Guest Post (Ed Martin) – The Times They Are a-Changin’

I’d like to thank Steve for the opportunity to write this guest post. My post doesn’t necessarily represent Steve, nor does it represent any company. It’s strictly a personal point of view. The purpose of this post is to prompt discussion and debate, and get your opinion.

Recent discussion on this blog has focused on Autodesk and its many changes over the past few years (upgrade pricing, policy changes, term-only aka rental licenses, move to the cloud, etc.), and there’s been a lot of skepticism. If we stand back and look at the landscape, though, Autodesk is not alone. True, they’re moving faster and more aggressively than their competitors, but many software companies are making similar changes.

Change can be disruptive, it can have positive and negative impact, and there can be winners and losers. But … it’s inevitable, and it’s better to understand change than to fight it. To stick with the “time” theme from the title, let’s take a ride in a time machine to the year 2020 and see what all of these changes will lead to.

Thinking ahead to 2020, it’s very likely that major CAx / PLM vendors will be actively promoting cloud services and term-based access or licenses. Some of them may have eliminated perpetual licenses entirely, and some may even be “pure SaaS” companies that don’t offer traditional desktop or server installed software any longer. We may see some consolidation in the industry through mergers and acquisitions. It’s entirely possible that a company that was small in 2016 will be a significant market player in 2020. Open source solutions may gain a greater foothold in the market.

By 2020, there will be some events that impact the market more broadly. There’s a good chance that at least one or two major economies will see another business recession. On the security side, the white hat vs black hat battles will continue, and it’s very possible that we’ll see a security breach that impacts someone in the CAx / PLM world.

I want to start a debate about what 2020 will look like. I’ve provided some starter questions below to prompt the debate. Pick one or two that resonate for you and share your thoughts …

1. How will your company react to the switch to term-based licenses? Why?
2. Which industry players will win and lose? Do you see anyone being absorbed into another company? What will trigger this?
3. If there is a major recession, what will you do with your perpetual licenses, maintenance contracts, and term licenses? Which will you keep, and which if any will you cut?
4. When (if ever) will SaaS / cloud services hit the “tipping point” in your industry? What will be the catalyst that leads to this?
5. What pros and cons do you expect with wider cloud adoption? What must a company do to make the cloud work for you?
6. Do you think that one or more small players (or open source movements) will grow to become a significant force in the market? Where will they win and what will make them successful?
7. If there is a major security breach, what impact if any would it have on the market?

What do YOU think?

Ed Martin

One Comment

  1. Ed, I don’t really care if we rent or buy software, I just want the cost to be “reasonable” – whatever that is. Reality is some companies do not have the ability to implement things like Bricscad so they may be stuck to paying whatever adesk charges for acad/verticals. So reasonable my be what is reasonable for Autodesk in many cases. Heck, acad is too cheap IMO, adesk could raise prices more.
    As for cloud, I don’t care where a system is based, but it better be as fast as progs that run from local machine, and pull files from a local server. I have yet to see that matched in any way that is worth the cost. You give a user a laggy system and you just wasted any savings from centralizing software on a virtual or cloud system.
    Not only that, users will hate the laggy system and leave the company.
    The fact is time is super expensive to waste – $125/hr for most civil firms I know.
    The bigger issue is how hard it is to manage licenses, and that is why I don’t look forward to autodesk’s internet based licensing for network type seats (pool of users). The local flexlm setup is reliable and works, and autodesk makes life miserable on those that rely on its account page so that heavily pushes me to maximize replacing acad with Bricscad.

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