On the Inventor team, we often get asked about how users can offer suggestions, make functionality requests, or just provide general feedback on what they need from Inventor. We post a lot about what is going on with Inventor. Updates and enhancements we have released, new functionality we have developed, some information about what we will do in the future (Inventor Public Roadmap post). And at the end of most of those posts, we add a couple links under the moniker of ‘make your voice heard’. Hopefully, you have read those posts, clicked the links, and voiced your feedback. But, how does user feedback turn into Inventor functionality? It would be good to go over the different ways you can communicate with the Inventor team and give you a bit of insight on how they impact product development.
On the Inventor team, we try to have as many input streams as possible from customers directly to the product team.
Let’s take a bit deeper look at many of these ways you can engage directly with us.
The Inventor Forums and Ideas page are one of the easiest ways for you to ask questions, submit feature requests and engage with other users and the Inventor development team. These pages give you great insight into what your fellow Inventor users are asking for and can help you connect with many of our Expert Elite users as well. On the Ideas page, you can post a request for functionality and vote on other users’ ideas as well.
We tag the submitted ideas and monitor them. Here is a brief description of what the tags mean:
Gathering Support – Ideas that are getting votes from other users
Future Consideration – Ideas that are in our backlog, but not what you will see in the product over the short term, per se
Accepted – Ideas that we are working on
Implemented – Ideas that have been released in Inventor
Archived – Ideas that have been on the page for multiple years with very low votes from other users
By showing votes and tagging ideas, it helps you see if other users would find your idea useful. We understand it might not make you feel better about having your idea Archived…but it does help you see how impactful your idea could be to Inventor users across the globe. Any additional detail you can provide to help describe your Idea submission is always helpful (GIFs, images, examples, etc).We would, of course, love to implement every single idea. But, it just isn’t possible and this helps us be very open and transparent with you on what ideas we are (or are not) planning to work on. Any additional detail you can provide to help describe your Idea submission is always helpful (GIFs, images, examples, etc).
The Inventor Feedback Community takes feedback a step further. Here you are able to engage with the Inventor product team under NDA. You will find additional forum topics on areas we are looking to develop, access to alpha and beta builds of upcoming Inventor releases and builds of Inventor featuring specific functionality that is available for testing. The Feedback Community is also where you can sign up for additional testing and feedback sessions through our Online Inside The Factory sessions.
Inside The Factory events
As much as we love talking to you online, nothing is better than face to face engagements with Inventor customers. At Autodesk, Inside The Factory (ITFs) are used by many teams: Inventor, Vault, Revit, 3ds Max, to name a few. These events are generally hosted in Autodesk office locations. In 2019, we hosted events in our Portland, OR, Novi, MI, Munich, GE, and Shanghai offices. We even work with our reseller partners to host Inside The Factory sessions in their offices. Inside The Factory are events that the Inventor team hosts to allow users to come in and test alpha/beta software with product managers, experience designers, and developers in the room with you. This allows you to test upcoming functionality and provide feedback directly to the people developing it. We also use these events to give you an in-depth look at the Inventor roadmap.
Autodesk University is another great way for you to talk directly to the Inventor team. We have developers, product managers and experience designers at AU events around the world. You can find us, teaching classes, working the answer bar, running research and feedback sessions…or even catch us over a cup of coffee or a pint of beer (the latter tends to be when you are most honest with us). The Inventor team has people at AU China, AU Germany, AU London, AU Las Vegas, and other AU events I am sure I missed typing. At AU Las Vegas, for example. we ran a user feedback session the Monday before the conference started, hosted classes on our roadmap, hosted “ask the Inventor product manager” and “ask the Inventor developer” sessions, worked the answer bar and had face-to-face meetings with dozens of customers.
As much as possible, the Inventor team loves to go to customer locations and get a first-person account of your processes, challenges, and how you are using Inventor in your business. The Inventor team had over 70 direct customer visits last year. Many of these onsite visits were initiated from discussions in the Feedback Community, with your Autodesk and Partner account teams, or because you simply asked us. Again, we can’t visit every customer, but it is always worth asking if you feel it would be valuable to have us come onsite and see how you are using Inventor, and what enhancements would impact your business.
Now go be heard
We, as always, appreciate your feedback and opinions. Go to the Ideas page, check out the Feedback Community, and plan to talk with us at AU London, Germany, China, and Las Vegas. We can’t wait to talk to you, and hear what you have to say!
Loren Welch is a Sr Product Manager for the Inventor product line at Autodesk. Loren has over 20 years of industry experience in multiple CAD/CAM/CAE/PDM software applications and rapid prototyping solutions. He has been at Autodesk since 2008, where he currently manages release planning, product roadmap, and customer engagement for the Autodesk Inventor product line.