Autodesk is a pioneer in 3D design, engineering, and digital entertainment software. Since introducing its AutoCAD software in 1982, the company has grown to offer one of the broadest portfolios of 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software on the market. Its AutoCAD and Revit software is primarily used by architects, engineers, and structural designers to design, draft, and model buildings and other structures. Maya is a 3D animation software used in film visual effects and game development. Autodesk 360 provides cloud-based tools and services, plus mobile apps for smartphones and tablets that can be used by professionals, amateur designers, and students. Services offered include consulting, support, and training.
Autodesk sells to customers globally, led by the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region and closely trailed by the Americas and Asia/Pacific. The company's key markets are Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and the US.
Autodesk's flagship AutoCAD product platform underpins all of the company's design product offerings and is a part of its largest business segment Platform Solutions and Emerging Business (PSEB). Its Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) and Manufacturing (MFG) segments offer tailored versions of AutoCAD software for the specific industries that they serve, namely building and civil infrastructure and transportation, automotive, and industrial machinery.
Autodesk's fourth segment Media and Entertainment (M&E) consists of two product groups -- animation and creative finishing -- software that is specifically sold to creative professionals, post-production facilities, and broadcasters for everything from feature films and TV shows to games and Web design. These segments generate fairly balanced portions of revenue for the company.
Autodesk has research and product development operations in the US, Canada, China, and Singapore, as well as software developers in other parts of the world. Maintaining various R&D locations and employees helps keeps costs lower.
Sales and Marketing
Autodesk sells software licenses and services directly but moreso indirectly through a global network of about 2,000 resellers and distributors. For fiscal 2012 about 84% of its revenue came from indirect sales channels. Autodesk relies heavily on its largest distributor, Tech Data, which generated 17%, 16%, and 14% of net revenue for fiscal years 2012, 2011, and 2010. Atodesk's sales and marketing organizations are divided among three main regions: the Americas, EMEA, and Asia/Pacific. Those regional sales organizations work in conjunction with local sales offices.
Autodesk saw sales and profits rise again in fiscal 2012 (ends January), as it did in 2011, due to strong demand after a dip in revenue and income in 2010. The company enjoyed robust sales across all of its products segments and most geographies, pointing to new commercial seat licenses, upgrades, and subscription-based software maintenance fees as the key drivers of growth. Autodesk also saw its operating expenses rise in most areas in 2012, offsetting revenue gains somewhat.
Autodesk's strategy today is predicated on the ongoing industry transition from the personal computer to cloud, mobile, and social computing. It is migrating many of its products to the cloud, which involves developing new cloud computing infrastructure and restructuring applications to fit the cloud. It is also delivering more of its products on mobile devices. In terms of new product development, Autodesk is using both internal and third-party product development and acquisitions of businesses, products, and technology assets to enhance its design tools and build out its visualization, analysis, and simulation offerings. Annually, R&D expenditures are about 25% of Autodesk's net revenue.
Another key element of Autodesk's growth strategy is expanding in emerging markets. The company sees long-term growth opportunity in selling its design technology to help such markets with infrastructure build-out.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2013 it bought privately held German software company PI-VR, which specializes in real-time visualization for the automotive industry. Visualization technology reduces the need for often costlier physical prototypes. The company also acquired Allpoint Systems Technology that year, which develops cloud-based reality capture software and complements Autodesk's existing technology, and Firehole Technologies, which provides design and analysis software for composite materials.
In 2012 Autodesk acquired Pramati's social collaboration software Qontext to capitalize on the move toward mobile, cloud, and social computing. That same year it boosted its simulation technologies development with the purchase of Naiad, a liquid simulation technology used to create water and other fluid effects in films and other applications. The technology was used in blockbuster movies such as Avatar, Harry Potter, and X-Men.