Using any software involves some degree of trust in the vendor. Using the Cloud requires a much higher level of trust.
Autodesk boss Carl Bass is a maker of carefully crafted things, so I’ll use that as an analogy. Using standalone software requires the sort of trust that a maker has in a tool manufacturer. Will the tools work properly and last a long time? Or will they break, potentially damaging the materials or even the user?
Using SaaS requires that same kind of trust, plus others. Will the tool manufacturer keep making that tool? If not, will spare parts continue to be available? Will the manufacturer change the tool design so it doesn’t suit your hand any more, or doesn’t work as well on the materials you use? Beyond that, there are some aspects of the relationship that stretch this analogy somewhat. For example, a SaaS vendor resembles a manufacturer that won’t allow you to buy tools, only lease them. Except the manufacturer can change the lease terms or end it any time it likes, and then come into your workshop and take all your tools away. Oh, and this take-your-tools-away right also applies to the company that delivers the tools to your door.
Using Cloud storage requires yet further levels of trust. It’s not tool manufacturer trust, it’s bank safety deposit trust. Will your carefully crafted creations be kept safe? Or will they be stolen or damaged? If they are, will you be compensated? If you can’t afford to pay the bank fees or want to use another banker because the teller was rude to you, will the bank politely return your valuables to your safe keeping or transfer them to the new bank? Or will they end up in the dumpster at the back of the bank?
Trust is vital. I’m convinced that a CAD on the Cloud takeover will live or die based on trust, more than any other factor. Potential Cloud customers must be able to trust that the vendor is going to do the right thing by them. Without trust, any vendor that expects to win its customers over to the Cloud has absolutely no hope. None. Forget it. Pack up and go home now, and save us all a lot of bother.
With that in mind, a few days ago I added a poll that asks Do you trust Autodesk to do the right thing by its customers?. I deliberately didn’t mention it, just to see what would happen. The initial results are interesting, with only 25% trust so far. If you haven’t already voted, I encourage you to do so.
I also encourage you to share your thoughts on the subject by commenting here. Although you’re welcome to comment as you see fit, it would be good to hear specific reasons you have for whatever level of trust you may have. Do you trust Autodesk? If so, exactly what has Autodesk done to deserve that trust? If not, just what has Autodesk done to deserve your distrust? I’m concentrating on Autodesk because that’s mostly what this blog’s about, but if you’re not an Autodesk customer, feel free to add your thoughts about any CAD vendor you like.