Monday, 3 August 2009

Interesting times at CADsmart..

Gosh, there's been quite a bit happening at CADsmart over the past few weeks. Where to begin?!

First, huge congratulations to Ed & his wife, who recently presented a new baby girl to the family household. To add to the growing brood, my wife had twins (little girl - Erin Rose and little boy - Finnigan) . I think our new philosophy is to grow the team from within and save on hiring fees! :) All are doing well, although I think it's fair to say that Ed & I are not at our sharpest right now, given the reduction in sleep across the board!

Next, we just moved our UK HQ office to a brand new location - Paintworks - one of the premier spots for creative firms in the Southwest (

To add to the mix, I thought it would be a good idea to move house - we need more room to accommodate the new arrivals - so that's my next project in the coming few days! Life certainly isn't dull around these parts!

Next up, work is underway on our new service, which we discussed with our customers at the recent CAD Focus Group. In order to cater for a range of new CAD applications (in particular, in the BIM, Civil and Analysis tools space), we've been looking into additional ways to generate meaningful metrics across these platforms. Too many of the new tools are not especially API-friendly, including many of the core BIM tools, hence the introduction of 'CADsmart i-Skills for AEC' (the 'i' stands for 'interactive', in case you were wondering ;) ). So, with the inclusion of some exciting new technology, including MS Silverlight, heading your way, we feel confident that we will remain at the forefront of AEC skills assessment. It's too early to give you a sneak preview, but we'll keep you posted as we get close to an acceptable beta release.

Last, we just passed our financial year end. It's been quite a strange year, what with the recession and general malaise affecting wide areas of our industry. I've never seen anything like it; such a steep fall away in momentum, revenues and cash flow across an industry the size of the world construction market is truly a one-off event; a market correction on a scale we'll likely never see again. Looking at many of the key firms in our sector, a recurring pattern of 25-35% drop in revenues is commonplace. For us, in truth, the recession hasn't come at too horrible a time; a year later would have been better, a year earlier more damaging. On balance, I guess we are where we are, and that's OK. Our read on the market is that we have 9-12 more months of pain, before we gradually get back on an even keel. It's ironic that the banks are posting huge profits again, but keeping the bulk of the cash to shore up their own balance sheets, before helping SME's and individuals to restore their own finances. Some things will never change! Looks like bankers are the new lawyers (attorneys for our US friends)!

Our summer sale has just a few more weeks to run - it ends this month. The response so far has been tremendous. It shows that, whilst budgets are tight, firms are still looking for opportunities to increase productivity where they can. The simple fact is that, with staff numbers down, firms need to get more work from less resources (staff, licenses, hardware, etc.).

We're looking forward to our annual trip to Kansas City later this month; we're sponsoring the Bentley MCMC conference again - one of the most fun events of the AEC calendar year.

So, these certainly are interesting times at CADsmart! Hope to see you at an upcoming event very soon..


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