The Road Ahead

Here is a recent presentation that I would like to share with you by Jim Quanci, Senior Director of the Autodesk Developer Network ADN, on current business aspects of interest to Autodesk, the industry in general, and obviously also us Revit API developers.

The Road Ahead

To enjoy this best, please scroll through Jim's slide deck in parallel with the following text that I extracted from it:

The Road Ahead – Prepare Yourself and Your Company

Lets start with some important questions:

This is about your future success.

This is about your company's future success.


Gartner: Tablet sales are equal to PC sales right now... with PC sales continuing to drop as tablet sales grow. This is the basis of a huge shift in customer expectations, behaviors – and business growth opportunity. If you only sell desktop software, your market is shrinking. It's very very hard to grow your business when the market you sell into is shrinking.

Gartner: Android is clearly the dominant OS of our time. Sure lots are mobile devices – but we are approaching the point where revenue from mobile devices (including tablets) is larger then PC sales. And a lot more profitable too. Do you have android development skills? What are you waiting for? As a side note, OS sales by Apple will exceed OS sales by Microsoft this year (driven by mobile – phones and tablets).

Hard to believe, but this is all still driven by the now 20 year old shift from client and client server computing to the internet – its shock waves are still driving rapid change and growth opportunities today.

It's all about the shift of individuals working alone to physically distributed and often "ad hoc" teams quickly forming, working and dispersing. This is not simple networking sharing of files – but true real time collaboration – a shift that is still just getting started in the B2B world.

Anyone here use Google Docs? Have you experienced real time collaboration without the hassles and complexity of file based revision control? It's what the university students use – as well as many young start-ups.

The rapid change in how we pay for things – from cash and checks to electronic. Do you take on-line payments?

Exchange Apps Downloads

It's not just consumers... It's B2B too... see the trend in Autodesk Exchange. View the gecko board and see activity from customers in China!

Exchange Apps Unit Sales

It's not just downloads – purchases are happening too! And we will be adding additional payment options beyond todays PayPal – like AliPay and Purchase Orders.

Platforms and Technologies

Do you do development with the high growth OS's? iOS is as large as Windows, and Linux and Android are used by many more people.

Note two of the three high growth OS's are open source. Autodesk is just now finishing moving all our servers to Linux based stacks – off of Windows – saving Autodesk tens of millions of dollars per year. Do you still use Windows servers? Why is that?

What development technologies do you and your team use? No, C++ is not going away – but a lot more development is happening on web and mobile technologies then C++. Are most of your staff doing C++ or C# work? Why? Developing with these tools is slow – taking weeks, months and years. The web and mobile technologies allow development in hours, days and weeks. Who go slow? Sure you need some C++ development – but most of your development needs to move on to more flexible and more productive technologies. Notice all of these are public standards – and not proprietary technology.

Is Visual Studio your primary development tool? It's likely you or your team are being held back by fear of using new development tools. Note 2 of the 3 modern development environments are open source.

What are you using for source code control? Most companies Autodesk is now acquiring use freely available cloud based GitHub – making for easy distributed real time collaboration – and easy sharing with others – such as how ADN is now making all code samples available through GitHub. And It's making our code samples better.

How do you get support? Is it through formal partnering programs – or social networks of various sorts? Is it about "submitting cases" and waiting days for an answer or searching Forums and Blogs and other web sites?

Are you or your team familiar with the new high performance high throughput "NoSQL" databases? They are mostly open source too.

Are you or your team familiar with the new web/mobile UI development tools – or are you still using difficult and slow to use Windows tools?

Do you have performance problems? Are you using grid (massively parallel) computing readily enabled on the Cloud? You need to get hadoop expertise when you do (versus old expensive proprietary technologies). Does anyone on your team even know when hadoop can solve a performance problem you have?

Know Autodesk

All these transitions I have been talking about are happening at Autodesk too.

The desktop solutions are not going away – but they are mostly slow growth. The high growth areas are our web/mobile technologies. Some have APIs today – and all will have APIs by year-end. Are you engaged? Are you ready?

The growth opportunity is huge... move from 10-15 million to 200-400 million... it's about increasing the size of your business by 2X, 3X, 4X or more. The number of users you can address with the new web/mobile technologies is huge. And these new users will make the data created by your and our desktop solutions more valuable – now that more people can access/use it. Autodesk is going there. Will you join us?

Autodesk Cloud and Mobile Revenue

This is not just a story. Though Autodesk desktop revenue growth is single digits...our web/mobile revenue growth is over 20% per year – and has been for the last few years – and we expect it to both accelerate and continue for many years to come. And these are no longer small revenue numbers... over $100 million in web/mobile revenue in the last 12 months alone.

Where are you?

Where are you in transitioning yourself and your team to the new web/mobile technologies?

What are you waiting for?

It's time to get started.

Scared? Unsure? Go hire some recent University graduates with strong web/mobile development skills. I am.

Change is Difficult – No Change is Fatal

Should you be nervous?


Should you be scared?


Change is difficult.

Not changing is fatal.

Many thanks to Jim for sharing this!