Friday, June 8, 2012

Autodesk’s Acquisition of Vela Systems Means Nothing


Autodesk announced today that they have acquired Vela Systems.  (See the press release here.) Vela Systems provides field management software for construction.  They have partnered with Autodesk for some time now and, like many other software providers, they are now a part of the Autodesk family (see the history of Revit.)  This acquisition is a great one for Autodesk.  Vela’s software is a fantastic fit with what Autodesk has been trying to do this past year.  Autodesk has created Autodesk 360, a cloud sharing and setting syncing service, Autodesk PLM 360, http://www.autodeskplm360.com , a cloud based Project Lifecycle Management system, and their integration of these services in their 2013 product release.  Vela is all about BIM (Building Information Modeling) and can be applied, or made to be applicable, to most any construction project.


None of this is important nor will any of it matter though unless Autodesk gets the word out.  These services are so new that many VARS that I have spoken with aren’t aware or are uninterested in pushing these new products and services.  Many are still pushing Buzzsaw.

Autodesk already has a great product set and services available.  This acquisition of Vela Systems only makes those services better.   But who cares?  Change is hard and your “regular” AEC firms don’t want to change.  They know that this technology could help but many are still reeling from a down economy.  Many cut staff and equipment down to the bare bones and even fewer have the resources available to change the way they do their business.  Add in to that past failed attempts to implement BIM, or Civil3D.  (Not because the software or the processes they use are flawed, but because of the flawed implementation process used.)  It’s easy to blame Autodesk and the software.  If Autodesk let them down before they sure aren’t going to try yet another “solution to end all solutions.”  Especially when they don’t have the resources to take a risk.

I’m all over this purchase and the direction that Autodesk is going.  I’m all for it and I hope that every AEC related firm grabs ahold of the cloud and BIM and runs with it.  Right now I just don’t see it happening.  I remember the change from board drafting to CAD (yes I’m that old.)  I started in this business at the tail end of the change.  Drafters were either board drafters or CAD drafters where I was.  Now we are called CAD Techs (or worse!) or just Techs.  The same change that eventually happened there will have to happen again (or at least something similar.)  BIM Techs are needed.  Cloud Techs are needed.  Construction Techs are needed.  These “new” tech related processes, services, and equipment will not be adopted in the mainstream AEC filed until the fear of tech is gone.

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