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Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »
MCADCafe Weekly (9/5/12): Autodesk Acquiring Inforbix for Cloud-Based PLM
September 5th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Autodesk continued its strategic investment in product lifecycle management (PLM) and has announced it has acquired certain assets of Inforbix, LLC. Inforbix is a software company focused on cloud-based SaaS solutions aimed at increasing the value of product data, productivity, and improved decision making for manufacturing-based companies. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. As a part of this acquisition, Autodesk also announced that it appointed Oleg Shilovitsky as Senior Director of PLM and Data Management. Shilovitsky is a co-founder of Inforbix, LLC.
“Oleg Shilovitsky is an established PLM thought leader who brings deep industry experience and a history of innovation to his new role at Autodesk,” said Buzz Kross, senior vice president, Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk. “Since the launch of Autodesk PLM 360 last year, we have introduced thousands of new users to the power of cloud-based PLM. We are thrilled to welcome Oleg and under his leadership look forward to continued innovation and driving greater adoption of Autodesk PLM 360.”
Autodesk plans to incorporate Inforbix technology for indexing, search, personalization and data visualization into Autodesk PLM360, which will help to accelerate the vision for the Autodesk 360 cloud services.
Oleg Shilovitsky co-founded Inforbix in 2010 and served as CEO. He was Inforbix’s strategist, technologist, and ideologist and also an author of the PLM Think Tank and Beyond PLM blogs. Prior to Inforbix, Shilovitsky worked for Smart Solutions, SmarTeam, Enovia and Dassault Systems.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Well, summer’s (almost) over, and we’ve had a relative dearth of news coming out of the MCAD industry the past several weeks, but this acquisition is a big deal for both Autodesk and Inforbix.
Inforbix is a developer of software that lets users access and view product data from multiple sources without any confusing data extraction, import, or conversion required. The software also helps connect product data elements that may or may not be similar in character. Because it has always been cloud-based, Inforbix software is relatively easy to deploy and much less costly than traditional PLM applications – two characteristics also shared and touted by Autodesk’s cloud-based PLM 360.
To expand its PLM product offerings, Autodesk is acquiring “certain assets” of Inforbix. Although terms of the transaction were not disclosed (which is not all that unusual), the deal is not expected to have any impact on Autodesk’s future earnings guidance issued earlier on August 23, 2012 (see The Week’s Top MCAD Stories below). Requests for information regarding the “certain assets” and financial terms of the acquisition are still in the works, and we’ll report back what they are when Autodesk gets back with us.
It’s not too surprising that Autodesk plans to integrate Inforbix software into its PLM 360 (its cloud-based PLM suite launched in early 2012). It’s also not too hard to imagine that the Inforbix acquisition will expand the PLM 360 suite’s indexing, searching, personalizing, configuration, and data visualization capabilities.
The cloud figures large in Autodesk’s future, as it has been expanding its cloud-based product offerings through the focused acquisition of Software-as-a-Service (“SaaS”) providers, such as Inforbix. It’s a step in the right direction for both parties here.
I first met Oleg Shilovitsky just about a year ago and was impressed with his knowledge and insight into the PLM industry in a way that few others could convey. Autodesk made a wise move keeping Oleg on after the acquisition to ensure that its cloud-based PLM initiative continues along a positive growth path.
Earlier this year, Oleg wrote an article on his impressions of PLM 360, and arrived at the following conclusions: “I have a positive impression about PLM 360. It is stable, and I could perform my research experiments as well as some customization and development work. The overall maturity of the system even higher than I would expect from the system developed from scratch– Autodesk PLM 360 is the first PLM product written from scratch for contemporary cloud technology. Autodesk is betting it will be a hit with companies of all sizes. At the same time, I didn’t find special novelty in the data-management paradigm. Also, I didn’t find any confirmation about flexibility and scalability of the system going beyond traditional PLM solutions (in the case systems like ENOVIA, Aras, etc. will be hosted on the cloud). The concepts of integration of PLM 360 are not clear and provide a concern with regards how PLM 360 can be embedded into overall company IT strategy. With all that, I found my user experience quite enjoyable, and I liked how PLM 360 performed tasks. These are just my thoughts…” You might say he talked his way into a job, but I do agree with most of his PLM 360 observations, and I’m sure he’ll occupy himself improving the things he didn’t particularly like.
