Have You Done Your CAD/IT Due Diligence?

This blog post was originally written for the Managed Design blog. Managed Design is now a U.S. CAD company, so please check back here at www.uscad.com/blog for more written articles from Ted Moberg and our new U.S. CAD Minnesota team.

If you were you like me, you were eager to install Microsoft Windows 10 as soon as it was available. Many AutoCAD users who upgraded and continued to use versions older than 2016 SP1 have experienced many issues.

It is safe to assume that when upgrading anything, especially your OS, issues with your everyday apps may follow. A good practice is to read the System Requirements for all of the apps you run and compare that against what is changing in the upgrade.  Typically, you will discover most of the consequences for upgrading before you push it out the entire office.  Personally, 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, you can check with our team, and we can help you down the right path. Here are some best practices and things you should look out for prior to making the upgrade.

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.

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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 usually get that one tidbit of info that raises a red flag: “Well, we did just get a new virtual server, and its running Windows Server 2012 ”. Surprise, it’s not on the list of compatible network-operating systems.

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 8 GBs 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 simultaneously. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are compliant when you have 16 GBs of RAM installed, but you neglect to see that you only have 1.3 GBs 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 will only make things worse for you and your team.

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CAD Standards

Wild, Wild West or a well-defined set of standards in the office? Most standards land somewhere in-between. However, far too many just leave all of the rules to whomever 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 because it’s the point that I want to stick with you. 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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