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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Revit Subscription Rant


This has nothing to do with BIM, but I was reading it and had a thought. We get charged every month for the following:
Insurance
Gas
Water
Electric
Phones
Cable/Satellite TV
Newspaper
Magazines
Rent/Mortgage
Memberships
Associations

So, what's the big deal of paying $1.98 per day for software subscription? Why do so many people detest giving Autodesk money to keep their software updated, have access to additional features, plug ins and support. Why do so many expect everything to be free?

As an architect, you have business expenses. Do you tell the electric company you won't pay for their service? Do you not pay the reprographics company? Do you get free renderings? Do your consultants give you free engineering drawings? Of course not. Autodesk subscription is just one more bill to add to the pile, but your entire business is based on using Autodesk software. It would seem that there would be a little less pain involved in paying for the software updates.

I do understand how many AutoCAD users don't use any features more than the basics and they'd be happy with R14, but the rest of the world is updating and owners required newer file formats. Besides, have you ever stopped and calculated how much money you spend on paying engineers to convert your drawings into their CAD standards every single time you send them updated drawings? It's thousands of dollars. So, even if you don't use the features, there's money to be saved by using the latest version.

Last point is that you need to remember that starting March 16, 2010, if you're not on subscription and want to upgrade your Autodesk software, the new simplified pricing plan is very simple. Whenever you want to upgrade, it's 50% of the retail price of the product to upgrade. Revit Architecture Suite is now $725/year to upgrade/subscribe. If you had Revit 2009, after March 16, it will cost $3000 to upgrade. Yes, business is slow and it's hard to pay every bill, but things are picking up. I just want you to consider trying to upgrade before it gets really expensive. Getting a 3 year financing package would be a much easier way to go. Contact me for info on that if you're interested.

Now, read this article about subscription for television.....was TV ever really free? We always had to sit through commercials....

Addendum 12/24:  From some of the reader comments I've received already, I'd like to add a few extra words.  When you buy a house, you put down a large downpayment and the very next month, you're required to make your first month's mortgage payment.  When you buy a car, you start paying immediately.  There are no "no payments for the first 12 months" rules.  To those who will read the above and think that since you paid a lot for the software and think that you shouldn't have to pay for subscription until 1 year later, off the record, I agree with you.  What if we just rolled the price of subscription into the new seat or crossgrade price?  Then you'd think you were getting free subscription for the first year.  It is what it is that we separate it and you think you're paying more than you should.  It's just a timing issue.  If you were upgrading or crossgrading, you would have spent that money anyhow at a prior time.  It's not like you're paying extra, it's just when you pay it.  Yes, it's a lot of money to have to lay out.  Again, I'll tell you to get a 3 year financing package where you get a 10% discount on the subscription contract.  You pay monthly over 3 years and that spreads out the pain. 

At the end of the day, Revit has doubled productivity for many of the firms that use it.  They don't need as many people on staff and they save a huge amount of costs on salary or are able to bill out more work every year (and you'll have to take the recession into account for that statement - "under normal circumstances).  So, the reality is, you're spending money to save money.  It's true. It's been documented.  It's pointless to keep fighting the system, Autodesk and poor business decisions that are made emotionally and without regard for the very technology that will make you profitable.  For those of you who think you're going to keep screwing Autodesk by not giving them money, you're only hurting yourself.  Who's still in around?  Autodesk or the thousands of drafters who have been laid off.  Autodesk is the one that's doing something right and investing millions into new technologies.  Revit is a business decision.  It's not about the software.  It's not about the cost.  It's about workflow, process, knowing how buildings go together.

To that last sentence, you're going to end up spending more money on having to hire people who know how buildings are constructed versus spending it on CAD operators.  You're biggest concern should be finding people who know construction and what you're going to have to pay them.  That doesn't even take into account the amount of engineering knowledge required to do LEED calculations for energy analysis, daylight calculations and energy modeling.  Revit subscription is the least of your problems you face down the road in the near future.  You really need to start planning for how you're going to achieve all of this and stop focusing on how much you hate Autodesk and giving them money.  I'm being blunt and honest with you.  If you don't change your mindset, you're screwed.  You're not going to win the war against BIM and LEED technology.  It's here and it's not going anywhere. 

From: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/12/apple-tv-subscriptions/


Apple is planning to offer television subscriptions over the internet, according to multiple industry sources, and so far CBS and Walt Disney are considering the idea.
The subscription service would involve allowing customers access to some TV shows from participating networks for a monthly fee, anonymous sources have told The Wall Street Journal. The subscription content would presumably be integrated into the iTunes Store and iTunes-compatible hardware. Though Disney and CBS are rumored to be interested, the companies have not officially commented on their plans.
Assuming the rumors are true, a subscription model would be Apple’s second major move to seize the digital video market. The Cupertino, California, company introduced the Apple TV in 2007, which stores and plays video content downloaded through iTunes. However, Apple has repeatedly referred to the Apple TV as a “hobby,” implying the product has not made a serious dent in the entertainment market.
Also, the iTunes Store’s offering of video content pales in comparison to competitors’ catalogs. In March, Apple reported the iTunes Store had accumulated 40,000 downloadable TV episodes and 5,000 movies. Around the same time, Netflix, which offers a rental service in addition to streaming-video hardware, had amassed 100,000 DVD titles and 12,000 choices of streaming content.
Apple’s rumored subscription strategy, if successful, could reshape the TV industry by offering a compelling (and cheaper) alternative to the pricey bundles sold by television providers. However, it will be tricky for Apple to get TV networks on board, said James McQuivey, a Forrester analyst who focuses on the consumer video market.
“It’s very hard to walk into these folks’ door and say, ‘I’m going to deliver revenue to you,’ when in the past few years they haven’t been able to do that,” said McQuivey, in a phone interview.
Continue Reading:
Subscriptions Could Be Apple’s Second Attempt to Conquer Video | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

