Autodesk’s Value-Based Program Comes of Age

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Certifications, Specializations and Customer Satisfaction Added to Global Framework

 By Beth Vanni

Autodesk is a company who has fundamentally gone to market through traditional resellers for 30 years — literally.  Case in point, they have nearly 60 partners coming up next quarter who have been authorized resellers for their leading 3D design and engineering software for 25 years or more. Quite an accomplishment in the fast-paced and highly competitive IT market.  Autodesk has achieved as close to a “franchise” model of channel partner as can be, where many of their partners tout them as their primary software platform and singularly focus on selling to the CAE and engineering markets. And, now this $2b software market leader is standardizing their global program structure to provide the consistent, simplified support and enablement resources these some 1,900 partners need to continue to keep pace with the company’s overall growth and portfolio expansion.

Steve Blum – SVP of Worldwide Sales and Services

This week, Steve Blum, SVP of Worldwide Sales and Services, along with his newly reorganized guard of channel-savvy executives, announced their plans to add more industry specializations and product certifications to their global program structure. The Autodesk Partner Program isn’t new and has previously included technical certifications as a requirement. However, like many high growth software companies, the individual regions took liberties with establishing

their own requirements and benefits to provide local leverage and support to their more loyal and productive partners. Other major enhancement to the programs’ benefits include:

  • extensive training and enablement, including an on-demand, role based industry-focused sales and technical training curriculum
  • new professional services training and specialization program
  • a new program to measure customer satisfaction for their top Platinum partners

Despite its historic dependency on partners for go-to-market coverage of their some 10 million (yes, million) enterprise-to-consumer customers, partners have had limited requirements in the past to achieve benefits in the company’s channel program. A newly clarified customer segmentation model leaves Autodesk focused on only 400 direct enterprise accounts, many of which they expect to cover with a newly enhanced and simplified field co-selling model. On the product front, the company has revived its focus on packaging product suites in an attempt to get partners to sell more effectively across its broad product portfolio.  With suites in 6-8 key solution areas of both creation and design solutions, Autodesk partner executives have high hopes about raising the partners’ average selling price plus forcing partners to expand their skills and certifications across the broad portfolio.

With 14% year over year revenue growth in their fiscal 2011 and double-digit growth in each of its three major regions during one of the most challenging global economies, it’s hard to argue that Autodesk is behind in any dimension of its partnering model. They are clearly catching up to their larger enterprise software counterparts (HP, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft) in the maturity and globalization of their value-based partner program. And, we are very hopeful about the customer value that will be created by some of their new Developer Network programs and Professional Services mentoring plans.  But the degree of loyalty and focus on Autodesk technology by its 1,900 partners is uncanny.  As one of Autodesk’s longest standing and most successful partners, Ideate, stated, “I hate the term “reseller.”  I’m a solution provider and a trusted business advisor for Autodesk, and proud of it.”



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