Autodesk Accelerate 2017 notes: Customers, IoT and Cloud Strategy

Autodesk Accelerate 2017 notes: Customers, IoT and Cloud Strategy

I spent last 2 days attending Autodesk Accelerate 2017 event. More info is here. The event became almost tradition for me based on my continues interest in PLM, cloud and its location in Boston. The event is evolving to become more focused on Autodesk customers-  great opportunity to meet and talk to industrial companies sharing their experience.

Customer Panel – focus on PLM implementation lifecycle

Customer panel moderated by Autodesk Stephen Hooper, Autodesk Sr. Director of Manufacturing and Business Strategy included people from Coca-Cola, Synaptive Medical, AmSafe and Fujikura. My favorite question on the panel came from my colleague fellow industry analyst Allan Behrens – single improvement in Fusion Lifecycle product. The fascinating answer provided by Jennifer Walker of Amsafe was about simplicity of changes and administration of Fusion Lifecycle. It made me think about how companies are adopting PLM solutions. For most of them, it is not one step implementation, but a series of implementations, improvements and adjustments. Simplicity is an ultimate sophistication, therefore thinking how to make things simpler should be a priority for PLM vendors.

Autodesk IoT evolution and learning

I sat down with Hugo Fiennes, co-founder and CEO of Electric Imp. Electric Imp is developing IoT platform connecting devices and computing resources. At Accelerate 2017 and Electric Imp introduced IoT discovery toolkit.

Using the IoT Discovery Toolkit, industrial manufacturing OEMs can connect their devices and visualize IoT data in minutes, not hours or days. The Electric Imp IoT Platform provides firmware development, connectivity, scalability and security, while Autodesk Fusion Connect offers proven “no-coding” solutions for data management, analytics and business applications that remove the need for programmers or data scientists.

Here is a picture of the device.

What struck me the most in the conversation is the notion of discovery. There are lot of hype and noise around IoT technologies and potential. However, only knowledge of your products, design, bill of materials and operation conditions can help you to find a need and benefits for IoT.

Autodesk Cloud Strategy

Autodesk was one of the first CAD vendors moved to cloud technologies back in 2011. Since then some product have evolved and some others died. Accelerate 2017 wasn’t much about product strategy and development. My hunch, Autodesk team is learning from customers and planning for new steps.

Co-incidentally, CIMdata published Stan Przybylinski cloud strategy interview with Autodesk’s  Jared Sund. Navigate to the article here. You can learn what Autodesk’s thoughts and plans in Fusion cloud development. And I had a chance to talk to Jared Sund during the event.

Autodesk is providing their cloud solutions from either their own server farms or from AWS infrastructure.

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.

My hunch some changes are ahead.  Autodesk cloud offering is combined from multiple product stacks. I can see some hints on convergence of stacks while focusing of disciplines such as CAD data management and bill of material management – a foundation of product lifecycle management for every organization.  There is an interesting passage I capture from CIMdata article:

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.

What is my conclusion? Autodesk is learning from customers and discovering the future. My favorite part of the event was about customers and connections. Autodesk gathered great people under the same roof of Boston World Trade Center, which turned into a great traditional. I look forward to AU2017 just in few months in Las Vegas where I expect to learn more about Autodesk strategy and new development. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

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.


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