Tech Corner

Have you done your CAD/IT due diligence?

Ted Moberg on Sep 30, 2016 4:04:38 PM

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Were you like me, eager to install Microsoft Windows 10 as soon as it was available? Were you one of the many that upgraded and continued to use AutoCAD older than 2016 SP1? If so you probably had issues. 

You should assume that upgrading anything, especially your OS, will cause problems somewhere. A good practice is to read the System Requirements for all of the apps you run and check that against what is changing.  Typically you will find out about most of the pitfalls before you push it out the entire office.  In addition, I like to setup an older desktop not needed for project work and test as much as you can before deployment.  If you don't have the ability to run a test, at least check with our team and we can help you down the right path.

Local Operating System

Windows 10. Everyone is jumping on board! Just click [here] to install.   Sounds good, right? No, it's not good - not yet anyway, if you are using Autodesk applications. As of today, only AutoCAD 2016 SP1 is Windows 10 compatible. All tools will be compliant soon, but if you are in the middle of a project, do not upgrade your OS. And when you do, make sure it is compatible with all your apps.

Network Operating system

This is not often a problem, but every now and then, I get calls from customers asking why they are getting crashing issues. It’s random and happening to everyone with a CAD application. After a long list of questions, I get a tiny bit of info that leaks into the conversation, “Well, we did just get a new virtual server and its running Windows Server 2012R2…” Surprise, it’s not on the list of compatible network-operating systems. Oops.

Hardware requirements

Probably the most commonly overlooked issue is hardware requirements. It is a balance between budget allowance and how fast one would expect data to load, save and render. Don’t forget, a hardware specification might say that eight GB’s of RAM is required. This is what the app needs after Windows takes the storage it needs. Outlook takes a chunk and FireFox takes a bite along with whatever else you are running at the same time. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are compliant when you have 16 GB’s of RAM installed, but you neglect to see that you only have 1.3 GB’s available.

Service Packs & Upgrades

Quite often we run across companies that are behind with product updates. This is caused by a long list of good and bad reasons. Regardless of the reason, it is a bad practice. Upgrading on a regular schedule has much less of an impact on your employees, your projects and your cash flow. Putting upgrades off just makes things worse.

CAD Standards

Wild, Wild West or a well-defined set of standards in the office? Most standards land somewhere in-between. But far too many just leave all of the rules to whoever is currently sitting in the CAD seat. With no guiding set of standards, you will be spending more time and money than is necessary to meet your due dates.

Training

Training is listed last not because it is the least important, but because it’s the point I don’t want you to forget. If you want your projects to be successful, train your people. There are some that can just sit down and teach themselves; they are few and far between. Everyone needs at least a basic understanding of how the tool works if they/you are going to be successful.

Many who purchase a set of applications do not do any training. Then they go back to the old software and claim the new app just didn’t work. In the meantime, their competitors’ implement a complete plan that includes all the due diligence required for success.

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