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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Autodesk Desktop Subscription Program announced

February 10th, 2015 by Susan Smith

Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk senior vice president of Industry Strategy & Marketing, spoke recently about the new initiative from Autodesk in which new commercial seats of most standalone desktop software products will be available only by Desktop Subscription beginning February 1, 2016.

Autodesk Desktop Subscription Model

Autodesk Desktop Subscription and Cloud Service Subscription Model

While this may come as a surprise to some long-time Autodesk users and customers, Autodesk has very real reasons for pursuing this program.

“Our customer environment is changing and moving forward,” explained Anagnost. “Customers are finding greater disruption in the environment they work in, incredibly true in manufacturing and building. They encounter new types of competitors, quicker ways to build things, printing, distributed manufacturing, products and buildings. Customers have changing demands, end products are more complex, buildings are much complex and filled with sensors. There is huge change in building and business environments. We’re building a lot of applications to respond to that.”

Meanwhile the software industry is being flipped upside down by the cloud, mobile and social. “We’re seeing that as the biggest disruption to software since the mainframe to PC,” said Anagnost. “The software environment is getting disrupted –we see cloud – mobile- social as a way to solve some of the problems our customers are having, with a whole new set of tools and at the same time able to deliver a better experience. So if we’re going to be around to help them meet the big challenges, every software company in five years is going to be a cloud software company. We have to move our business from our software being delivered on PCs to a pure subscription model over time.”

Anagnost is confident that Autodesk will be delivering a much better experience for customers in terms of a better way to manage software, a better way to deploy and use software.

What’s in this for customers? With cloud based products, the desktop can be delivered as part of the subscription, at a lower cost. “When you can pay up front at a lower price, you have a lot more flexibility to get the software you need, plus try other apps for a month or two for a particular project. You have more flexibility to use the tools at Autodesk. And you’ve also got significantly better license and deployment that we’re going to make better over time. We’ll invest in how to integrate desktop products more effectively using the cloud, deployment and installation tools. And we’ll invest a lot in integrating these products with other cloud apps.”

Points of interest:

– Making sure the transition is as painless as possible and make sure they have a better relationship with Autodesk.

– Customers will have a year’s notice for Stage 1 of the change. Over a two year period Autodesk will move to a totally subscrioption model.

– Introduction of a multi-year desktop subscription so customers can buy a 3-year subscription to AutoCAD right up front.

“Right now AutoCAD costs roughly $4K,” said Anagnost. “If you pay for it as a subscription model over three years, it costs a little less than $4K. If you bought the license and went on maintenance you’d pay a lot more, and if you bought a new licence every three years you’d pay almost double that. But if you buy a three-year subscription, you not only get a better economic deal you get all the benefits of being on maintenance. So a customer who has been buying software every three to four years has a much better engagement path with Autodesk getting current with the software and having a different relatoinship.”

According to company materials, Autodesk Desktop Subscription offers a simplified installation, management and upgrade experience, flexible payment terms, and broader access rights across multiple devices. Autodesk plans to continually innovate and improve Desktop Subscription products to more tightly integrate them with Autodesk cloud services and reduce file compatibility issues.

Autodesk customers who have purchased perpetual licenses prior to February 1, 2016 will be able to continue to use those licenses, and customers on Maintenance Subscription will continue to receive corresponding benefits for as long as their subscription remains active. Autodesk will also continue to offer Cloud Services Subscriptions.

These long term relationships will be a great way for customers with older versions of AutoCAD to get back into their relationship with Autodesk. They will pay a lot less up front and remain current on their upgrades.

“One of the challenges of users who are really far back on releases is they cause friction for the users who are current on the software,” said Anagnost. “It’s better for the whole ecosystem that customers get current and stay current. If we can provide a viable way for them to buy software on the subscription model, it’s better for the ecosystem long term. They’re all sharing files, functionality and capability. It removes friction from design collaboration and data.”

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, architecture, AutoCAD, Autodesk, BIM, building information modeling, buildingSMART, Cloud, collaboration, field, field solutions, file sharing, infrastructure, integrated project delivery, project management, reality capture

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