Autodesk, PLM 360, Marketing and Zero Click Solutions

by Oleg on March 28, 2012 · 1 comment

I’m attending Autodesk press and media summit yesterday and today in Autodesk San Francisco office. Autodesk invited about 100 journalists and bloggers to share information about the new Autodesk product release. This is also an opportunity to speak to Autodesk executives – Carl Bass, Buzz Kross and others. Autodesk puts a lot of energy and focus behind their newborn PLM baby and to me, it was a chance to have a talk to people responsible for PLM 360 product – Brian Roepke and others.

Autodesk and Cloud

Autodesk is deeply committed to the cloud. It is going much beyond PLM, but reflected in everything Autodesk is doing these days. It starts from giving 3GB-free cloud space for AutoCAD users and continue to all other products, including mobile applications and more. Carl Bass has a huge believe in the cloud. As you can see below, he is emotional and he is on twitter…

PLM 360 – Marketing View

Buzz Kross presented PLM 360 during the main briefing session. After early preview during AU 360, to me, it was a first opportunity to see PLM 360 marketing machine in action.

Below you can slides presented by Buzz Kross. Autodesk defines PLM 360 in three steps – 1/ bring ALL aspects of lifecycle together, 2/ support business models and processes, 3/ ease of adoption, implementation and support. As marketing messages they are not new in PLM world. The difference Autodesk brings to the table is how PLM 360 will be delivered via the cloud and this is what makes PLM 360 different.

You can see how Autodesk presents PLM 360 differentiations. The main characteristics – instant on, access, subscription based are clearly belonged to the cloud. Some of them like “insanely configurable” sounds as too much marketing to me and hardly can be quantified. I believe “Highly Current User Experience” is sort of typo. I have no idea about what is that.

Integration story. The ability to bring right data to PLM 360 is important. It means PLM 360 needs to find the way to access data coming from existing CAD files, PDM systems and other company data source. Buzz presented the following slide in that context. In my view, Autodesk understands the importance of data integration with PLM 360. So, I hope Autodesk will bring more clarity to this space soon.

Prices and cost of ownership. Buzz Kross presented the following cost  comparison based on calculation of a PLM deployment of 200 seats and five basic modules. It looks cheaper upfront. However, as I learned during my PLM innovation panel discussion last months, when it comes to pricing, devil is in details. Customers will drill down to functionality to understand if a comparison of PLM 360 to other PLM systems is valid and compares right features, functional and system capabilities.

Customer Workshop and Q&A

During afternoon workshops I have an opportunity to attend demonstrations made by PLM 360 “early adopters”. It was a place where marketing messages down to the reality. Three Autodesk customers presented what they did with PLM 360 so far. Few observations I’ve made – 1/ PLM 360 as a tool is simple to use; 2/ cloud helps to customers to start fast and removes all IT complexity; 3/ the discussion customers are having around PLM 360 is no different from the discussion you may have around Enovia, TeamCenter or Windchill. Below few pictures, so you can get a feeling of the conversation.

What is my conclusion? I learned new marketing buzz from Autodesk yesterday – ‘zero click solution’. It is a funny word. I’m not sure I want an application to make clicks and do something without my involvement. However, jokes aside, user experience is extremely important. From what I’ve seen in PLM 360 users – you can start easy and fast. The tool is user friendly. So, my conclusion -PLM 360 has a potential. There are many other issues related to PLM 360 that needs to be solved and require improvements. Here is my list of visible PLM 360 gaps today:  1/ integration with data in the company (files, PDM and other systems), 2/ dynamic workflows, 3/ usability of administration tools like workflow designer and data modeling. The next step will be to analyze gaps identified by customers during first experiments and deployment. I believe Autodesk has enough money and resource to solve these problems. Time will show. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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