Autodesk Subs get real

Published 24 July 2008

Posted by Martyn Day

Article tagged with: dell, workstations

Autodesk’s Subscription to date, has been little more than paying for the next release, which has settled into a yearly cycle around the March time-frame. One would hope that in the concept of a yearly subscription you would get more than one update. Looking at Bentley’s SELECT subscription it’s hard to tell what the feature set of MicroStation is, as it changes every month and quarter. Autodesk started out by streaming features and updates randomly through the year but this didn’t work and so fell back on paying for the next release. The company also monkied with the upgrade fees making Autodesk Subscription the most cost effective way of owning any Autodesk product.

It’s hard to generate good customer spirit if updates are sold on cost of ownership and you are literally paying for the next release - which they may or may not even use. While Autodesk has benefitted greatly from the increase in regular revenue, Autodesk Subscription has been suffering from a little complacency.

The good news is that Autodesk’s AutoCAD product team has launched ‘Flexible Software Delivery’, which harks back to a more traditional concept, where updates and new features are added when they are ready, as opposed to when the next major release comes around. this means the software is delivered on demand. No more boxes hanging around and you can select what features you want.

So in addition to the yearly update, there will be Subscription Bonus packs which will include early releases of upcoming features. the first one is scheduled for July 24th and will include several AUGi wish-list items. These will only be available to subscribers. Also Product updates, for all customers, will replace service packs, to fix bugs and drivers.

One wonders if this will be copied across Autodesk’s many Divisions? The complexity of non-synchronized change across Autodesk’s products was the downfall at the first attempt, we will have to wait to see as to how this invigoration of Subscription works out.

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