even more secure by using what is called a Data Platform, this provides a meta data layer, that applications and users interface with, the meta data layer acts as a buffer zone between the actual Data Base and users via applications, only a data centered system can take full advantage of this.
The SaaS CAD provision will be different to anything that preceded it, the SaaS CAD provider will be more like a power generation facility that a factory or builder of steam turbines, or in modern terms a “Service implementor”, rather than software vendor – reseller, or the service owner who wants the utility, not the ownership.
The “service implementor” may emerge as a new entity, that will provide the continuously evolving, maintained, always appreciating, ready to deliver Plant Design solution, as a billable utility, like electricity or gas.