Careers at Autodesk
Autodesk’s mission is to build software tools to enable people to experience their ideas before they are real.
Autodesk is a provider of design software and services. The company operates four reportable business segments:
- Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) – Includes products that improve the way building, construction, process plant, and civil infrastructure projects are designed, built, and used. It accounts for 38% of net revenues.
- Manufacturing (MFG) – Includes digital engineering solutions that bring together data from all phases of the product development and production life cycle, creating a single digital model based on Autodesk Inventor software. It accounts for 29% of net revenues.
- Platform Solutions and Emerging Business (PSEB) – Includes the design platform product AutoCAD, which underpins all of Autodesk’s offerings. It accounts for 27% of net revenues.
- Media and Entertainment (M&E) – Includes two product groups: Animation and Creative Finishing. Animation products are software tools for digital sculpting, modeling, animation, effects, rendering, and compositing for design visualization, visual effects, and games production. Creative Finishing products are software solutions for editing, finishing, and visual effects design and color grading. It accounts for 6% of net revenues.
In 1982, entrepreneur and computer programmer John Walker joined with 12 other programmers to launch Autodesk, a software firm. The group began developing various computer applications; the first one completed was InteractCAD, written by team member Michael Riddle. The application enabled computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting. Riddle and Walker rewrote it and created a profit-sharing agreement for any derivative product. Walker paid Riddle $10 million for all rights.
The next year, Autodesk changed the application’s name to AutoCAD and unveiled it to the public as its first product. Created to run on microcomputers, it enabled users to make detailed technical drawings, and was meant for use by design professionals such as engineers, architects, and structural designers. AutoCAD was a rapid success, owing largely to the growing market for personal computers and software. Autodesk stood out because its management team was composed of programmers.
In 1985 the company went public, and in 1986 Walker stepped down from the executive team to focus on programming. He produced a supplement for AutoCAD targeted at the construction industry – it allowed engineers to generate construction schedules and price quotes from information in their designs. 1986 saw the release of AutoCAD 2.1, with extended capabilities. By 1989, Autodesk had a 60% share of the CAD software market and $117 million in annual sales.
Benefits at Autodesk
Business model of Autodesk
Autodesk has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offerings at design professionals, primarily those in the architecture, engineering and construction; manufacturing; and digital media, consumer, and entertainment industries.
Autodesk offers four primary value propositions: accessibility, cost reduction, performance, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by offering a wide variety of options. It has acquired numerous firms, adding several new capabilities to its portfolio. These include the following:
- netfabb -- Added software solutions that increase efficiency and reduce production costs in additive manufacturing and 3D printing
- Shotgun Software – Added a cloud-based production management tool that allows digital studios to track, review, and collaborate on images and projects
- Within Technologies – Added technologies and tools for advanced manufacturing
- Delcam – Added a range of design, inspection, and manufacturing software that enables automated CADCAM solutions for various industries
- Graitec – Added BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology for structural fabrication and detailing
The company reduces costs by offering several types of free trials for potential customers. These include free suite trials, free CAD software trials, and free animation software trials.
The company has demonstrated strong performance, as evidenced through various customer testimonials. Design firm HPI Himmen used its solutions to build a comprehensive BIM-workflow. Engineering firm Melia Smith & Jones used its Sofistik product for effective 3D rebar modeling. ABT Netherlands used Sofistik to deliver an innovative BIM-based detailing and modeling solution.
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its success. It is the most broadly-used CAD solution for 2D non-specialized applications. It has been used for many prestigious projects, from Tesla electric cars to the New York Freedom Tower. Lastly, it was used to do work in the films of the last 21 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects.
Autodesk’s main channels are its website and its direct sales team. It also acquires customers through a network of approximately 2,000 distributors and resellers. The company promotes its offerings through its social media pages, webcasts, workshops, seminars, direct mailings, telemarketing, sponsorships, advertising in trade and business journals, and conferences.
Autodesk’s customer relationship is primarily of a personal assistance nature. The company assists customers in the following ways:
Support Services – The company offers three levels of support: Basic, Advanced, and Enterprise Priority Support. Service is provided through phone, e-mail, and social media.
