In the past when a new release of Archicad comes out I like to write a blog post on the new features that I know will provide a great benefit to my business and the overall Archicad user community. This year I honestly have to say that I have no excitement with this release and question whether I see any value whatsoever in moving from Archicad 25 to Archicad 26. There weren’t even enough features in this release to do the usual 1-hour new features segment as part of the launch event.
I hope that next year I will be able to write an article with a top 5 feature list like I used to write when there were enough features to choose from. It is a real disappointment for me that the focus of development on this release appears to be more focused on Graphisoft’s new target client, ‘Structural Engineers’ rather than their long-standing customer base, Architects.
What is sad, is that this year Graphisoft celebrate their 40th Birthday. For a software company, and the challenging start they had behind the iron curtain, this is a great achievement. How good would it have been if Archicad 26 was the best release ever, that could have been celebrated as much as this major milestone?
Is Graphisoft suffering from a mid-life crisis?
Maybe Archicad 26 is Graphisoft’s mid-life crisis? As a passionate user for over 22 years, I really hope that they can turn the corner and produce a great Archicad 27 in 2023. It's almost as if it is distracted from its core client base, chasing different clients rather than satisfying its current ones.
I also am concerned that as a software developer Graphisoft is becoming less and less transparent with its roadmap. Going back a decade, Graphisoft was very open in the direction they were going and the features that were planned for development, Over the last 5-6 years Graphisoft are not sharing as much with their community on the direction of the software as they used to be. It bucks the trend with newer software developers out there being very open with their development and seeking early commentary on functionality and need. As part of the launch event, it was good to see a high-level description of the roadmap from CEO Huw Roberts, but based on recent developments I find this roadmap highly optimistic and when it comes to turning it into real features and functionality we will see development pushed out years into the future. It would be great to see a focus on addressing client requests that have been sitting and waiting for up to a decade.
Graphisoft also needs to remember there are a lot of power users in the community that are willing to provide advice on the real issues they are facing daily within their practices. In a similar nature to the MacCleamy Curve getting broad user feedback before development has progressed will save Graphisoft from investing in development that doesn’t achieve the needs of their users.
What is concerning is the number of users I know that are not renewing their SSA because they have not seen the value in the direction of the software in the last couple of releases and the costs continue to rise. As an advocate for Archicad I have been suggesting against that for some time, but seeing the resulting Archicad 26 release tonight and the direction of Graphisoft being more focused on finding ways to make more money from their customers rather than creating a great software package I wonder if not renewing my SSA is also the right choice?
Sadly, Graphisoft doesn’t realize how disgruntled their overall user base is right now. They think they are not in the same position as Autodesk was when their customers authored that now famous open letter. Graphisoft needs to know that there are a lot of users out there that are talking about authoring an open letter in a similar vein to the one that was sent to Autodesk.
Overall, I hope that this period of time is a blip in time, and Graphisoft can bring the focus back to their long-standing customers and deliver on the functionality that power users have been asking for, for nearly a decade. Fingers crossed we see some forward progress in Archicad 27.
On Wednesday I had a good meeting with Graphisoft CEO Huw Roberts to discuss the issues raised in the article above. I will not go into the detail of what I was told, as a lot of the details discussed should not be released by me. Over the coming months, I am optimistic that several initiatives from GSHQ will be implemented to address concerns raised by myself and others recently. If Huw or the team from GSHQ reaches out to me with anything else to share I will let you know.