Bild vs SolidWorks PDM Overview: Part 1

April 12, 2023

If you are a SolidWorks user, you have likely explored a variety of products from Dassault Systems, including SolidWorks PDM. SolidWorks PDM is a great way to manage design data across multiple collaborators. It ensures that designs in progress do not get overridden, introduces version control, and manages high level design states. But most teams delay getting SolidWorks PDM for a few years until they are more confident about internal processes, can afford a PDM system, and have the time to invest in tools. The cost of inaction, however, is quite large and most teams will revisit their toolstack only after a costly mistake or an expensive delay. While SolidWorks PDM is a decent PDM, it may not be the right PDM for your team if your goal is to get up and running quickly and have a system that integrates into your current workflows. 

In this series of posts, we will take a look at a side-by-side comparison of SolidWorks PDM and Bild’s cloud PDM to help teams understand which PDM is the right fit. In this post, we will cover speed of implementation, total cost of implementation (TCO), and ease of use.

1. Speed of Implementation

SolidWorks PDM: 

With SolidWorks PDM, the first step is to chat with a value add reseller (VAR) to get a sales pitch, quote, and timeline. You’ll then need an internal expert or work with an expert to understand how SolidWorks PDM integrates and connects with your current data storage. Companies often face some sort of data migration, which can take weeks. This is because data needs to be restructured and categorized, so SolidWorks PDM can understand design dependencies. 

Once you have figured out how SolidWorks PDM fits into your existing data systems, you will need to sit down with a configuration manager to set workflows, permissions, etc. Onboarding and training sessions come soon after. From beginning to end, expect the process to take anywhere from one to three months.


With Bild, the first step is to chat with our specialist to walk through a demo and learn if Bild is the right fit for your team. Once you are ready to take the next step, accounts can be created immediately and you can log into the platform the same day. 

Depending on your current data systems and amount of currently managed data, migration takes anywhere from a self-serve upload process (same day) to white glove services where the Bild team migrates your data for you (2 days to a week). Within the platform, it takes less than 15 minutes to set up custom workflows, add users, set permissions, and start collaborating. Bild’s desktop application takes 3 minutes to set up and teams can get up and running the same day. From beginning to end, expect the process to take anywhere from one day to a week.

2. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

SolidWorks PDM: 

Since SolidWorks PDM is primarily sold through VARs, the exact price of a license can vary. The official pricelist states that SolidWorks PDM Professional Editor Licenses cost $2,285/each and $621/year for support. There may also be many “sales” throughout the year, so be on the lookout for that. Beyond just the cost of a license to SolidWorks PDM, there are annual maintenance costs associated with each license. For the first year, there are also training and implementation costs, but users can expect these costs to vary depending on complexity of existing solutions. The first year cost of PDM for a team that has 10 designers generally range in the $25,000 - $40,000 range, not including hardware costs, such as servers.


With a Bild license, teams get access to cloud storage, project management, and PDM all in one. Implementation costs for most teams are $0 and there are no maintenance/upgrade costs. The average yearly cost of Bild’s Cloud PDM for a team that has 10 designers is $12,000.

The SolidWorks PDM interface

Bild's Cloud PDM interface

3. Ease of Use

SolidWorks PDM: 

If you are used to Windows applications and the classic 90s user interface, SolidWorks PDM is for you. Features are nested deep in the application, navigating from one file to another is cumbersome, and finding necessary information becomes difficult. SolidWorks PDM is purpose built for one exact workflow: checking in and checking out CAD files to the PDM from SolidWorks. 

If you want to do anything more than that, the user experience significantly deteriorates and you will likely need to dive into the learning center to educate yourself on the other features. SolidWorks PDM is endlessly configurable, which in some cases is great, but in most cases means an over-complicated system. Training sessions are hours spread across multiple days. Teams generally spend anywhere from one month to over a quarter getting up to speed with the complexities of SolidWorks PDM.


Accessible on any web browser, Bild’s cloud PDM takes modern software experiences and integrates it with the workflows of traditional PDM systems. Navigating from one file to another is intuitive, managing project data is simple, and retrieving information is fast. Bild’s cloud PDM is so intuitive that non-technical teams leverage it to review designs without ever going through an onboarding session. 

For teams that want to go through an onboarding session, in less than and hour, they can go from creating accounts, to a full product walkthrough, to setting up their projects, to start collaborating. The easy product navigation allows users to explore deeper product features that enriches their workflows even more.

There are many differences between traditional PDM systems and Bild’s cloud PDM. To read the second part of this post, click here. Otherwise, if you’d like to see the full Bild platform and experience the change, reach out at