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Autodesk 2011 Product Perspective

Having been invited to the Autodesk launch event in San Francisco last week allowed me time to ponder what Autodesk is up to and where they are going.  Here are some reflections on the event and the state of Autodesk software development.

1.  Autodesk listens to its customers.  They pay close attention and they produce on the input they get. I know this because of the new features that they add to the software.  Every release has things that I never thought of. Things that collectively make the products more mature.  Some are obvious, but the ones that were added to the base platform, AutoCAD, are small refinements that enhance the product even when we all think it is mature.  Actually some of the enhancements to AutoCAD 2011 are huge – depending on your use of the tool.

You may disagree with me and think that the major changes that need to be made are missing.  You may think that the product has major holes that still remain unfilled.  But if you look at the general progress of the tools, there is much progress.  They may not have fixed the items you may be looking for, but there are some major upgrades and enhancements to just about every product.   Somewhere out there is a very happy user (probably many) that are very pleased with this upgrade.

2.  The software is not perfect and they know it.  I am not saying that they ship flawed software – far from it (see number 3).  What I mean is that they know they have to continue working on it and they are.  No product has been left to languish.  All of them have focused teams who look for improvements and deliver.

3.  They go to great lengths to ensure that the shipping products are stable.  I spent some time with the Q&A team for AutoCAD 2011. They are devoted to the product and have an extensive process of weeding out the issues that will impact end users.  Rigorous testing goes into the product.  Extensive testing and retesting.  All of this to help make the products stable.

4.  Autodesk is mixing and matching software.  They realize that you use several differing tools to get the job done.  They are moving to provide cross pollination from one product to another.  They have moved toward interoperability between products as an effort to assist end users. They have bundled products that users tend to use together.  They have bundle 2d with 3d packages as an incentive to move to 3d.  They now offer Suites of products under one collective product line, bundling AutoCAD to the vertical products like Revit and Inventor.  We should be looking for these encouragements to continue.

There may be more perspectives that  come up as I review more of my notes.  I will keep you posted.