The CAD doctor is in…run for your life!

We're not the only ones to have a field day with Airbus's problems with the A380. Now — surprise, surprise! — the CEO has resigned after only three months in the role. I know CEOs (mostly of tech companies) and, of course, I've worked for a few. These aren't people who resign after 90 days unless they think the situation is so hopeless they see no other alternative. (It's interesting, though, isn't it, that there's never a shortage of replacements ready to take on the role today someone else thought was impossible yesterday.)

Anyway, I feel badly for Airbus specifically and the EU in general for becoming the poster-child for an inability to overcome business nationalism. After all, Airbus was about building an European alternative to Boeing, not a French, Spanish, German and/or British one. And while economic nationalism can tear apart the EU in other ways, the market won't tolerate this in a business entity, so there was no hiding it. It's all out in the open, ugly and unfortunate.

So, what's next? In the tech world, the buzz is all about the CAD incompatibilities…and about what should be done to prevent a German wiring harness from not being able to fit inside a French conduit. Can't you just hear the CAD vendors' sales guys drooling over the chance to "integrate" the separate parts of Airbus?

In talking with Chris Williams about this yesterday, he said something I thought was truly profound: "Would you trust this problem to a CAD vendor?" 

In a word, no. What the CAD vendors have shown here (and in general) is that despite their talk about collaboration and information sharing, they really only know how to implement engineering applications. That is, they have no earthly idea what happens in the broader business outside product development.

You know the old adage that if you go see a surgeon about a cold, they decide to cut your face off. Having a CAD "doctor" diagnose and prescribe a solution for the need to have product information everyware is essentially asking the surgeon to eviscerate your entire company's collaborative infrastructure.

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