Autodesk’s CEO, Carl Bass: We want to change the way people work – TV Report
Verdi Ogewell posted on December 12, 2013 |

As usual, Autodesk University in Las Vegas last week was packed to the last seat. The message to the almost 10,000 participants was also clear: Autodesk is making an all-in bet on the cloud. But it's not about the cloud for cloud's sake, it's about changing the way people work.

ENGINEERING.com's correspondent, Verdi Ogewell, got an exclusive interview with Autodesk's colorful chief executive, Carl Bass. “It's really about making people more productive”, he says, “and in that way we see two things that are great about the cloud. One is the infinitely scalable computing capabilities which always provides the right amount of processing power. And the second thing - it's a natural hub for collaboration”

 

 

Carl went on to add, “There's almost no project that doesn't involve multiple people or firms. What we deliver is the tools needed for coordination and collaboration.” He also pointed out that design teams now take product quality for granted. That frees them to focus on other issues, such as how to be more agile? How to get products to market faster and why aren't my products more compelling?

Agility and innovation is what manufacturing customers are putting a premium on, according to the Autodesk chief. But powerful tools (like Autodesk's cloud based PLM 360, Fusion 360 or BIM 360) isn't enough to compete successfully in today's tough commercial environments, says Autodesk's Senior VP/CTO, Jeff Kowalski, “We must change our mindsets and think ”outside”. Even thinking outside the box is passé...”

Carl also mentioned that Autodesk has "over 17,000 users of Fusion 360" and approximately 10,000 customers of PLM 360.
 
Besides the cloud, the real software star of the AU show was the new CAM 360 – a cloud based solution that in many ways fills a gap in the Autodesk portfolio.  “It's a revolution”, says Autodesk's VP of Strategy and Marketing, Brenda Discher. CAM in manufacturing is a very traditional process. Most CAM tools are expensive and have interfaces that are difficult to use. Discher says CAM 360 is the first CAM solution in the cloud, fully integrated with Autodesk's Fusion 360.
 
It all sounds great – but does it work? Can you deal with the entire lifecycle of a product in Autodesk's cloud? Are there no weak spots? To find out, Verdi interviewed ENGINEERING.com's Scott Wertel and analyst Marc Halpern of Gartner, along with customers like:

  • John Jacobs, CIO, JE Dunn Construction
  • Alex Paradiang,  GM Research Technical Services, Sunkist
  • Stephen Ambrose, President of Asius Technologies

Watch this TV report. It'll give you a new perspective on using the cloud for product development and on Autodesk's software development plans.

Currently the company has approximately 1.9 million commercial subscribers with maintenance contracts. Verdi reports that the majority of Autodesk's revenues comes from on-premise deployments, but he expects that this transition to the Cloud and subscription purchase model will gradually take over as the top revenue generator. By 2018, some analysts estimate that Autodesk will get 70% of their revenues from cloud-based services, rental services and maintenance (today the figure is 40 %).  

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