Technology, Culture and Innovation

Vendors and customers will need to openly evaluate their needs and capabilities, and craft technology solutions that address real-world design problems.

Vendors and customers will need to openly evaluate their needs and capabilities, and craft technology solutions that address real-world design problems.

While the global pandemic has certainly slowed down large swaths of the economy, the push for digital transformation has continued. IFS released a study earlier this year that found 70% of companies still plan to increase or maintain their digital transformation spend, with an eye on recovering in the post-pandemic economy.

 

IFS released another study in September that looks at these efforts from a slightly different perspective: a growing number of those companies want to spend their transformation dollars with vendors that align with their ethics and culture.

In fact, ethics and culture topped more traditional factors like innovation in the survey when it came to choosing a partner. Why? Poor advice from vendors was listed as a top reason for the failure of digital transformation projects. In many cases, senior management forced implementations with vendors that were a poor technological fit.

“The fact that a non-tangible such as ethics is ranked among the top three vendor traits is inextricably linked to the fact that poor advice from vendors was rated as the top reason for failure,” IFS Chief Customer Officer Michael Ouissi said. “Companies investing in technology should expect their vendors to adhere to sound sales and marketing practices based squarely in actual customer value.”

I bring this up because I think it ties into our focus in this issue—generative design solutions. While vendors like Autodesk have been promoting the capabilities of these systems, adoption is still in the earliest stages, in part because a lot of end users have not been able to align the capabilities of these solutions (which I think can potentially unlock some pretty amazing innovations) with their own goals.

For vendors offering generative design solutions, it is going to be critical to ensure a good fit with the needs of their engineering customers. Likewise, companies that are investigating these solutions should be aware that they will require a new type of approach to the design cycle, and a better understanding of their own design goals.

Early demonstrations of generative design have focused on feeding strength and weight parameters into the solution, and then gasping at the frequently wild-looking shapes that emerge. Practical adoption of these systems will require users to take a more holistic approach to setting up the problems they need to solve. Generative design needs to provide solutions that address the entire workflow, and do so in a way that will not always require additive manufacturing.

In this issue, our writers have talked to experts in the field of generative design to examine the current market for the technology, and how these solutions can potentially help engineers get to the best design in the most efficient way possible. 

As IFS found, however, innovative technology alone is not enough. Vendors and their customers will need to openly and honestly evaluate their needs and capabilities, and craft technology solutions that truly address real-world design problems in an efficient and affordable manner.

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About the Author

Brian Albright's avatar
Brian Albright

Brian Albright is the editorial director of Digital Engineering. Contact him at [email protected].

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