I’ve been following Autodesk development in PDM and PLM space for the last decade. You can check some of my articles about Autodesk PLM360 and Fusion Lifecycle – Autodesk Future PLM trajectories and How Autodesk plans to connect multiple generations of CAD, PDM, and PLM just a few months ago at Accelerate 2019. I’ve been digesting what I’ve learned at AU2019 and this long Thanksgiving weekend was a good time to write up what I think can be the next step related to Autodesk development in cloud PDM, PLM, and related disciplines.
If you missed my AU2019 Design and Manufacturing keynote blog, check it here. One of my conclusions from that keynote was an increased focus on cloud ability to connect information and connectivity between different tools including desktop and cloud tools.
The power of the Autodesk Forge platform combined with Fusion360 and other tools integrated together is a strong foundation for PLM-related development at Autodesk. Placing the data in the center can create a strong differentiation for future product data management development at Autodesk
I found a strong confirmation to the opportunity to build a stronger product data management services around cloud platform in the comment that was made by Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost (captured by Jim Brown of Tech-Clarity) during executive Q&A.
The integration between desktop and cloud products was presented at design and manufacturing keynote – the integration of Fusion Lifecycle and Autodesk Vault. It is an opportunity to integrate silos.
Another interesting data point was related to the demand for mobile access to Autodesk Vault. If you think about it, you can see it as a demand to get data available everywhere.
All together, it made me think about the next logical steps in Autodesk PLM strategy:
1- Retire PLM term? The use of the term “PLM” might have worn out its welcome. It was the message coming from CIMdata earlier this year. The development of Fusion 360 product and business provides a much better foundation for future product data management development allowing to focus on terminology, which is easier to brand and use rather then PLM, which brings complex association with legacy PLM systems and hosted cloud PLM products. So, a simpler terminology associated with design, manufacturing planning, product management, BOM management, configurations can be used.
2- Data services. Autodesk “data in the center” strategy can be used to build bottom-up data services and accelerate the development and integration of data and processes using multiple cloud services and applications (I can see some analogy in the work Autodesk did in building “construction cloud”).
3- Desktop-cloud integrations. The integration between desktop and cloud products can provide a better foundation to deliver cloud services for manufacturing and solve data management problems products such as Autodesk Vault might be experiencing today.
4- Fusion 360 Team is a platform for the next generation of cloud services for manufacturing connecting Fusion 360 products and expanding data management services in disciplines like the bill of materials, change management, manufacturing planning and configurations. As Stephen Hooper mentioned during AU 2019 keynote, the Fusion 360 team allows connecting people and processes globally going beyond a specific CAD, PLM or FEA tool.
What is my conclusion? Autodesk is advancing in the process of building a cloud foundation for advanced design and product data management. Autodesk Forge data service is a ground foundation that can be used for future integration of data platforms and delivery advanced and specialized cloud services to manage the design, engineering, and manufacturing data and processes and features. Fusion360 extensions can be a way to deliver a subscription model and specialized data services can integrate systems together. It is still very little information is available. Therefore, these are just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups, and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.