Our annual Autodesk University happened last month in New Orleans. As a presenter and participant, it was a great opportunity for me to connect with people, learn more about how our customers are using our tools, and experience the iconic industry conference in a new way. Here are a few of the highlights of AU 2022, from my perspective:
Forge-ing a Path to Platform
First, is the renaming of Autodesk Forge to Autodesk Platform Services, the cloud-based platform of cross-industry APIs and services. In case you missed any of the announcements, you can read on here. If you’re not familiar with what you could do with Forge, now Autodesk Platform Services, you can customize, extend, and connect Autodesk products with other solutions and data to create end to end workflows.
The important takeaway about Autodesk Platform Services is that it is the underpinning of three industry clouds. As it relates to data & process management, Autodesk Fusion will be the industry cloud for all things Design & Manufacturing. While the details of that are still coming, let’s review WHY Autodesk is pursuing this path:
We’ve heard this from numerous customers over the years. When I worked in industry, I also experienced this, especially in working with OEMs, suppliers and vendors. There’s a reason there are still careers in document control at some companies; it can get really chaotic managing all the documents, transmittal logs, and other communications that occur between departments, let alone all the other companies you do business with.
It’s clear that the legacy of on-premise solutions presented many challenges in achieving this, but the era of Forge brought with it an opportunity to make this above goal a reality. As an added benefit, on-premise solutions were able to get an extended lease on life by off-loading the heavy lifting of data exchange through services and tools available on the Forge network. With the rename of Forge to Autodesk Platform Services, the focus is set on delivering on the promise of better design-to-make data management.
A First Time for Everything
I had a great opportunity to plan for and host a panel this year at AU. This was the first time I’d ever undertaken this type of project, and it sure gave me a new appreciation for the level of planning needed to get a group of people together for a great discussion. Hats off to anyone who’s had to present or lead a class at these types of events.
We had a great group of panelists; it was nice to gain some insight into what they’ve seen along their journeys, and ways that we, our partners, and customers have made progress.
The Power of Connected People
One of the key outcomes we state that businesses can achieve through digitizing their data & process is improved collaboration. Collaboration is all about people, and while I certainly have seen how PDM & PLM tools can help in this regard, there is still something powerful in simple, in-person communication. It’s the element that can help establish trust in the systems and ensure successful collaboration.
In my dialog with Jacob, it started out a bit guarded; as just another sales pitch. Having been in sales myself, I’m always willing to give others an opportunity. However, I was intrigued at how, over time, the conversation shifted in tone and topic. I’m not certain, but it certainly felt like one possible reason could be that we were both taking the time to listen and make a genuine effort to relate to each other at some level. It was one of the best highlights for me of the entire event.
When I look back at implementations that I’ve been involved in that were successful, there were common elements of listening, establishing trust, and adapting to feedback.
What were some of your key takeaways from the event? How have you and your organization been successful in connecting people and data?