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Friday, September 22, 2017

Autodesk's Cloud Strategy: An interview with Jared Sund

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CIMdata's Vice President of Research, Stan Przybylinski, recently sat down with Autodesk's Director for Fusion Lifecycle Product Management, Jared Sund, so that he could learn more about Autodesk's cloud strategy.

Let's find out!

How important are cloud-based solutions to the strategy of Autodesk?

Autodesk is committed to bringing cloud-based solutions to all of our vertical industries. You can already see this in our Fusion platform and our BIM solutions for the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) space. We continue to focus on bringing powerful solutions to our customers in these areas.

Can you describe the ecosystem of infrastructure, applications and other partners that are part of your offerings?

We have been working on our cloud offerings and infrastructure for the last several years. At the core is Forge and our Forge Fund ( announced at AU 2015. Autodesk created an innovative partnership program to help companies leverage Forge, the platform underlying Fusion Lifecycle and Fusion 360. We have made the underlying technology available to third parties to extend our applications or develop new ones. The program includes seed funding to form strategic partnerships with solution providers building on top of Forge. Autodesk is committed to helping to build these new applications and the ecosystems around them.

As for infrastructure, our offerings are delivered from either Autodesk-owned server farms or Amazon Web Services (AWS). For example, applications like rendering that have usage spikes are more economical to run on AWS since they have significantly more capacity.

How does your solution and its go-to-market address the issues raised by your customers and prospects?

From a go-to-market (GTM) perspective, Autodesk benefits from the abstraction of infrastructure that cloud provides. No large information technology (IT) services are needed for security, back-up, and other functions. For most companies, it is down to internal infrastructure around environmental control processes. Our approach delivers rapid time-to-value with easy to setup and use solutions deployed without the need to setup costly infrastructure. Customers are looking for solutions that can be quickly and affordably deployed to solve their specific business needs. Our solutions and cloud delivery model is built to address these specific customer needs.

As a browser-based application, there is no client side technology to run the application. Strategically, Autodesk looks at what infrastructure is needed to deliver a superior user experience. There are cases where providing a richer desktop experience requires a desktop install. For example, we offer Autodesk Drive for file management. We work to leverage the desktop for a rich user experience when necessary.

How are your offerings going to evolve in the short to medium term (1-3 years)?

Autodesk is continuing to work the Lifecycle Fusion roadmap we have discussed at the last three Autodesk Accelerate events (a session focused on Autodesk Fusion Lifecycle scheduled for September 21-22 in Boston this year). We are working to strengthen our core PLM offering around bill of material (BOM), change management, supplier collaboration and new product introduction (NPI). We are not veering off that course, and strengthening those areas will continue to provide customer value there.

We have also talked about product data management (PDM) capability in the Fusion stack. We moved Fusion 360 to production in 2015. We continue to see a strong pull in the cloud PLM space, and we are aggressively moving up in the PDM space, including CAD data management, document management, and engineering BOM management. We are working to implement our holistic Fusion vision and things are coming together. We’ll start to see this come together to a more unified brand.

At the same time, there is still a strong demand for Vault and our on-premise solution. We have 20 years into the Vault product and it has a role to play. One question is if the next generation of designers is going to want that level of control.

As many have noted, the world has gone from a centralized computing resource in the mainframe era, to a distributed centralized compute model with PCs, and now back to centralized with the cloud. The computing world has gone round-robin. But getting to full cloud in some applications is difficult. For example, we will have to learn how to deal with sensitive data and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) regulations to get everything in the cloud. It is not impossible to consider a cloud solution in next 5-10 years. Compute and storage do not have to sit in one server. The data can be distributed and then connected.

We look forward to hearing your comments.



Stan Przybylinski

For more information on Stan visit.

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