What Makes Effective Software?

ShannonMcGarry March 11, 2019 3 min read


Image courtesy of Pixabay


The way we view and buy software is a continually evolving process, especially in the last 10 years. Our physical mailboxes used to be filled with AOL discs, and now our digital inboxes are filled with downloadable programs that require a monthly subscription. Software has certainly run the gamut, serving a variety of industries and applications. For engineers, available software knows no bounds — it comes in every shape, size, and functionality.


But what exactly makes effective software?


Before we dive deeper into what exactly makes a specific piece of software the right choice for you, it is essential to understand the two main models of distribution for engineering software.


First, you can pay for software up front, shelling out big bucks right away and then paying for maintenance fees (usually about 25% of the price) and upgrades in the years that follow.


Alternately, Software as a Service (SaaS) programs require a subscription that includes software, maintenance, and a variety of support. In this model, the user receives access to new and updated versions, as well as assistance on an as-needed basis. SaaS models are a popular choice because they often offer a higher return on investment, no commitment, and all of the necessary support to ensure success.


Principal Software Features for Long-Term Success


If you have a feeling for what sort of software you’re looking for, it’s time to start your evaluation process. While this may vary depending on what exactly your end goals are, there are a few basics that remain consistent.


Device Compatibility



Image courtesy of Pixabay


For software to be useful, it must be compatible with the tools you need to use. For engineers, this can mean compatibility across computers (will it work with a Mac and PC?), and now mobile devices might even be part of your digital toolkit. For large teams using many different platforms, compatibility is critical.


Effective Collaboration



Image courtesy of Pixabay


Of course, compatibility isn’t all that matters for some teams. Everyone needs software that can offer the ability to collaborate on different projects, across platforms and equipment.


Can changes be viewed in real time? What if two people are looking at something at once? What if you’re offline? What if you need changes in one program to update in another? What if not just team members need to collaborate, but entire systems need to work together seamlessly? What if, what if, what if!


Cloud compatibility is one of the best solutions to these issues, and in 2019, it is essential for effective collaboration as well as device accessibility.


Integrated Tools


Engineers use a lot of tools, and they may not always have the time or energy to learn new ones. Finding software that seamlessly integrates into the set of tools your team already uses is critical to a software’s overall effectiveness. When a software system can work alongside your current setup, your team is happy.


It’s essential to find software that integrates with all the tools you might need to complete your project. If your project depends on software you’re already familiar with, you need seamless integration without giving up access to your favorite tools. Here’s what people really care about: when changes happen in one part of the process, they get reflected throughout the entire software ecosystem – the definition of effective software.


Intuitive Use


Of course, software should also be easy to use. Even when software companies provide great support, there isn’t always time to utilize it at the moment. Don’t waste time with how to use software; instead, find software that lets you make the most of your time working. Onboarding new teammates, learning new features, accessing your data – it should all be easy and intuitive. Effective software allows you to problem solve quickly, work efficiently, and get your work done without interruption.


Putting Your Needs First


Our jobs might be more compartmentalized and specialized than ever before, but there is at least one constant across all workforces today: the need for user-friendly, intuitive, effective software. Getting the job done on time, or maybe even getting the job done at all, requires a suite of products that can meet your needs from start to finish.

With Fusion 360, you can experience true compatibility and collaboration with Autodesk’s suite of products, making your process effortless. Start your free trial today to experience the joys of a fully integrated workflow that puts your needs first.


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