The comments from today's post::

3 Comments

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Blogger Troy Gates said...
The difference between Revit and the common costs you listed is that we pay a large upfront cost for Revit and then are expected to be on subscription for updates. When you get electricity turned on in your home or business you don't pay $4500 the first day of use. The original Revit subscription was perfect, no upfront cost and a monthly subscription that could be stopped and started at anytime. It was truly like an electric bill. You paid for what you used and all upgrades were part of the monthly fee.
December 23, 2009 11:45 AM
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Blogger antman said...
I'm glad you compared it to electricity. Our local utility is run by the city. Some of their policies and fees were recently protested against by consumers and they ended up being changed because there was a large enough outcry. I would hope that something like that could happen in our industry with CAD/BIM software, but I don't see that happening while we all as consumers just agree to pay whatever amount we are told we have to. I'll stop there before I turn this into a full-blown rant. .-) You asked if consultants give us free engineering drawings. Sometimes truss manufacturers will if you generate a lot of business for them. Also, I recently started a blog and I linked to yours from my blogroll. Is that ok with you? http://dailyoccurrence.wordpress.com/
December 23, 2009 1:12 PM
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Blogger Brian Hall said...
I agree with what Troy said. It's the upfront cost of the software and the first year's subscription that is the sore spot for so many. Basically, when you pay for the software it's being paid for 1.375 times because of the added cost of the first year's subscription. I would say that they should at least allow the upfront purchase of the software to include the first year's subscription. I don't mind paying for the subscription (for me it's Inventor) because there truly is a plethora of benefits and it's an expense that's predictable to track. One problem that has come up is justifying the expense to upper management who wouldn't know the difference between looking at AutoCAD, Inventor, or Revit. They have this mindset of "one-and-done" when paying for the software. It's viewed as a physical object rather than an ever improving and evolving tool. One way to help us CAD managers get around that mindset is to set up the pricing structure to be perceived as a subscription instead of a single point of sale transaction.
December 23, 2009 6:54 PM


4 comments:

Troy Gates December 23, 2009 at 11:45 AM  

The difference between Revit and the common costs you listed is that we pay a large upfront cost for Revit and then are expected to be on subscription for updates. When you get electricity turned on in your home or business you don't pay $4500 the first day of use.

The original Revit subscription was perfect, no upfront cost and a monthly subscription that could be stopped and started at anytime. It was truly like an electric bill. You paid for what you used and all upgrades were part of the monthly fee.

antman December 23, 2009 at 1:12 PM  

I'm glad you compared it to electricity. Our local utility is run by the city. Some of their policies and fees were recently protested against by consumers and they ended up being changed because there was a large enough outcry. I would hope that something like that could happen in our industry with CAD/BIM software, but I don't see that happening while we all as consumers just agree to pay whatever amount we are told we have to. I'll stop there before I turn this into a full-blown rant. .-)

You asked if consultants give us free engineering drawings. Sometimes truss manufacturers will if you generate a lot of business for them.

Also, I recently started a blog and I linked to yours from my blogroll. Is that ok with you?
http://dailyoccurrence.wordpress.com/

Brian Hall December 23, 2009 at 6:54 PM  

I agree with what Troy said. It's the upfront cost of the software and the first year's subscription that is the sore spot for so many. Basically, when you pay for the software it's being paid for 1.375 times because of the added cost of the first year's subscription. I would say that they should at least allow the upfront purchase of the software to include the first year's subscription.

I don't mind paying for the subscription (for me it's Inventor) because there truly is a plethora of benefits and it's an expense that's predictable to track.

One problem that has come up is justifying the expense to upper management who wouldn't know the difference between looking at AutoCAD, Inventor, or Revit. They have this mindset of "one-and-done" when paying for the software. It's viewed as a physical object rather than an ever improving and evolving tool. One way to help us CAD managers get around that mindset is to set up the pricing structure to be perceived as a subscription instead of a single point of sale transaction.

Anonymous,  January 14, 2010 at 4:33 PM  

I don't mind paying for software subscription when the price is reasonable. I have just received my subscription quote at £735 (GBP)for the year. This equals $1200 (USD). At this present time, through no fault of my own (government/banks), this is quite a substantial sum, given the current economy, and I don't think I'm the only one with this view.
I'd be quite happy if it was $725!!

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