Autodesk restructure prompts channel changes

change same old sign

Software vendor Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) has released details of a major restructuring of its channel organisation set for next year.

The overhaul is in line with the vendor’s recently-announced plans to switch its business from perpetual licensing to a recurring revenue model over the next four years.

The firm is to introduce a new channel programme in Europe at the end this month which will run concurrently with Autodesk’s existing partner programme until February 1, 2014. After that date the new programme will replace it completely.

Autodesk’s VP of worldwide sales, Bill Griffin, describes the changes as being “good for our customers and our partners.”

The new model will see the vendor targeting much smaller firms than it has traditionally served, with the launch of cloud services, plus a range of “lower-end” products: “We’re trying to expand market for our partners and for customers who are not able to afford £5000, but can pay £200 or even £25 a month,” Griffin tells Channel Pro.

“Our customers wanted more choices and flexibility in how they access our portfolio of design, engineering and entertainment creation tools. We expect rental plans to be attractive across all the industries we serve, especially for freelancers, startups or businesses that are project-based in nature,” said Andrew Anagnost, senior VP of industry strategy and marketing at Autodesk’s annual Investor Day in October.

Talking about the company’s move to the cloud, Griffin maintains: “It’s smart of Autodesk to make it an evolution, not a revolution over the next four years. Partners already sell service and maintenance contracts…so they’ve gone through transition once; they’re halfway there.”

He adds: “We don’t expect customers to make a mass move to the cloud…Unlike Adobe, we’re not forcing customers to make this choice. We will drive the evolution over time.”


One of the biggest changes to the new programme will be its focus on specialisation, with partners being rewarded for their investment in specific disciplines, rather than on the size of their business.

This, says Griffin, is the “last piece” of a journey towards segmentation the firm began two years ago.

The exec says the vendor is keen to move partners away from being “an Autodesk general store,” explaining “We’re creating more markets to play in; partners have to choose where they’re going to play.”

Autodesk sells into four main markets: Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC), Engineering, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure (ENI), manufacturing and media and entertainment.

The vendor is now working on breaking those segments down into sub-segments where partners can gain accreditation. For example, within manufacturing, they could specialise in data management or simulation – and in return they could receive double the discount of a non-specialised partner.

Autodesk also says it plans to simplify how it does business with the channel. This will include merging its three back-end systems into just one in FY15.

“This simplicity just makes more transparent and easier for partners to determine how much money they make,” explains Griffin.

The $2.2bn company has 2500 partners worldwide, which account for 85 percent of its business.

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.