CAD and IT: Not one in the same, but partners in efficiency
Written by Lisa Polonski
As a senior manager, you probably question the need for a managed CAD environment when you already have a managed IT environment. Doesn’t the IT manager take care of the technical needs of the CAD department? Unfortunately, not in all cases. In fact, if you were to ask the IT manager about the technology infrastructure in place in the CAD department – the functionality of the software, how it can be customized in deployment, use, client configuration standards, and user skill levels or the direction that software vendors are going and the impact these changes will have on data management needs and timely upgrade planning – these might be issues they are not familiar with. The answers they may have are number of computers, software licenses, plotter, printers, or the hardware each workstation is configured with. This is useful information, but not enough to improve productivity of a CAD workspace.
This is a problem for many reasons. An inventory of current infrastructure is needed in order to make informed decisions regarding budgets for updates, upgrades, and licensing subscriptions. However, without the knowledge of how to best utilize, customize deploy installed software or what the latest software vendor trends are, money may be spent on inadequate upgrades. This results in additional expenditures down the road to upgrade hardware on these workstations to allow software to run at its full potential. A maintained inventory of the CAD department from the lens of a CAD professional is essential.
CAD vs IT Knowledge Base
Your IT manager and computer support department have a specific knowledge base in maintaining a technology infrastructure via monitoring operational requirements, installing software, implementing strategies and technology solutions related to information processing, and offering expertise in cost-effective hardware and system building. They are essential to your business; however, their knowledge of CAD software versions, the specific capabilities, user needs, and skills with CAD-specific workflows is likely lacking.
Only a CAD professional with years of experience with various software packages, who has developed workflows, discovered and remedied snags in the design process, continually explores upcoming software version releases and upgrades specific to the CAD industry, and knows what CAD users need in order to improve efficiency, can make informed decisions regarding the technology infrastructure of the CAD department. Having a CAD manager or managed service provider in place to work alongside your IT manager greatly improves system performance and resource planning.
Hardware and Software Maintenance
Having a well managed CAD environment that dovetails with IT improves the viability of the organization. Operating CAD software involves knowledge beyond typical IT functions. Together, CAD professionals and IT can keep the operation running smoothly by maintaining the appropriate hardware, software, upgrade plans, customization and user education.
Additionally, CAD requires standard procedures for storage of data. The IT manager can work with the CAD professional(s) to coordinate network procedure for data storage that can be established in the workflows that are developed and adhered to within the CAD department. This results in more efficient workflows, reduction of errors and disconnects between users and departments.
Technology Resource Planning
CAD software continues to advance and performs graphically and computationally demanding tasks. This type of technology necessitates higher-end processors, monitors, graphic cards, RAM, and plotting devices. Lacking knowledge in the software abilities and functionality, IT professionals alone cannot possibly know what is required to run these programs at full aptitude. CAD experts have knowledge of new software releases and their peak performance needs.
The combined knowledge of these CAD professionals along with that of the IT department allows a careful look into the future to plan for new software releases and the upgrades needed to support them. Teaming allows for the delivery of leading-edge hardware and software to CAD users, for maximum efficiency and ROI.
As a progressive manager, you seek to find solutions and implement collaborative practices that maximize the efficiency of the design process and ROI. Therefore, the aforementioned need for a managed CAD environment should be clear to you. The part that is difficult is pulling a user from billable time to perform these duties and proactively support the inner-workings of the CAD department alongside IT.
The feasible solution lies in partnering with a CAD managed service Provider. These teams of CAD professionals are equipped with the leadership skills, methodology, knowledge-base, and collaborative nature, needed to maximize the efficiency of your CAD department through the technological infrastructure and more. They are ready to hit the ground running with no time lost interviewing, hiring and/or training. Their success is dependent upon maximizing your technology investments and is continually countered back to ROI; therefore, the investment in the value of a managed service agreement results in a maximum return. After all, how much money do you make by pulling someone from billable work to manager your CAD environment? How well can anyone function when they are trying to manage a CAD system ‘as time permits’?
If you are seeking to maximize the profitability of your hardware, software, and investments in personnel, and are interested in a Managed Service solution, EnvisionCAD would be happy to share our success stories, brainstorm, or answer any questions you might have. You can find all of our contact information Here.
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