Autodesk Forge, Cloud Information Models, and Digital Thread

Autodesk Forge, Cloud Information Models, and Digital Thread

Earlier this week, I attended Autodesk Forge Data Day in Boston. I could not miss the event with such a fascinating name “data” inside as well as to have an opportunity to meet with the Autodesk development partnership team led by Jim Quanci.

Autodesk Forge Platform

I’ve been following Forge development for a long time. Autodesk Forge. Here are some links. Autodesk Forge Data Platform and where Autodesk PLM goes, Autodesk Forge – Distributed Design Data Platform.

Autodesk Forge Data Day is a special event that was created by Autodesk to learn how to fully unlock the value of your data with Forge, which will power your move from individuals and teams with tools to enterprise digital transformation.

It was great to meet people I had the privilege to work with at Autodesk as well as to connect with the team and people we work with at OpenBOM to develop our Autodesk integrated solutions.

Forge is an interesting platform, which was matured over the last decade. Here is the one important thing that I want you to capture from the updates provided by the Forge team – cloud information models. Check this slide below.

Autodesk is building a platform for data that can be captured from multiple data sources and later used to build applications. While applications can be different, what I found very interesting is how Forge is focusing on information workflows. Here is the spectrum of the applications provided.

Autodesk Fusion 360 is the foundation of Autodesk’s manufacturing strategy on top of Autodesk Forge. It includes a suite of powerful applications and it is disruptive in the market where Fusion 360 is offered for a very competitive price. Fusion 360 is growing and here is an interesting data point about Fusion 360 on Forge.

How Does Autodesk Forge Fit Digital Thread?

Autodesk presentation made me think about multiple applications of Forge as well as about potential challenges. What seems to be obvious is that Autodesk is using Forge to pull all information and combine it together using a single platform. This is no question is a good approach. At the same time, I didn’t find special tools to support data normalization, which can potentially take Forge to a different level as an integration platform. While I can extract the data from multiple systems, I didn’t find specific tools capable to bring or visualize this data together. Maybe I’m missing something?

What would be really interesting is to see how Forge and its data API can become a source of multiple computing and data resources helping manufacturing and construction companies.

The digital thread is a modern approach in data modeling, which allows to link the information from multiple silos and keep it together in a meaningful way to support traceability and analytics.

What is my conclusion?

Autodesk Forge is growing and maturing to become a powerful data problem. Autodesk has big plans for Forge. One of my biggest questions to Autodesk is about openness and interoperability in Forge. A single platform for everything can be a good idea, but customers are using multiple applications and multiple data sources looking for how to connect pieces of information together in a meaningful way rather than close it up and hold it inside the platform. Let me know what is your opinion about Autodesk Forge? What is your experience and feedback on the presentations and ideas? The extensibility of the Forge Platform is significant as well as the capability to become a big information network used by multiple companies. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital cloud-native PDM & PLM platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers, construction companies, and their supply chain networksMy opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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