Training Services – The company offers classes about its products through Authorized Training Centers (ATCs). Courses include sample exercises emphasizing real-world applications. It also maintains Authorized Academic Partners, a network of instructors that can provide onsite education.
Consulting Services – The company maintains a team or professionals that provide business consulting as well as solution implementation and custom development guidance for customers.
Despite this orientation, there is a self-service component. The company’s website features various self-help resources including online classes, articles, tutorials, and answers to frequently asked questions. There is also a community element in the form of forums where clients can interact.
Autodesk’s business model entails designing and developing its software solutions for customers. The company also utilizes independent contractors to conduct some product development activities.
Autodesk maintains the following partnership programs:
Consulting System Integrator Partners – Consulting firms that provide business process transformation and technology integration services to customers. Specific partners include Avineon, CCDI, ENGMEX, isBIM, Kalypso, PCO Innovation, Sonda, Spatial Business Systems, and TOSS.
Resellers – Companies that purchase and sell Autodesk products; they include the following:
- Autodesk Authorized Value Added Resellers – Offer general Autodesk product information, training, and support.
- Autodesk Authorized Off-Campus Resellers– Offer educational sales and marketing expertise to educational institutions and their students.
- Autodesk Authorized On-Campus Resellers– Offer Autodesk and Discreet software to students, faculty, and staff. They are located on academic institution campuses.
Autodesk Developer Network – Software developers that extend the company’s products and technologies to create enhanced software solutions. There are over 4,100 members worldwide.
Strategic Partners – Leading corporations that work with the company on development and optimization activities, go-to-market and sales engagements, co-marketing initiatives, and long-range, fundamental engineering projects. Specific partners include Advanced Micro Devices, Apple, Citrix, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Oracle, and Lenovo.
AEC Partners -- Architecture, Engineering and, Construction (AEC) firms that work with the company to provide complementary solutions to customers in specific industries; they include the following:
- Industry Partners – Work with the company to develop complementary software solutions, hardware products, and cloud offerings for industry-specific end-users. Specific partners include Eagle Point Software, FM Systems, IDAT, Keynetix, Leica Geosystems, and Pitney Bowes.
- Solution Associates – Integrate and make their hardware, software, or cloud-based offerings interoperable with the company’s specific industry solutions. Specific partners include aSa, CMiC, DAQRI, dRofus, FabSuite, FARO, iConstruct, IDEA StatiCa, Info Tech, and Izumi Systems.
Autodesk provides its partners with various forms of support, as well as access to the Partner Portal, which offers toolkits, product news, training resources, and customized price lists and promotions.
Autodesk’s main resources are its human resources. These include its staff of software developers and scientists engaged in research and development. It also depends on its training staff for instruction, consulting staff for advisory services, and customer service staff for support.
Autodesk has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through significant service and frequent product enhancements. Its biggest cost driver is sales/marketing, a fixed cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of research/development, a fixed cost, and cost of revenues, a variable expense.
Autodesk has two revenue streams:
License and Other – Includes the following:
- License – Revenue generated from the sale of term-based licenses, perpetual licenses, and Creative Finishing
- Other – Revenue generated from training, consulting, Autodesk Developers Network, and customer support for Creative Finishing
Subscription – Includes the following:
- Maintenance revenue from software products
- Maintenance revenue from term-based enterprise and desktop subscription offerings
- Revenue from cloud service offerings
info: Carl earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Cornell University. He previously held various executive roles at Autodesk, including Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operations Officer of Autodesk, and was the Co-Founder of Ithaca Software.
info: Jeff earned a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master's degree in Computer Science at Cornell University. He previously served as Senior Director of Autodesk's Subscription Programs and as President of Thermal Systems at ASML .
info: Scott earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University. He previously served as SVP of Finance at Citrix Systems and held various senior roles at IBM and FedEx.
info: Chris earned a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from Duke University. He previously served as Chief Marketing Officer of Autodesk.
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