Webinar on PLM For Auto and Aero Suppliers

Jim Brown and Dassault Systémes' VP Kendall Pond will present on this Engineering.com webcast sharing insights on the value of PLM for aerospace and automative suppliers that have outgrown their informal data management approaches. Companies in the auto and aero supply chains can learn how to better manage data, … [ read more ]


SaaS-O-Matic Spoof and Interview on True Cloud PLM with Excellims

How do you tell true cloud PLM software versus other SaaS options and why is it important? We start this episode by poking some fun at old software disguised as cloud. Then, Jim Brown interviews Excellims Corporation's VP of Engineering Mark Osgood who shares his experience outgrowing spreadsheets for managing … [ read more ]


IoT Makes As Good as the Day I Bought It a Thing of the Past Guest Post on PTC’s Product Lifecycle Report

Jim Brown penned a post on evergreen design for PTC's Product Lifecycle Report Blog. The report, IoT Makes "As Good as the Day I Bought It" a Thing of the Past, shares the exciting potential available from smart, connected products that can be updated in the field to correct issues, improve performance, or add … [ read more ]


Siemens PLM Vision 2015+

In addition to being a major industrial manufacturer in their own right, Siemens PLM has a rich history in the engineering software industry. Today, they continue to drive their PLM agenda forward while taking greater advantage of the synergies available from being a part of a global manufacturer with offerings … [ read more ]


How Much PDM is Right for You? (animated video)

This short, animated Tech-Clarity TV episode explores the different Product Data Management options available to manufacturers. It explains that value of full-featured PDM as a step beyond CAD File Management and a stepping stone toward PLM for more advanced capabilities as … [ read more ]


Slideshow Graphic Template.pptxAutodesk University 2012 an Education on Cloud PLM, CAD, SIM, BIM, etc


photoAU 2013 saw Autodesk fully embraces the cloud with one arm while continuing to embrace the desktop with the other. Autodesk demonstrated in Las Vegas that they have made significant headway in moving engineering and design software to the cloud. Last year Autodesk made a major announcement that was said to “change everything” in PLM when they introduced their cloud-based PLM offering, PLM360. While the world hasn’t changed radically overnight (or even in a year), the offering is growing and has developed a place in the PLM market. This year, Autodesk announced Fusion 360, a cloud-based 3D CAD tool. This is in addition to their Simulation 360 offering. So Autodesk is rounding out a nice engineering suite on the cloud (although with an obvious gap of PDM which is handled by the non-cloudy Vault). But Autodesk stated clearly – numerous times – that they aren’t backing away from their support for the desktop.

PLM 360 Update

So what’s new with PLM 360? Autodesk gave some updates and statistics on the adoption of their PLM solution. The numbers are very respectable:

  • 350+ active using and evaluating
  • 8,000+ users
  • 40,000+ workspaces
  • 2.2+ million items

In the last year they also acquired Inforbix or product data accessibility and partnered with Jitterbit for cloud integration. They also shared some good customer stories. The key to PLM 360 is still a continued focus on enabling collaborative business processes / workflows as opposed to data management / PDM. The case studies, in fact, are very process intensive and involve more communication and collaboration aspects of PLM than data management. The offering also continues to highlight the flexibility of the solution to address processes as they exist in the business today, although indications show that their will be more process templates in the works from Autodesk and partners.

While PLM 360 is carving out a niche in the market, it is not directly competitive with existing PLM solutions. It can be used to address some of the same process challenges that Enovia, Teamcenter, or Windchill can but take a very different approach. The current PLM leaders have more defined data models and processes than PLM 360 offers. Which is better? It really depends on what you want, in a way it is comparing apples to oranges. PLM 360 has not  fundamentally changed the PLM market. Instead it remains a new, interesting offering from Autodesk that understands products / product structures and automates processes and enables collaboration.

Introducing Fusion 360

The big news, perhaps, was Fusion 360. The interesting thing is that Autodesk has invested to build Fusion 360 from the ground up, from what I can tell (although not a new kernel). It is not only new in it’s cloud foundation, it’s a fundamentally new 3D CAD tool. I do not claim to be a CAD expert, but I believe in the cloud as a platform and the CAD gurus that I respect are impressed. Albeit the product will take time, this shows great potential. I will leave this to others to report on that have more CAD knowledge than I do. But see my note at the end because this offering has me thinking.

Implications for Manufacturers

My take on this is that while Autodesk is investing heavily in the cloud they recognize that not all of their customers are ready to move there. They are embracing the cloud but doing it on a practical level, recognizing that the evolution from desktop to cloud is a long one. Clearly not all engineers or their companies are ready to adopt the cloud full force. And of course not all Autodesk solutions are on the cloud, either. But the direction is clear and Autodesk is showing they are willing to lead the way.

But what’s most interesting to me to see how much capability Autodesk is putting into the cloud. They are clearly believers, although keeping one foot solidly on the ground (with desktops, sorry that my metaphor broke down!)

If I had a Crystal Ball…

One other note of interest is that Fusion 360 has some basic cloud data management capabilities. No, it doesn’t serve as a PDM backbone, but it does allow designs to be stored on the cloud. Is this the start of something bigger? Could we predict that there will be something that sits in between PLM 360 and Fusion 360 – perhaps a Vault 360 or PDM 360 product? My bet is that we will see movement in this direction at some point, whether sooner or later only Autodesk knows.

So that’s what I hear from Autodesk, I hope you found it useful. What do you think?


  1. John Evans says:

    I thinkg that when you say that something will lie between Fusion 360 and PLM 360, I’d think not. Based on teh research that I was able to do, I think Fusion 360 will pull data directly from PLM 360. Just my thoughts though. (Autodesk did confirm that Fusion 360 and other products will be built on a PLM 360 foundation) See here:


  2. John Evans says:

    …and apparently I cannot write properly today. Sorry abot that folks.

  3. Thanks John. I guess I should revise my view to say I think that there will be a capability between Fusion and PLM in the cloud that will manage data and provide PDM functionality. It might actually just be a part of one of those solutions.

  4. beyondplm says:

    Fusion 360 at AU2012 saved information in PLM 360.

  5. joey says:

    Autodesk did confirm that Fusion 360 and other products will be built on a PLM 360 foundation..

Speak Your Mind