This is one of a series of posts covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. In this post, the dynamic duo explain the mystery of how Bricsys can sell smaller numbers of a more capable product than AutoCAD for a fraction of the cost – and still make money.
Steve: It’s kind of interesting that your product is so much cheaper than AutoCAD, and more capable. They’re making a loss and you’re making increasing profits. How does that work?
Erik: I think it has to do with being lean and being focused. I mean, we’re talking about Autodesk, and we’re talking about AutoCAD and Revit and Inventor, but did you have a look at all the products they have? The managers that have to work on those products… I don’t study the detail of their annual figures, but I think it’s obvious that if you have that ton of products, not all of those products are profitable. Of course, not all of them are losing money, but you can’t call it lean.
What we are doing is… we are forced to be profitable. We force ourselves to be profitable. And then we have to be lean. We have four developers that constantly automate our systems, and that four will be extended again. That pays off big-time. It’s an investment; continuous, continuous, continuous. To invent new things where we can improve to be lean as well.
Mark: Stressing again that Autodesk has one hundred products, we basically have one product. We can see for mechanical, we can see for BIM, basically it’s one product.
Steve: It’s the same core.
Mark: It’s the same core, absolutely. So when we started to develop BIM, we used the same toolset as we used for sheet metal; exactly the same. Of course it’s tweaked to be used in BIM or sheet metal, but in the ground it’s the same.
This is the complete set of links to this interview series:
- The big Bricsys interview 1 – why invite the press?
- The big Bricsys interview 2 – making money
- The big Bricsys interview 3 – looking after people
- The big Bricsys interview 4 – thank you, Autodesk
- The big Bricsys interview 5 – perpetual licensing and choice
- The big Bricsys interview 6 – lean and focused
- The big Bricsys interview 7 – the applications ecosystem
- The big Bricsys interview 8 – boundaries and BIM
- The big Bricsys interview 9 – treading on developers
- The big Bricsys interview 10 – platforms
- The big Bricsys interview 11 – free viewer?
Did you ask if authoring of dynamic blocks is in the pipeline?
Not in this interview, but somebody mentioned it during the visit and it was acknowledged as being a hole to fill, but quite a large task.
Dynamic 3D blocks could be pivotal for the great undecided. It’d please me.
Not too far off now.
Thank you. Just one tiny step away… Their help system is a bit abbreviated.
What I understand is that implementing the full gamut of dynamic block creation functions is a huge task, one that also involves ODA also (external to Bricsys) to do their significant bit.
My observation from India is that dynamic blocks are really useful and a must-have for a small minority of CAD users who have mastered it and use it daily. For the remaining 98% of CAD users, they don’t know about it and don’t care.
So, I guess it is a question of time versus sales potential.
But, having said that, it should still be on Bricsys radar to offer support for dynamic block creation bit-by-bit (if not all at once) because the guys who ask for dynamic blocks are usually from blue-chip architectural firms and large engineering corporations, a segment that Bricsys must woo with full attention.
Full 2D dynamic block support is one of the things BricsCAD needs to have to completely fill the AutoCAD-replacement bill.
3D dynamic blocks are one of the things BricsCAD needs to have to make BricsCAD a really top-notch 3D mechanical product and fulfill Erik’s beyond-AutoCAD-replacement vision. Sheet metal and BIM shows it’s not that far off.
Yes, to win more large sites over, Bricsys needs to do the all stuff that makes replacement of AutoCAD viable and attractive to CAD Managers. It’s pretty good now but there are holes. The holes are getting filled but there’s still plenty to do.