Autodesk is a pioneer in 3D design, engineering, and digital
entertainment software. Since introducing its AutoCAD software in
1982, the company offers 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'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), which accounts for 35% of sales. Its
Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC), 32% of sales, and
Manufacturing (MFG), 25% 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 8% 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 breaks revenue into money that
comes from customers that license its products and those who use it
through. Licensing revenue in 2014 was about $1.2 billion and
revenue from subscriptions was about $1.1 billion.
The company has research and product
development operations in the US, Canada, China, and Singapore, as
well as software developers in other parts of the world.
Autodesk sells to customers globally, led by
the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region (39% of sales) and
closely trailed by the Americas (36% of sales) and Asia/Pacific
(27% 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 115 locations around the world.
Sales and Marketing
Autodesk makes direct sales of its software
licenses and services, but most sales come indirectly through
a global network of about 2,500 resellers and distributors. For
2104 (ended January) about 84% of its revenue came from indirect
sales channels. Autodesk relies heavily on its largest
Tech Data, which generated 24%, 23%, and 17% of net revenue for
2014, 2013, and 2012.
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.
After four straight years of rising revenues,
Autodesk revenue dropped 2% in 2014. Revenue came in at $2.27
billion for the year, off from $2.31 billion in 2013. Sales were
down 10% in the media and entertainment segment and down 6% in the
Platform Solutions and Emerging Business segment, in which sales
were off for the AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT products. Autodesk's net
income was also down in 2014, dropping almost 8% to about $229
million from $247 million in 2013. Besides the decline in revenue,
the company had higher costs for and other items. In 2014 the
company's cash flow from operations increased to $564 million
compared to $559 million in 2013 mainly because of lower
restructuring charges and higher account receivables.
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 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.
As it develops new products, Autodesk draws on
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.
Another area in which Autodesk is staking a
claim is 3D printing. The company released a opone 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 the past two years, Autodesk has practiced
acquisition-aided design to add capabilities in strategic
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
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
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.
In 2013 the company 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.