Marking AU’s 13th year, the company chose the magical kingdom of Walt Disney World to gather 5,000 users, customers, partners and industry media for four days of intensive user training sessions, classes, business meetings, networking and special events.Bass gave only a glimpse of the future announcement during the conference’s general session. He did not disclose any specifics regarding timeline or impact of this move.
During a press conference, Robert Kross, vice-president of manufacturing solutions commented on the need for such an investment. “Multicore and 64-bit is important to us, we expect all our product lines to go there,” said Kross, adding he sees more opportunities for growth in multi core.
A repeated point made by several executives, including Autodesk president and CEO Carol Bartz, was that digital design is replacing paper and those users still committed to 2D quickly need to make the conversion to 3D in order to stay afloat in the marketplace. “If your organization isn’t joining the digital world and 3D, inevitably you will lose,” said Bartz. Adding that the transition from 2D to 3D can be unsettling, she assured customers that there is a path to help them through the change.
For Bass, converging disciplines is another key area that will inescapably shape how business is done. “Companies are going to drive to a connected process. We see a world in which all disciplines come together and interoperate,” he said.
Bass also noted that acquisitions, including Toronto-based Alias, would continue to be a vital part of Autodesk’s future. And although he didn’t reveal any details, Allan Steel, general manager of the Design Solutions Group (DSG) for Autodesk Canada, said it allows new opportunities to penetrate. “For the media and entertainment side which is a separate group, they’re very excited about this because there’s a great deal of synergy that fills the whole gamut from film to production to the gaming and animation side of the business,” said Steel.
Bill Griffin, senior director of North American channel sales, said it makes sense to bring both businesses together in the areas of design as well as media and entertainment. “They have a vibrant business and so do we. There’s going to be some overlap and rounding out solutions, but it’s not like we’re starting from zero,” said Griffin.
Another announcement, on the non-technical side, said Steel, came November 1 with the North American channel program. Autodesk is taking the best practices on both sides of the border and merging them into one consolidated partner program.
“For the first time we’re taking that alignment and developing a North American contract, so resellers in both Canada and the U.S. will get the same document,” said Griffin, “they’ll have some differences because of currency and market size valuation, but the principles and tenets of the agreement are very much the same.”
Unlike previous years, when there were three vertical authorizations, Griffin said at the start of fiscal year in February that number will rise to seven. “In the building side, we’re going to have BSD architecture, BSD engineering, BSD structural. In the infrastructure side we have ISD civil and geospatial and on the manufacturing side, we have data management and MSD authorization,” he said.
The channel in North America has changed significantly in the DSG side, said Steel, adding that Canada has been doing innovative things over the years, as has the U.S. “For Canadian resellers especially, it gives them economy of scale, instead of running two training organizations or two channel management, we’re able to combine them to give better synergy and share best practices,” he said.
From a geographical perspective it makes sense, said Griffin, and over time new opportunities that are created won’t have to be managed by national boundaries, it can be managed by what the customer wants.
Steel said that the goal is quality not quantity when it comes to the expanding the Canadian channel base.
“We’re looking for partners with a proven track record in areas like manufacturing, the geospatial sphere, civil engineering, service building,” said Steel.
“We’re also investing in existing resellers to expand themselves into these other areas.”
Next August Autodesk’s Leadership Summit is set to take place in Toronto. The event allows the company to work with partners in developing ownership skills, people management as well as sales and marketing management skills. The rewards event honouring top resellers will also be held in Canada next year.
“We look for best in class, proper coverage that allows resellers to be profitable and our customers to be well serviced. That’s the ultimate goal,” said Steel.