Your Guide to Buying SOLIDWORKS PDM

A comprehensive guide to some of the most common questions people have before buying SOLIDWORKS Product Data Management software.

How to Choose a Data Management Solution

Which Solution(s) is Right for You?

Choosing the right solution depends on your team’s size and what functionality you need to support your business processes. Luckily, GoEngineer offers a wide array of options that can be customized for any team and the expertise to guide you through your decision. Whether you are looking for simple revision control for your team, process automation, or robust project management functionality, we have a solution for you.

Here is an overview of the capabilities of each solution to help you choose the right package:

Perfect for small teams, SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard is included with every license of SOLIDWORKS Professional or Premium on subscription. This simple tool helps teams with data security, revision control, and reusing design data easily.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional is a highly customizable tool for managing your product data. A step up from PDM Standard, the Professional version of this add-in is intended for larger teams with large amounts of data. Advanced features include designing workflows, automation, remote access, and much more. 

Teams looking for robust project management features should look at adding SOLIDWORKS Manage to their PDM environment. This solution builds upon SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional functionality by adding a wide array of capabilities encompassing project management, process management, item management, user tasks, dashboards, and reports.

New SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD licenses always come with the "Cloud Services" suite -- a cloud-based alternative to SOLIDWORKS PDM that uses the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. For users who would prefer not to implement and maintain a PDM system themselves, it is a good alternative. These SOLIDWORKS-integrated tools can do anything from CAD sharing & markup, to CAD-aware cloud storage, to full change management.

Pros and Cons of Each Data Management Tool

As with everything, there are positives and negatives regarding each data management solution. Let's break it down.


+ Pros
  • Included with every seat of SOLIDWORKS Professional and Premium
  • Easy to learn because of Windows Explorer integration
  • Integration with SOLIDWORKS
  • Easy to upgrade to PDM Professional if you outgrow Standard
- Cons
  • Limited to a single workflow with 10 states
  • No replication for remote offices
  • No active directory login integration
  • No API, meaning no integration beyond SOLIDWORKS
  • Limited scalability due to reliance on SQL Server Express
  • Hosted on a physical server, whether on-premise or by a 3rd party provider


+ Pros
  • Integration with most major CAD programs
  • Unlimited workflows and customization
  • Documented API for integration into countless systems
  • Archive and database replication for remote offices
- Cons
  • Document-centric instead of data-centric
  • Requires a separately purchased license of Microsoft SQL Server Standard or greater
  • Hosted on a physical server, whether on-premise or through a 3rd party provider


+ Pros
  • Includes process and project management
  • Detailed reports for easy data retrieval
  • Custom dashboards
  • Supports multiple bill of material variations
  • Integration with PDM Professional, so it manages documents and data
- Cons
  • No API for external integration
  • Requires a separately purchased license of Microsoft SQL Server Standard or greater
  • Hosted on a physical server, whether on-premise or by a 3rd party provider
  • Can be a steeper learning curve than PDM Professional with additional options


+ Pros
  • Minimal setup required
  • Cloud-hosted
  • No client-side installation for data management
  • Integration with SOLIDWORKS and Microsoft Office
- Cons
  • No workflow customization
  • Reliant on internet connection
  • No integration to ERP systems
  • Limited configurability
  • Revisions only, no versions


Which License Type(s) Does Your Company Need?

Both SOLIDWORKS PDM and Manage have three levels of license types to accommodate users with different roles. An example would be people who need access to your data but should not have full permissions or capabilities. This ensures users who just need to view data are not unnecessarily occupying a license that your designers need, without racking up a bigger bill for licenses than you need.

PDM Viewer licenses are the most basic license type, allowing users access to read, view, and print files from the PDM vault.

The Contributor level of license adds on the ability to check files in and out, use the web client to search remotely and work with all file types.

PDM Editor licenses include all of the features of the Viewer and Contributor levels but also enable users to access PDM functionality from within SOLIDWORKS CAD.

SOLIDWORKS Manage Viewer
Similar to PDM Viewer licenses, these allow users to search, view, and print within the areas of Manage, including documents, data, dashboards, BOMs, and more.

SOLIDWORKS Manage Contributor
Contributor licenses build on the Manage Viewer license functionality to allow for the creation and management of processes, tasks, workflows, and non-CAD data.

The SOLIDWORKS Manage CAD Editor license grants full access to all areas of SOLIDWORKS Manage, including the creation and editing of CAD data.


Does Adding a Virtual or Cloud Solution Make Sense?

Do You Need Additional Collaboration Capabilities? Or Want to Limit On-premise IT Infrastructure?

If your entire team does not work together in a single location, collaboration, and management of data and projects can become a challenge with traditional solutions. In these cases, customers often find that adding a Cloud solution can improve efficiency.

