We see cloud as the future for the design industry: Pradeep Nair

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Published: June 1, 2015 12:12:10 AM

Our major focus is on automobile design, manufacturing, architecture, infrastructure and the media & entertainment sectors. Autodesk technology can be a key ingredient in enabling the components of the “Make in India” campaign

India is one of the key emerging markets for Autodesk. This Sun Rafael, California-based design software and services firm foresees cloud as the future of the design industry as well as its own business growth in India. “With a new supportive government we expect the journey to be even more exciting, especially the opportunities in infrastructure, construction and manufacturing. We are already in talks with the government on the Smart Cities and Digital India initiatives and fully support them in this endeavour,” says Pradeep Nair, managing director, Autodesk, India & Saarc, in a recent interaction with Sudhir Chowdhary. Excerpts:

How is Autodesk performing in India? What is your go-to-market strategy for the India market?

Autodesk has been performing consistently in India and we continue to drive profits bolstered with strong business growth across various industry sectors. For the quarter Nov-Jan 2015, revenue from emerging economies was $107 million, up 21% year-over-year. As one of the key emerging market, India contributes a sizable portion to this revenue as we finished the year on a very strong note.

Our go-to-market strategy constitutes of having a strong and expansive partner ecosystem spread across multiple cities. With the aim of democratising technology, we provide the best of design innovation solutions to large, mid-size and SMBs. We also ensure that our partners are trained requisitely with the apt skills to provide these solutions to the customers.

Autodesk foresees cloud as the future for the design industry as well as its own business growth in India. A holistic strategy, aligned with the industry requirements and key stakeholders, including the partners and customers is the way forward for the company in India and all other international markets.

How important is India market for you from a business point of view?

India is a key growth market for Autodesk and our major focus is on automobile design, manufacturing, architecture, infrastructure and the media & entertainment sectors. Autodesk technology can be a key ingredient in enabling the components of the “Make in India” campaign. We have been advocating Distributed Manufacturing as the key to the

Next Industrial Revolution and encouraging companies, individuals to developing groundbreaking hardware, software, materials, marketplaces and maker spaces through 3D technology.

The 100 Smart Cities initiative by the government, metro-rails in various cities of India, sustainable, green buildings, colossal infrastructure projects are huge opportunities for us to provide innovative design technology that can support the country’s inclusive growth.

In the media & entertainment sector, major portions of VFX in Hollywood movies have been created in Indian animation studios working on Autodesk software. Blockbusters such as Krrish 3 and PK used Autodesk software to provide Indian viewers with a visual treat that was previously not possible.

What initiatives is Autodesk putting in place to gain customer traction here?

We recently announced a business model transition as a part of which new commercial seats of most standalone desktop software products will be available only on cloud, by desktop subscription beginning February 1, 2016. Our customers have long asked for greater flexibility and more value from their software investments. The shift to subscription allows Autodesk to deliver both, as well as an improved user experience and easier access to a broader portfolio of technology.

The migration has already begun this year and we aim to complete the process by the aforementioned date. Through these changes, Autodesk is continuing its transition to subscription-based offerings for its products, which provide customers a simplified product management and deployment experience, and makes it easier to introduce new tools and technology into the work-flow with lower upfront cost and the ability to pay as you go.

In 2014, we launched the Spark Investment Fund worth of $100 million to be invested in helping and nurturing 3D printing companies over the next several years. The Fund, which will be operated within Autodesk, is the first of its kind for the 3D printing industry and will invest in entrepreneurs, startups and researchers who push the boundaries of 3D printing technology and accelerate the new industrial revolution.

Is design on cloud the way forward? Explain why and how will it happen?

We are witnessing the trend where customers want to build products in their vicinity while ensuring that they collaborate with others in the designing process. This can be made possible by leveraging the power of cloud that can help in democratising design technology and enable the future of making things. Every software provider, whether it be design or IT, is undergoing a massive transformation where users are opting for cloud as the preferred platform for computation.

Pervasive connectivity enabled by software that tap into cloud, lets project teams tap expertise globally. We have easier access to complex production methods, supply chains and capital through crowdfunding, and we’re seeing the digital and physical sides of products and projects become more deeply entwined.

Autodesk will be playing a pioneering role in driving this evolution by harnessing the power of cloud, leverage connected desktops and cloud experiences tailored for designers, engineers, visual artists worldwide.

Tells us about some of the recent offerings from Autodesk.

The FY16 Design Suites address the requirements of the industry to push the boundaries on how products are designed and made, how products are manufactured, how buildings are built, and how entertainment is created. The new suites enables collaborative processes in more ways than ever before, with expanded cloud services and flexible ways to license the software. It’s all about supporting a highly adaptive, multi-discipline and dynamic environment by providing the right resources when and where customers need them. The suites address the entire work-flow: from capturing reality and iterating on a design, to physically making that design through 3D printing or other forms of fabrication.

Is the cloud transformation of the company’s business hinged on the R&D from India?

The cloud makes accessible a virtually infinite amount of computing power that is enabling Autodesk customers to do things that were previously not possible, extremely cost-prohibitive or required dedicated hardware and long processing times. Autodesk offers cloud-based services for compute-intensive tasks such as creating renderings or performing simulation and analysis in minutes rather than hours. Cloud-connected work-flows are giving designers and engineers worldwide a significantly better way to work with their colleagues, business partners and customers. These work-flows are made possible through Autodesk 360, a cloud-based platform that helps improve the way users design, visualise, simulate, and share work with others anytime, anywhere. Autodesk 360 was developed out of our Hyderabad R&D centre. Today, Autodesk’s transition to cloud is happening on Autodesk 360.

Autodesk invests $500 million on R&D annually. This makes us the biggest R&D spender among technology companies of similar size. A portion of this spend naturally goes towards our two R&D centers in India—Pune and Hyderabad working on different projects.

The government has announced major plans to adopt technology with its Smart Cities, Digital India and other e-governance initiatives. How could Autodesk partner with the government in this initiative?

We are bullish about the opportunities in India. With a new supportive government we expect the journey to be even more exciting, especially the opportunities in infrastructure, construction and manufacturing.

Over the next few years, India should continue to be among the fastest growing countries in terms of construction output. The Smart City initiative by the Indian government is one of the key examples for that. BIM or Building Information Modelling technology, pioneered by Autodesk, can help in building these smart cities in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

How are you pegged against your key competition in India?

As a world leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment creation software Autodesk software and apps are used by more than 100 million designers, engineers, architects, creative artists, students and hobbyists to unlock their creativity, build better products and solve important challenges impacting the world.

Our biggest advantage in India is our strong position as a provider of holistic design technology that caters to all industry sectors across architecture, construction, infrastructure, manufacturing, media and entertainment.

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