Autodesk to Enter the Enterprise PLM Arena

posted on 11/30/2011 3:34:57 PM

A new hybrid approach keeps data management processes on-premises, while allowing partner collaboration to take place in the cloud.

In an attempt to relieve the frustration often associated with complicated product lifecycle management products, Autodesk, a provider of product data management technology, is preparing to unveil its first PLM system designed for small and large companies alike.

Announced this week, Autodesk 360 for PLM is a hybrid approach that pairs a software-as-a-service business process application with its on-premises product data management (PDM) software. The two main products, which can work independently of one another, include Autodesk Vault, the company’s existing on-premises PDM product, and the soon-to-be-released Autodesk 360 Nexus.

Autodesk Vault enables engineering workgroups to organize, manage, and track their entire designs, engineering bills-of-materials, and change processes closest to the source. Autodesk 360 Nexus, which will be released in the first quarter of 2012, is a SaaS application that covers all of the PLM business processes, such as supplier management, industry compliance, and maintenance. A third existing Autodesk product that can be added to the mix is Buzzsaw, a cloud-based collaboration application that provides a way to share design files, the company said.

Autodesk 360 for PLM is meant for companies of all sizes, from small firms eager to deploy PLM for the first time to large enterprises that have become disenchanted by the low ROI, high complexity, and brittleness associated with traditional PLM implementations.

“Our approach to PLM is a sharp contrast to the decades-old legacy technology in the market today,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president of Autodesk’s Manufacturing Industry Group, in a statement. “Autodesk 360 will enable customers of all sizes to achieve the full promise of PLM for the first time with a scalable, configurable, and intuitive solution. We believe it will help our customers achieve a measurable competitive advantage through better, more accessible collaboration and information management.”

According to the company, Nexus will open up PLM to a broader set of users outside of engineering, including people in procurement, quality, and maintenance departments.

The 360 for PLM announcement also marks a milestone for Autodesk, which has built its business around CAD and PDM.

“It means we are now in the PLM game,” Steve Bodnar, Autodesk vice president of data management, told Managing Automation. “When others talk about Autodesk having attempted PLM before, they are referring to PDM. To us, PLM is addressing the entire product lifecycle, and there are many applications included in that. [Now] we are addressing the rest of PLM.”

[To get a glimpse of the PLM landscape, access TechMATCH Pro’s PLM Buyer’s Guide.]