Cloud services available to enhance your SOLIDWORKS data management tools include:


ENOVIA PLM Solutions on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

ENOVIA is a portfolio of integrated services that provide data management and PLM capabilities without the investment in hardware infrastructure. Built on the cloud-based 3D EXPERIENCE platform, this solution serves as the backbone for managing data and product lifecycles. You can easily share SOLIDWORKS designs, manage projects, and collaborate from any device.

How to Buy SOLIDWORKS Data Management Solutions

Contact Your SOLIDWORKS Reseller

In order to purchase and use a SOLIDWORKS PDM or Manage add-in package, you must first have a SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD license. Add-in licenses are purchased through your certified reseller.

How to Buy SOLIDWORKS Data Management Solutions

If you need to purchase a SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD license first, we recommend starting with our Guide to Buying SOLIDWORKS with answers to common questions like:

  • Where to buy SOLIDWORKS?
  • How to buy SOLIDWORKS?
  • Types of SOLIDWORKS licenses?
  • Benefits of SOLIDWORKS Subscription?
  • Options to rent vs. buy SOLIDWORKS


What is the Price of SOLIDWORKS PDM?

How Much Do SOLIDWORKS Data Management Solutions Cost?

 Costs of Data Management solutions vary greatly based on the type of license, the size of your team, as well as your company's needs. As a starting point, a SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional CAD Editor License starts at $2,742 with 2 years of annual subscriptions required at the outset. Annual subscription service on that license is $746 and covers technical support, upgrades, and much more. 





Recommended for 1-10 users 1-100+ users 1-100+ users
Hosting Options* On-premise/Hosted On-premise/Hosted On-premise/Hosted
Initial License Cost
(5 CAD Editors)
Free (included with SOLIDWORKS CAD Professional & Premium) $11,425 $21,240
Implementation Costs $5,000 $9,000 $40,000
Training Costs (User/Administrator) $2,000/$2,000 $2,000/$2,000 $2,000/$4,000
Average First-Year Cost $9,000 $24,425# $67,240#
Renewal software costs

Included with your

$6,210 $11,230
Expected ROI 6-8 Months 10-12 Months 10-12 Months

*Pricing in this table does not include the costs of hardware. GoEngineer offers cloud-hosting services for your PDM environment.

#Does not include pricing for the Microsoft SQL Server Standard or Enterprise license required by these solutions. Those licenses are purchased separately from SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or Manage. The licenses do not need to be dedicated SQL licenses. Learn more about the SQL Server Requirements here.

**All prices in this table are estimates based upon an "average" implementation. Note that your pricing may be different based on the needs uncovered during your discovery meetings with our team.

How Do I Install SOLIDWORKS PDM and Manage?

Implementing a data management solution is rarely as simple as flipping a switch. With any data management software, there are considerations related to implementation. When you are looking to implement SOLIDWORKS PDM, SOLIDWORKS Manage, or a 3D EXPERIENCE solution, GoEngineer is here to help.


GoEngineer has a team of experts to ensure your system is installed correctly. This includes working with your IT to open the proper ports and apply proper permissions. It also includes installing the prerequisites for the systems to work properly. In the case of SOLIDWORKS PDM, this means Microsoft SQL Server.


All of our SOLIDWORKS data management solutions offer some form of configurability. However, it's hard to know exactly what you're going to need in the future. That's why GoEngineer's team of experts will meet with you prior to implementation to discuss which features you need to be configured and which ones aren't mission-critical.

We use our own best practices as a guide, built on the experience of thousands of implementations. If you aren't sure of your exact needs, we're here to guide you to get you up fast.

Once the important steps are laid out, our team will configure your environment so that you can jump in and start using the tool in earnest on day 1.


The final step in the implementation process involves training for both users and administrators. Our training courses are offered online with a live instructor or in person. Some administrators will choose to take administrator training prior to the implementation. This allows them to speak the language of PDM during the implementation and to learn more about the system as it's being set up.

Regardless of the training package you choose, you can rest assured that you will have a knowledgeable administrator and confident users at the completion of your training.


Need to Dive Deeper Into PDM to Learn More?

Browse our recommended resources below to learn more about how adding a data management solution to your design process can increase your team’s productivity.


Utilize GoEngineer's expert SOLIDWORKS Data Management instructors to help you utilize PDM and Manage to its maximum potential. 


For the most current SOLIDWORKS PDM discounts and promotions available. 


Access all of our SOLIDWORKS Data Management resources in one place, including blog posts, videos, technical articles, and much more.


Compare all SOLIDWORKS Data Management packages side-by-side for a better understanding of what option is best for you. 



Still Have Questions About Buying Data Management Solutions?

Reach out to GoEngineer and a SOLIDWORKS data management expert will follow up with you.


Additional Resources

Take Advantage of GoEngineer’s Extensive Knowledge Base and Resources

GoEngineer Knowledge Base and website search

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