Here are some of the claims I tracked down:
"Study Finds AutoCAD 2004 Boosts Average User Productivity By Up to 35 Per Cent" [over AutoCAD 2000/i/2002]
"Designers and other professionals can realize as many as 14 hours per week in productivity gains by shifting to AutoCAD 2005 from older version... [2002 -- works out to 35%].
"Study participants using new features in AutoCAD 2006 completed typical design and documentation tasks 29 percent faster than participants using AutoCAD 2002."
AutoCAD 2008 makes architects 26% more productive [than 2005].
At this point, Autodesk might have been getting worried, because the rate of efficiency gains was falling. However...
"...a new study that found productivity gains of up to 63 percent when engineers and designers use AutoCAD 2010 software for common design and documentation tasks" [over AutoCAD 2007].
To get the total efficiency, you have to multiply the 1- decimal values (as my son reminded me, efficiencies are multiplied, not added), like this:
TE = 0.65 * 0.65 * 0.71 * 0.74 * 0.37 = 0.08 213 315 5
12.2x more productive. Drafting tasks that formerly took a week to complete with AutoCAD 2002 are now accomplished in just 3.3 hours. (Note to Matt Lombard: This one's called "Dino Purple.")
But Wait, There's More!
Despite all those gains in productivity, AutoCAD is a positive laggard compared with...
"The company also made public a sanctioned benchmark study that indicates MicroStation PowerDraft provides nearly twice the productivity of AutoCAD."
"Field Tests Show 42 Percent Productivity Gain Using AutoCAD P&ID [over an unknown version of AutoCAD]"
"Want to increase your productivity by up to 65 percent? Then now is the time to move to AutoCAD Mechanical [from AutoCAD]" in 2008.
"A recent study shows up to an 80 percent increase in productivity when moving to AutoCAD Electrical from basic AutoCAD" in 2008
What It Means
Wrote a reader from Norway, "AutoCAD will soon do your work at no time at all?"
You would wonder if Autodesk's management can sleep at night knowing they are the purveyors of this rubbish and knowing they can never support the claims; with factual evidence relevant to real life.
In the past, I have personally contacted one of the 'independent' researchers for details on how the test were done only to be told I would need permission from Autodesk? - and that was never given.
Equally I have contacted some of those 'very fortunate customers' who have 'benefited' from productivity improvements, as seen in adverts. Guess what - no REAL or repeatable assessments to determine true productivity improvements were done - just guess work.
And who could forget the AutoCAD Mechanical Productivity Study Booklet that in one statement, claimed a productivity increase of 1500% for one function and then on the next page rolled out a productivity improvement 7800%.
Is it any wonder Autodesk sales staff are likened to used car salespersons when they are given these tools to work with by some very out of touch management and marketing people.
But all this begs the question; if we users don't believe what is said why do they persist? Is it Autodesk's management's fault they can continue to say these things; or is it the customers fault for not bombarding Autodesk's management with the facts and taking a public stance on the issue as well?
Posted by: R. Paul Waddington | Nov 12, 2009 at 04:42 PM
After having learnt CAD 10 years ago in an office I'm now looking to but either AutoCAD or Microstation Powerdraft for my own use as an architect comeing back int othe profession.
What's the verdict on which system is better. Microstation still seems to be able to do some things that you have to do a long way round with AutoCAD?
Posted by: Duncan Thomas | Nov 13, 2009 at 08:52 AM
I'd say as Lou Reed: You'r still doing things I gave up years ago :-)
(btw, I am the reader from Norway)
To be serious, don't use plain AutoCAD for architectual work. If you want it simple, try Bricscad, a friendlier "lookalike" or "clone" (yes, I sell it). If you want to concentrate on your work, try ArchiCAD, Revit, Rhino + Visual ARQ or similar. Lokk for IFC export, in case you want to work with some HVAC, Electrical or construction engineers. Draw walls, doors and windows in 3D, not lines and arcs.
Back to the topic.
I have been sitting next to a customer with an extremely old version of Catia on a Windows NT computer the last few days. He is switcing to Rhino because the Dassault wants 10.000 Euros to give him a new license for Windows XP or Vista, and new computers won't run NT. The point is, he designs his aluminium boats and produces cutting files faster on that NT machine that never crashes than most people can do with newer software and hardware.
Posted by: Ragnar Thor Mikkelsen | Nov 17, 2009 at 03:49 PM