By Carl White, Senior Director of Business Models at Autodesk
Earlier this week, Bentley announced an “upgrade program” for Autodesk customers. We found the offer to be disingenuous and mischaracterizes what Autodesk offers our customers. Here are the facts about our offerings – both perpetual and subscription:
Fact #1 – No Autodesk customer ever loses the right to use the perpetual software license you’ve purchased, it is “evergreen”. And if you’re on a software maintenance plan, you can continue to receive all of the benefits of software updates and technical support for as long as you’d like.
We’ve shared key dates well ahead of time to give customers time needed to adjust, but that does not mean we’re taking away options. Rather than taking our word for it, here’s what one respected industry watcher had to say: “I really just wanted to make it 100% clear: if you have a perpetual license and continue to pay maintenance, NOTHING CHANGES on February/August 1, 2016 unless you want it to.”
Fact #2 – Our customers have a choice. When you subscribe to Autodesk software, you have flexible terms (monthly, quarterly, annually), and multiple access points (single user, multi-user and shared). Now Autodesk customers can get the software they need for a year or a month, in ways that are more convenient and better for their business. Customers can buy and use it for as long as they want and can match their subscription type with the demands of their workforce. When the workforce expands, they can ramp up, or in quieter periods, they can scale it back. In short, subscribing gives you flexibility and predictability.
When it comes to value, lower upfront costs make our software more accessible and allow you to try more tools without the risk of a large upfront expenditure. Plus, you only pay when you need it. This is a big deal. Some of our customers prefer this cost is considered an operating expense, allowing you to bill the cost of the software back to the client or project. And if you subscribe for a longer, multi-year term, you lock-in your rate. Combine that with flexibility in the length of contracts and you may find that you’re actually paying less.
Fact #3 – Software as a service is essential for technological evolution. It allows for continual and consistent innovation and support. The software will get better, faster and more seamless in the way you use it. The experience is customized to you or your organization, and provides a simplified way to access and deploy software, manage your users and collaborate on projects. With this new way of delivering software, everyone will always have the latest, most up-to-date Autodesk tools available.
It’s not just Autodesk saying this; the entire software industry is moving in this direction. Frankly, design and engineering software has been a bit slow to make this change. But the benefits for end-users are clear, and it’s just a matter of time before all vendors have similar ways of buying.
Fact #4 – Our recent earnings results validate our move to an all subscription-based model and readiness of the market and our customer base. More customers are getting on board every day. In Q1 of this year, they were up 132,000 to 2.71 million.
What does this mean? It means that millions of you are already seeing the benefits of shifting to subscription and are making that choice voluntarily.
So Bentley, we have this to say to you: announcing competitive upgrade programs makes for sensational headlines, but it doesn’t solve customers’ problems. Autodesk is in the business of giving our customers the best tools possible to solve their businesses’—and the world’s—biggest challenges.