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 Platform Solutions and Emerging Business (PSEB)
segment, which accounts for 32% of sales. Its Architecture,
Engineering and Construction (AEC), 35% of sales, and Manufacturing
(MFG), 27% 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 2015 (ended January) was
about $1.3 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 Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region (39% of sales) and
closely trailed by the Americas (36% of sales) and Asia/Pacific
(25% 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 142 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 2,500 resellers and distributors. For
2015 (ended January) about 83% of its revenue came from indirect
sales channels. Autodesk relies heavily on its largest
Tech Data, which generated 25%, 24%, and 23% 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.
The company bumped up its advertising spending
to about $24 million in 2015 from $15.6 million in 2014.
Autodesk bounced back to post 10% higher
revenue in 2015 (ended January) after reporting a 2% drop in 2014.
Revenue of $2.5 billion was boosted by higher sales in its
industrial units, Architecture, Engineering and Construction (up
19%) and Manufacturing (17% higher). Despite higher revenue,
Autodesk reported a 64% drop in profit, which came in at almost $82
million in 2015. The company had higher operating expenses in
research and development and sales and marketing in 2015. Cash flow
from operations was $707 million in 2015, compared to $563.5
million in 2014.
Autodesk's strategy is directed toward 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. While the company's
research and development spending increased to $725 million in
2015, it was about the same percentage of revenue as it spent on
R&D in 2014. The company also increased spending on sales and
marketing in 2015.
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
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 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.