I've never seen anything like it. Yes, the technology is hot but what I'm talking about is the reactions we are getting from customers to the much ballyhooed PLM solution, Autodesk 360 Nexus. The speculation around what we were going to do was kind of fun to watch in I think most people that were talking about what we had up our sleeve just figured that we would put Autodesk Vault in the cloud and have it do a few more things than it does today.
Why? It's what we've come to expect from software solutions aimed at Product Lifecycle Management. Take a PDM tool and make it do more than just manage CAD files. Same interface, same client setup, same annual release, same this, same that, except it would be in the cloud. N.O.P.E. Not at all what we did and the result was like I was saying before, the customer reaction is unlike anything I have ever seen.
Let's be honest here, I've been peddling Inventor now for 12 years and we've had an uphill climb, and to the competitors credit they have done a decent job trying the play the "we've been around longer than they have" card, therefore ours must be better. But let me ask you a straight up question - is there anyone in this space that has been more innovative with new technology than Autodesk lately? Think about it for a minute.
Inventor Fusion brings direct manipulation capabilities for unrivaled ease of use, provides direct modeling for rapid design changes without limitations, and unites direct and parametric workflows within a single digital model created in Autodesk Inventor.
How about Project Falcon a wind tunnel simulation software designed to be used early in the conceptual design phase? It has seamless integration with Autodesk Alias software. It allows for interactive investigation of the aerodynamic performance of designs at any stage.
Or Project Scout a cloud based Autodesk Simulation Mechanical/Multiphysics. It's compatible with Autodesk Simulation Multiphysics 2012 and Autodesk Simulation Mechanical 2012 software enabling you to get you simulation results faster via the power of the cloud, man!
Then there is AutoCAD WS, Inventor Publisher, Factory Design Suite, CFD, Form Editor, and more but hopefully by now you get my point. Autodesk is doing what it does best make great technology, make it affordable, and make it easy to use. That's exactly what we are doing with PLM.
During his announcement at Autodesk University Autodesk CEO Carl Bass said that while his now infamous Anti-PLM rap got a lot of attention, he still stands by what he said and that we (Autodesk) were not going to do PLM until we could do it right. But what is "right"? Allow me to detail... First and foremost I want to re-emphasise that it was never the idea of PLM that we felt was off, it was the way in which software solutions aimed at achieving the benefits of PLM were deployed, implemented, and configured to match the customers requirements.
During our research we heard over and over again common "non-starters" if you will for adoption of PLM tools. In no particular order they were:
- Non-Software Costs - the infastructure to support an enterprise rollout of PLM. Servers, storage, backups, updates, patches, deployments of all the above.
- Software Costs & Maintenance - no additional color required here...
- Time to ROI - 3-6 months of server, client, configuration, installation and deployments before most processes are up and running
- Process Change - this one is a HUGE issue with most companies and it has little to do with the technology, and more to do with personell. You've heard me rant about this in the past with my People, Process, Technology post.
- Systems Integration - when you have custom code connecting with custom code you need a custom solution to tie the two together, no? That's C3 or $3... However you want to look at it.
So, interesting stuff... Not nearly as interesting as the next tid-bit. Of those that we questioned that "had" PLM here's what they were doing with it:
- CAD Management
- Change Management
- Engineering BOM
Since this is my blog... ehem, ehem. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! You spent how much on "PLM" to do what we can do with Autodsk Vault!!? "Well, Rob we spent hundreds of thousands (code: millions...) of dollars on our PLM implementation, and yes right now we are only checking in and out files at this point, some day we will implement the rest of it - it just takes a long time and even more money and yes, we could do what we are doing today with Vault but we would have had to spend a lot less money to do so therefore it couldn't be as good...." OMG my head is bleeding!
I don't understand it. Because we don't charge as much for our solutions they must not be as good...? Have you ever seen Vegas Vacation? Remember when the dealer, rather than spending all that time to take Clark's money at the blackjack table, offered to take Clark out back to... we'll just say beat him up - then take his money all the same? If you've seen that movie you are laughing, if not yes I'm as nuts as you are thinking right now.
So, back to the topic at hand - Autodesk 360 Nexus. Between Carl's anti-PLM rap, customer feedback, a load of research and development, and a broader adoption to the cloud we had plenty of motivation to "do it right." Here's what's going to happen next, I play a video because that's what I do. Then throughout the next couple of months you are going to hear from myself as well as my team on what we doing with our early adopters of Autodesk 360 Nexus.
A team you say....? Yep. Believe it or not, Autodesk management thought it was a good idea to let me build a global team of PLM experts that will be responsible for requirements gathering, compliance alignment, awareness, and overall kick assedness in the countries / regions in which they will reside. Look PLM is a big ol bear to get your hands around and how am I going to know what compliance requirements differ between the US and Germany without somebody on the ground workign those requirements into the product, right?
So, like I said you'll be hearing from those guys in the upcoming months. I've got two guys in the US, one in the UK, and one in Germany. I'm going to be growing the team in the future so if you know of anyone... [grin] Ok, roll film!
Want to be part of our early adopter program? Email me and the team at email@example.com. Let us know what type of processes you might be looking to manage with Nexus and what technologies you are using today to manage them and we would be glad to plug you into the program. The sooner the better though, the list is getting long...