Sunday, January 6, 2008

A word about Subscription

A word about Subscription – Although it is optional, essentially, if you are interested in keeping the cost of ownership to a minimum, it is advisable to consider the Subscription program, as opposed to the traditional upgrade methodology. Buying upgrades the traditional method either yearly or every few years will cost on average 25% more in some cases. Subscription is an annual fee which includes every new release automatically shipped to you at no additional cost directly from Autodesk. Compared to the annual upgrade costs, Subscription can save you anywhere from 15 to 45% (again in some cases), equating to a much lower cost of ownership. Subscription provides other perks for the entire year like unlimited technical web support from Autodesk, membership-only privileges and community resources such as webcasts, e-Learning, weblogs, prior version usage, home-use, additional software extensions, and access to beta programs just to name a few.

Please note that some products such as all Revit and AutoCAD MEP are Subscription-based products meaning that if you are not on active Subscription, there is no upgrade price offering to get current. Don't worry though, you can still get current at a "discounted" price over new license pricing as long as you are within 3 years of the current version. All you need to do is pay the missed years of Subscription. In other words, you either pay for Subscription now or pay later. But like always with Autodesk, the later is always more expensive - there is an additional 'late' fee attached to the later.

In summary, the Subscription program simplifies your license management, improves your budgeting, reduces your software upgrade costs, reduces your users’ learning curve, maintains or increases your users’ productivity, and always ensures you are using the latest technology.

Ready to Retire and Leave Your Legacy? Well Version 2005 Is.

I think it is best to take this opportunity to explain Autodesk’s methodology regarding their software support, lifecycle, and marketing. Autodesk maintains full support on up to four versions of their software at any given time. With 2008 as the current version, they continue to provide support for 2007, 2006, and 2005 users. This year around March or April, they will release a new version: 2009. In March 2008 they will retire all 2005 products, consistent with how they have always done things. As a courtesy to 2005, 2006, and 2007 users, they provide a discount price for upgrading to the latest version, in hopes that people will stay within this 4-year window of active products. That being said, customers do not have to upgrade if they prefer not to. Their products do not terminate, nor will they lose ownership of these licenses. Yes, it is true that if you wait more than 4 years you are buying new licenses if you wish to get current again. However, Autodesk still offer a 30% discount off of the “new” price under their Legacy Program on those "replacement" licenses provide that Subscription is purchased for the first year (in other words, Subscription is mandatory to get the 30% discount) that were never upgraded in the 4-year window. Hence you are still getting a break on the cost, even after all that time.

So when is the best time to buy if you are not current and are on the pending retirement version (2005)? Well, Autodesk has traditionally offered a Retirement Promotion every year which has always followed this structure:

Phase 1 – May to July (approximately)
20% discount off the regular upgrade price when purchasing upgrades with annual Subscription or 15% discount if purchased without Subscription.

Phase 2 – August to October (approximately)
15% discount off the regular upgrade price when purchasing upgrades with annual Subscription or 10% discount if purchased without Subscription.

Phase 3 – November to January (approximately)
10% discount off the regular upgrade price when purchasing upgrades with annual Subscription or 0% discount if purchased without Subscription(ie. Regular upgrade pricing).

From time to time, they will offer additional mail-in rebates promotions or special offers, but these really can’t be relied on; therefore, it would not be most advantageous to bank on these in any purchasing strategy.

Currently, at this time in the year (January), if you have 2005 products and you have not upgraded them yet this year, you are only left with Phase 3 of the 2005 Retirement Promotion to capitalize on. Really you should strongly consider upgrading them NOW before the January 15 deadline for the current 2005 Retirement Promotion, Phase 3. Please note that if you don’t upgrade your 2005 versions before March 15, 2008 they will fall into the Legacy Program as explained above (more costly to upgrade to current at that point than in the Retirement year)

If you have 2006 product, well you can upgrade today using a 2-step upgrade price or wait until the Phase 1 of 2006 Retirement Promotion this coming May. Which is better? General rule of thumb when dealing with Autodesk – the sooner you upgrade the better the deal is to do so. In a future post I will show an example of this price comparison.

Some years Autodesk offers a Legacy Promotion which follows a similar structure to the Retirement Promotion offering 45% with Subscription and 40% without Subscription in Phase 1, 40% and 35% in Phase 2, and lastly 35% and 30% (which is equal to the regular pricing but with no mandatory Subscription policy) for Phase 3. Again, please note that I stated SOME years they offer the Legacy Promotions; so be caution if planning around this one because it may not be there to capitalize on.

SO, ARE YOU CONFUSED with all this? Pretty crazy to keep tabs on all these promotions and dates etc. when you are not concerned with it on a daily basis. Let’s face it, you're busy designing for a living not trying to keep tabs on Autodesk’s promotions. Want to know how to deal with this the most effective way? Check out my next blog post…. A word about Subscription.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Welcome and the purpose of this blog

Well, for those of you that don't know me from anyone else in the world, I am a business consultant for an authorized Autodesk reseller in Canada. I specifically deal with the AEC industry helping firms with everything from AutoCAD LT right up to multi-disciplinary environments using Building Information Modeling (BIM) or in Autodesk terms: REVIT!

My background stems back some 16 years within both the Graphic Arts and AEC industries. I am an Architectural Technologist by trade and have worked in the trenches of an architectural firm pumping out working drawings to running a computerized facilities management department within an institutional setting. I started with AutoCAD back in the mid to late 80's on Release 8 (which was actually refer to as version 2.6) using a pen plotter and a digitizing tablet (computers didn't come with a mouse back then). I learned AutoLISP and actually ended up teaching AutoCAD courses at a local community college.

Now I consult with my clients on how to use these wonderful Autodesk products to their fullest potential. I not only help implement these tools, but I also educate my clients on the best practices on dealing with Autodesk. Let's face it, they are a huge organization and are sometimes very daunting to deal with. But once you know the way they think and breath, it is much easier to plan your investments in their technologies to your benefit - that's were I come in. As a reseller, I deal with them everyday and have come to know what is possible and what is not, when it is most advantageous to buy in the year, how to minimize your costs annual, and lastly but most importantly, how to maximize your investment.

The purpose of this blog is not only to provide you with help using your Autodesk products, but to all educate you on how to take advantage of Autodesk’s annual marketing processes, promotions, rebates, and offerings. I plan to keep this blog up to date as these announcements are made through the year.

Please join for an interesting and hopefully exciting journey through the world’s foremost authority on design software – the world of Autodesk.