Autodesk is a pioneer in 3D design, engineering, and digital entertainment software. Since introducing its AutoCAD software in 1982, the company has offered a broad portfolio 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 is shifting it tools and services to cloud-based application as well as developing mobile apps for smartphones and tablets that can be used by professionals, amateur designers, and students.
Autodesk's flagship AutoCAD product platform underpins all of the company's design product offerings and is a part of its Platform Solutions and Emerging Business (PSEB) segment, which accounts for 27% of sales. Its Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC), 38% of sales, and Manufacturing (MFG), 29% of sales, 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.
Bringing in 6% of sales is Autodesk's fourth segment Media and Entertainment (M&E). Its two product groups -- animation and creative finishing – develop 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.
Autodesk also reports revenue from licensing and subscriptions. Licensing revenue in 2016 (ended January) was about $1.2 billion and revenue from subscriptions was about $1.2 billion. Subscription revenue comes from maintenance fees and sales of its cloud service offerings.
Autodesk sells to customers globally, led by the Americas, 39% of sales, followed by Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region (37% of sales), and Asia/Pacific, 24% of sales. The company's key markets are Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and the US. It operates in 143 locations around the world, including research and product development operations in the US, Canada, China, and Singapore.
Sales and Marketing
Autodesk makes direct sales of its software licenses and services, but most sales come indirectly through a global network of about 2,000 resellers and distributors. For 2016 (ended January) about 79% of its revenue came from indirect sales channels. Autodesk relies heavily on its largest distributor, Tech Data, which generates about 25% of its revenue each year.
Autodesk'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.
The company ramped up its advertising spending to about $29 million in 2016 from $24 million in 2015.
Autodesk's revenue stayed in the $2.5 billion neighborhood in 2016 (ended January) with a slight (0.3%) decline from 2015. Sales of its Platform Solutions and Emerging Business and Media and Entertainment segments dropped in 2016. Subscription revenue for its cloud-based products rose while licensing revenue fell. Autodesk received more than half its revenue from subscriptions in 2016.
The company's bottom line plunged to a loss of $330 million in 2016 from a $81.8 million profit in 2015. While Autodesk had higher expenses, including a 9% increase in R&D costs, its was a sharply higher tax bill that caused the loss.
It generated $414 million in cash from operations in 2016, down from $708 million in 2015.
Autodesk in 2016 implemented a restructuring program that reduced its workforce by 10% and consolidated some leased real estate to help speed up its shift to delivering its products from the cloud. The move will cost about $95 million, but will save money that the company is to invest in the cloud transition. Furthermore, the company said it would stop selling upgrades to its licensed software.
As part of the transition Autodesk raised research and development spending to $790 million in 2016 (from $725 in 2015). The company also increased spending on sales and marketing in 2016.
Autodesk accelerated its move to the cloud and expanded its flexible product license offerings. It expanded desktop subscriptions to a broader range of its portfolio as well as its token-based licensing program for enterprise customers.
It is also delivering more of its products on mobile devices. In 2014, the company started offering flexible term-based licenses for certain products. The new terms are to offer customers more flexibility in how they use Autodesk products and address new types of customers such as project-based users and small businesses. In cloud computing, the company is developing capabilities that allow cloud-based collaborative Product Lifecycle Management, Building Information Modeling, and online simulation.
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. It started a Cleantech Partner Program in China in 2015. The program provides developers access to Autodesk software such as Digital Prototyping to address environmental problems.
Another area in which Autodesk is staking a claim is 3D printing. The company released a open source 3D printer called Ember and Spark, an open and free platform for 3D printing. Late in 2014, the company put its money where it wants its software to be, announcing it would invest $100 million in startups and researchers working on 3D printing technology.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2015 the company acquired netfabb, a German developer of software for industrial additive design and manufacturing. The company also made a strategic investment in FIT Technology Group, netfabb's parent company and provider of additive manufacturing software and services. The two companies will collaborate to increase adoption of technology for industrial 3D manufacturing.
In an effort to beef up its cloud cred, Autodesk in 2014 acquired Shotgun Software, a developer of cloud-based production software for the film, television, and games industries. Shotgun’s 500-plus customers include leading studios.
Also in 2014, Autodesk got some game, buying Stockholm-based Bitsquid AB, the creator of the Bitsquid game engine. Bitsquid brings expertise in 3D game development and technology that will help Autodesk to strengthen its portfolio of tools for game makers through the development of a new 3D game engine.
In another acquisition, the company acquired the technology and the development team of Circuits.io, a web-based app and connected community for designing and simulating electronic circuits. Autodesk partnered with the Circuits.io team to introduce Autodesk 123D Circuits in 2013, and through this acquisition Autodesk intends to expand its offering of technology for electronic circuit design and simulation.
In a bid to expand its offerings for manufacturers, in early 2014 it bought UK-based Delcam (provider of CAM software) for $286 million. Autodesk also agreed to buy structural fabrication and detailing technology assets from Graitec.