Firm Evaluates 8 Most Popular CAD Programs

Originally published by: Architect MagazineJanuary 26, 2015

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Sure, architects and designers must regularly use CAD, but how content are they with their firm’s software platform of choice? Business software review platform G2 Crowd used consumer reports and social and public data to create a matrix (shown below) ranking eight of the most popular CAD products. The results were published last week in the company’s first Grid report for general-purpose CAD software, which found that eight in 10 users would recommend the product they use, with products meeting user needs about 80 percent of the time.

G2 Crowd selected the eight products included in the report—AutoCADAutoCAD LTSketchUp,DraftSight3ds Max DesignMicroStationRhinoceros, and TurboCAD—from the more than 15 general-purpose CAD software vendors listed on its website because each had received 10 or more reviews at the time the report was compiled. The company also offers reviews for BIM, sketching, product- and machine-design, and civil engineering design products separately. It has previously issued reports for software like those for digital analytics, project management, and customer-relationship management.

The general-purpose CAD matrix determines its “Satisfaction” ranking from user reviews, while the “Market Presence” metric is generated from vendor size, market share, and social impact. That means products in the “Leaders” quadrant offer sizable scale, market share, and global support, while products in the “High Performers” section are highly rated but lack comparably in market share and scale. “Contenders” offer scale and resources without either the quantity or quality of ratings.

Beyond the matrix, the report ranks products based on their highest- and lowest-rated features, which include editing, rendering, and modeling tools, file interoperability, custom interfaces, and hardware support. A report average for each feature category allows for cross-vendor comparisons. For example, AutoCAD's drawing tools rank higher than the report's average for that feature, while the platform's 3D/solid modeling tools rank slightly below average.

The report also ranks products by factors such as ease of use, quality of support, and how willing current users are to recommend the product to others.

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