AutoCAD 2015 Blogger day – Pick and mix Suites?


One of the most contentious subjects at this years AutoCAD blogger day was Autodesk’s subscription service.

No one wanted to be critical of Autodesk while enjoying their hospitality, but I could tell that this was a subject that most of the bloggers at the table felt passionately about. In my own personal opinion, that’s because we are often the ones who have to explain Autodesk’s pricing decisions to our bosses – and justify the cost!

Autodesk have carefully priced their current subscription model to make it cost effective to those who can afford to pay the subscription costs up front. For those who don’t have the cash flow the comparable ‘break even’ point is to  upgrade after 3-4 years.

From February1st 2015 this will no longer be possible – forcing people to upgrade their Autodesk software and jump on the subscription bandwagon or drop behind the curve as their software slowly becomes outdated.

Autodesk Desktop Subscription

It was therefore encouraging to hear from Gary Sulentic – Senior Marketing Manager, Small Business –  about the new ‘Desktop subscription’ (Previously called License rental) proposition Autodesk will be offering for AutoCAD 2015 LT.

AutoCAD LT is a great deal for those who need to do some CAD work, but who don’t use AutoCAD for 3D and who don’t use CAD enough to invest in the productivity gains of task automation via the API.

AutoCAD LT now has tool palettes, dynamic blocks and the sheet set manager to name but a few features that make this such a productive 2D drafting tool. At my company we support twice as many seats of AutoCAD LT as we do full AutoCAD.

In the past, purchasing maintenance subscription for AutoCAD LT was hardly worth the cost. Instead it has been more cost effective to purchase an upgrade of LT every three to four years. As a CAD manager, this makes support toward the end of the cycle a building headache as the CAD department on Maintenance subscription move to the latest release, and the users on AutoCAD LT slowly get out of step.

AutoCAD LT desktop subscription

As part of Autodesk’s Desktop subscription initiative companies will be able to purchase AutoCAD LT on a monthly (rental) plan for $360 per year. Autodesk calculate that the break even point is now 7 years. The license is installed locally on your computer, which will ‘ping’ the Autodesk servers every two weeks to make sure that you are in credit.

AutoCAD desktop subscription or Maintainence subscription

Licenses can be purchased on a monthly basis from Autodesk directly, or on a quarterly or yearly basis through your reseller. The license is allways for the latest version of AutoCAD, making it an affordable way of updating to the latest version of AutoCAD LT without paying for a maintenance subscription.

AutoCAD Desktop subs

Another potential advantage could mean that you have some flexibility in the quantity of licenses that you buy. Network licences are not available for AutoCAD LT, however this offer could allow you to scale up or down the number of licenses that you own, at least on a monthly basis.

AutoCAD Desktop subs - THE way to buy

The subject of what we get under subscription in our Suites of Autodesk software was part of this hot topic (No-one wanted Mudbox!). The desktop licensing model could be a method of companies only paying for the CAD products they use, and only for as long as they need them – Pick ‘n’ mix’ing your Autodesk Suites!

While I’m entirely comfortable with the position Autodesk have put us in over maintenance subscriptions, I’m glad to see that they are offering alternatives and adapting their offers customer feedback.

Read on:

An Introduction to AutoCAD 2015

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