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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Autodesk Simulation 360 Pricing (and a little rant)

In December of 2009, I took the liberty of trying to become a reseller of CF Design products. Considering that Florida was in a construction coma and that the software started at $20,000, I didn't make a lot of progress.  At least I had my extraordinary BIM vision goggles on and knew the potential for their software.  Much to my surprise, in February of 2011, Autodesk acquired yet another company, this time my friends at CF Design.  

Autodesk has been selling the software for a while now, but I'm intrigued to see them reintroduce the software in the 2nd half of the Autodesk 2013 software year (which starts in March).

These tools of Advanced Simulation Capabilities including mechanical simulation and air, fluid, flow and thermal comfort tools, http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?id=17141897&siteID=123112, are very expensive indeed.

Autodesk is changing the pricing structure to try and increase sales.  I guess $7200 is a lot better than $20000 so we will see how this goes.  

Here is the new pricing: 
Mechanical Simulation
1. Term Offering
2. Direct and Channel Sales
3. $3600/12 months/120 jobs

Air Fluid Flow and Thermal Comfort
1. Term Offering
2.  Direct and Channel Sales
3.  $7200/12 months/unlimited jobs.

Autodesk SIM 360 Bundle
1. SIM 360 Unlimited
2. SIM Mech and CFD Motion Desktop Perpetual
3. $18000

I guess you can still buy the whole package in one shot or do the 12 month rental plan.  The only problem, as usual, is that Autodesk doesn't have the sales or technical channel to actually sell the products.  I guess years and years of only selling AutoCAD as a transactional, quota based approach is really catching up to Autodesk in a big BIM way.  It is hard enough to keep up with the standard products, and now, the Autodesk channel has to know about so many products, suites, technologies, technical and process driven workflows, that it's just easier to go online, find your own information, watch some YouTube demo videos and hope for the best.  

I doubt there are any channel experts out there, unless they used the software in a company and now work for a reseller.  That being said, Autodesk has special consulting designations for their resellers to promote.  There's only one problem.  You fill out an application, take some online tests and miraculously get approved so you can issue a press release stating that "they have made significant investment in their people, have a solid consulting business plan, have impressive customer references and offer a high level of knowledge and support for their customers" and their "experts demonstrate an understanding of simulation, fluently represent and support Autodesk products that make simulation possible and recognize and convey the business benefits that simulation offer." 

That is from an actual press release I saw from a reseller.  I don't think there is a huge amount of credibility for resellers bragging about their capabilities  in supporting a product that they actually never sold a seat of.  I admire Autodesk for all of the mostly great products they have in their portfolio, and they have gobbled up a huge number of other companies, but the big missing piece is actually selling and supporting those new products in a market that is used to putting everything on Layer 0.  There is just no way any normal Autodesk salesperson has thee first inkling about what many of these products do and you'll never see a salesperson actually open and use these products in front of a prospect.  That's coming from someone who took the time to learn Revit in 2005 and I did countless Revit demos over the years.  

Ever wonder how the iPhone has only one button on the front of it, yet your mom still can't figure out how to use the damn thing and tells you how complicated it is.  Now magnify that 9 million times and you'll see where the problem.

Oh, one last thing if anyone at Autodesk is listening.  Sell your products on a per project basis to architects and engineers at an affordable price.  Then people will start using this stuff as needed and you will actually increase sales in a significant way.  For an engineer who only designs one data center, don't make him buy a product he won't use again for a year or two and maybe people will actually embrace these great tools.

It just seems like a better way to get business from millions of smaller firms who don't have a budget like larger firms and can afford software on a project basis based on actually get the job and having some money come in to pay for the software during the duration of the design.

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