Letter from the President - March 2016


This time of year for Autodesk customers has always felt to me like my birthday, at least for the last 10 years or so. Why is that? Because we are nearing the release of the next major version of the applications we use in our professional careers. Soon we will be “unwrapping” the release and seeing what new features we can use. We will poke and prod at the new stuf. We will check to see if our favorite irritating bugs have been squashed. We will also begin our wishes for the next release.

But there is something diferent this year.

Autodesk has not kept it a secret that they are moving away from the major release cycle and instead moving toward more frequent minor (slipstream) releases. Let’s face it. In a world of quick updates on your favorite smartphone, the idea that major applications on PCs require slow and steady development is going the way of the dinosaur.

This has huge implications for the company you work for or the business you are running. Tose of you who work in a small frm may have the ability to install updates without oversight. However, many frms, no matter how small or large, don’t really want their employees installing the latest and greatest on an ad hoc basis. Someone at the company wants control of the process. 

Is that sort of thinking prehistoric? My guess is that many of the younger folks would answer “yes,” to that question. We are becoming accustomed to updating apps on our phones without a second thought. In fact, recent versions of smartphone operating systems allow you to automatically update applications without intervention.

Tose of us with more experience may answer that question more cautiously. Some of us have had to live through PC application updates that caused signifcant issues for our production environment. Frankly, there is a wide gulf between one of your phone apps suddenly crashing and an update to Revit suddenly disabling all of your add-ins (both of these happened to me in recent memory).

But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if your IT department members think that they need to control the deployment of updates on a rigorous schedule or follow the approach of only upgrading every 2-3 years, that IT department needs to fnd another industry for which to provide services (perhaps government work?).

Most of us work in a production environment. We don’t need our productivity to be hampered by working with older versions of our applications. We don’t need our collaboration to be held hostage to the least common version denominator. Look at the signifcant performance enhancements in Revit 2015 and 2016 as an example. If your company is still forcing you to use Revit 2014 or older on current projects it is shooting itself in the proverbial productivity foot. While not all updates will be so signifcant, the writing is on the wall for traditionally slow IT deployments. What will take its place?

Now is the time to be asking that question to the folks in your company who deploy applications. Are you ready for the application birthday to happen every other month?

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