How Autodesk plan to connect multiple generations of CAD, PDM, and PLM products together

How Autodesk plan to connect multiple generations of CAD, PDM, and PLM products together

I’m following Autodesk Accelerate 2019 event taking place in Grand Rapids, MI this week. You can check it via Twitter hashtag – #adskaccelerate. My attention was caught by the following slide – Autodesk will deliver on-demand data management with Fusion 360 Manage Extensions – presented by Stephen Hooper, VP and General Management of Autodesk Fusion 360.

The slide is an interesting combination of products and technologies – Autodesk Fusion360 core data management,  Autodesk Fusion360 Managed Extension. All in combination with Autodesk Vault. While not many details are available you can see that solution is a combination of multiple technologies developed by Autodesk – Forge data management, Autodesk Fusion360, Autodesk Vault and maybe something else.

The story reminded me the history of introducing Autodesk PLM360 (now – Fusion Lifecycle) back in 2012. When Autodesk introduced their first cloud PLM system – Autodesk PLM360, it was positioned as a complement to an existing Autodesk Vault PDM system. Check my blog from 2012 – My first take on Autodesk PLM360 and technology. It is interesting to get back to the story and see all elements of PLM360 (currently Fusion Lifecycle) – data architecture, tenant model, user experience and functions. In the same article, I presented a vision of Autodesk PLM to hybrid cloud PLM and on premise PDM – Autodesk Vault.

The key point made by Carl Bass during AU was – now we have the right technology to solve problems of manufacturers. The bold hint was that technologies and PLM products available from competitors cannot do so. Autodesk conceptual differentiation is the cloud. At the same time, Autodesk has its own PDM product – Autodesk Vault PDM. So, Autodesk is creating a strategy of how to use PDM on-premise and PLM in the cloud

Fast forward to 2014, Autodesk made an announcement about cloud PDM product to complement PLM360. Check my article from Accelerate 2014 – Autodesk PLM360 Early preview of cloud (PDM) data management. Check few slides from the presentation back to 2014.

Recently, my attention was caught by introducing of new Autodesk Fusion Lifecycle and Autodesk Vault integration. Check this link.

A core benefit of integrating Vault and Fusion Lifecycle is the bidirectional flow of data for new product introduction, bill of materials management, and change management for closed-loop traceability

A bit more about Vault to Fusion360 integration – a slide presented at Accelerate 2019 earlier today.

Special thanks jim_techclarity and Jamie Eckimier for tweets.

What is my conclusion? Autodesk seems to accelerate the integration of multiple products into the connected workflows. Fusion Lifecycle and Vault Integration most probably serve the needs of Autodesk Inventor and other desktop users but leaves Autodesk Fusion360 alone. How to connect all together? This is probably what Autodesk Fusion 360 Managed extensions is about. All three products are coming from different places and have different architectures – Vault (truEVault) from the 1990s, PLM360 (Datastay) – 2000s and Forge/Fusion360 from 2010s. Autodesk plans to pull all these technologies together into a single solution. Data management platform to use for such integration is the key problem to solve. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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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