Outwardly, this seems like a good deal for both parties concerned and should have an impact beyond Autodesk to encompass the bigger PLM arena.
The Week’s Top MCAD Stories
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the news items that were the most viewed during last week.
CIMdata announced the publication of a new paper advising CAD users on the importance of tools that allow them to deal with large product assemblies. Design engineers in all industry verticals report that their products continue to grow in sophistication. The added complexity in product models driven by market demand for enhanced capabilities and customization often results in larger and more complex 3D model assemblies. Design engineers find their current CAD solution can be challenged by the large data structures that must be defined, loaded, and manipulated. When selecting a CAD solution, prospective users must assess their requirements for dealing with large product assemblies and focus their choice on a solution that delivers sufficient performance and interaction. This paper, the third in a series, identifies and discusses a number of functional capabilities for dealing with large product assemblies within CAD solutions that have proven to be of critical use for leading edge users. The first two papers dealt with geometric model change editing and multi-CAD data, respectively. “CAD Selection Considerations: Product Assemblies” is available for download page at http://www.cimdata.com/publications/reports_complimentary/white_papers.html
Autodesk reported financial results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2013:
EMEA revenue was $210 million, a decrease of 1 percent compared to the second quarter last year as reported and an increase of 1 percent on a constant currency basis. Revenue in the Americas was $199 million, an increase of 4 percent compared to the second quarter last year. Revenue in Asia Pacific was a record $161 million, an increase of 12 percent compared to the second quarter last year as reported and 10 percent on a constant currency basis. Revenue from emerging economies was $88 million, flat compared to the second quarter last year as reported and an increase of 2 percent on a constant currency basis. Revenue from emerging economies represented 15 percent of total revenue in the second quarter.
Revenue from the Platform Solutions and Emerging Business segment was $218 million, an increase of 10 percent compared to the second quarter last year. Revenue from the AEC business segment was $161 million, an increase of 2 percent compared to the second quarter last year. Revenue from the Manufacturing business segment was $141 million, an increase of 4 percent compared to the second quarter last year. Revenue from the Media and Entertainment business segment was $49 million, a decrease of 10 percent compared to the second quarter last year.
Deferred revenue at the end of the second quarter was a record high of $752 million, an increase of 17 percent compared to the second quarter last year.
As part of the announcement, Autodesk shared plans for a restructuring related to executing on the company’s strategy including its continuing shift to cloud and mobile computing. While Autodesk is reducing its overall staffing levels in the near-term, the company will continue to invest in key development areas. In addition, the company intends to consolidate certain leased facilities. “This restructuring is squarely focused on our continued transformation and shift to more cloud and mobile computing,” continued Bass. “This action allows us to continue to invest in recruiting and hiring people who can bring Autodesk the skills and experience that are critical for achieving our mid and long-term goals. As part of the ongoing platform shift, it’s clear to us that design and engineering software will move to cloud and mobile platforms. Cloud and mobile has been a major investment area for Autodesk over the past couple of years and this restructuring will accelerate our progress as we intend to further invest in employees with expertise and skill sets essential to this transition. Additionally, this restructuring helps us reduce costs and streamline the organization as a continuation of the activities we began earlier this year. Although the economic environment is challenging, our market opportunity and prospects remain strong and we remain committed to achieving our long-term growth targets by the end of fiscal 2015,” concluded Bass.
Pointwise announced the latest release of its Gridgen software for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) mesh generation. The new release includes several improvements to automated generation of hybrid meshes for viscous flows. “Hybrid mesh generation using anisotropic tetrahedral extrusion (T-Rex) has proven to be an extremely valuable tool for meshing complex geometry with viscous boundary layer and wake resolution,” said Dr. John Steinbrenner, Pointwise’s vice president for research and development. “Through close collaboration with leading customers over the past year, we have improved on the two main characteristics of the technique: complex geometry and prisms in the boundary layer.” Gridgen Version 15.18 increases the recovery of prism cells from the layers of extruded tetrahedra in the boundary layer, offers the option to use a Green-Gauss formulation for computing prism volume that is more forgiving than the default formulation, and includes two improvements to the algorithm’s ability to smoothly extrude more tetrahedral layers from concave regions. Gridgen V15.18 also includes several bug fixes and other minor features. The T-Rex improvements also are included in the flagship Pointwise meshing software.
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