Motivation Monday #010 | Revit – THE Open Letter to Autodesk

Welcome to Motivation Monday #010 from Not Just CAD!

It is a serious one this week, but before I start, I MUST apologise for being off the radar for some time. I have had some personal matters to deal with and I needed to take the necessary time to heal, reflect and move forward. Those of you who know me well enough already know why, and I will not go into detail. My personal matters stay exactly that. Personal.

So, onwards….

If you follow the CAD press, you will have seen the open letter to Autodesk regarding Revit. Numerous CAD publications have voiced this letter on behalf of the signatories, and it has certainly raised a few eyebrows, especially at Autodesk.

Amy Bunszel (Senior VP of Design and Creation Products) has also sent Autodesk’s response.

The response from Amy Bunszel on behalf of Autodesk:  https://adsknews.autodesk.com/views/reply-to-open-letter-on-revit

I have held back any comments so far, to digest all I can on the current situation. As usual, there are the Autodesk detractors and ex-employees with an axe to grind. I tend to ignore them and look at the bigger picture. Sure, please bleat all you want about how Autodesk do not listen and are just after your money. Well, aren’t all software providers? I have lost count of how many introductions I have had at places like Autodesk University (AU) from numerous software companies, learning providers and they all want your business. It is how the sales cycle works. But think about this for a moment. If it were not for events such as AU, how would these companies leverage their wares to sell? Yes, there are MANY other events I hear you say, but AU is the one to sell your wares at. And who picks up much of the tab for AU. Well, yes, that’s Autodesk. Obviously, you will not find an Autodesk competitor selling their concept at AU, but those competitors still sell, even if it is not at AU. They still want your money and your custom. It has been like that since traders bartered furs for food.

What about those competitors to Autodesk out there though? Yep, I bet they are all wringing their hands with glee, seeing that Autodesk are being made to feel uncomfortable. Well, here is my take on this situation. Autodesk WANT to feel uncomfortable. It is what they thrive on. They want to be the BEST at what they do and provide world-class solutions as they do so. I have sat in a room with the likes of Andrew Anagnost and Amy Bunszel, and they relish a challenge. More importantly, they love a dialogue with the end user. How else do they get feedback? I have sat in many an Expert Elite (EE) summit where we grill the likes of Andrew Anagnost, as well as the incumbent CTO and the relevant development teams, and we are the users who make a living from our expertise in using the software. We want those end users happy so that we can make our living helping them to do exactly that. Use the software.

Personally, I can see this open letter as only as a positive step towards making Revit better. The open Revit Roadmap (LINK: https://blogs.autodesk.com/revit/category/roadmap/) is a great way to see exactly how Revit is progressing. For example, generative design in Revit 2021.

Check out how Revit can be used to develop interiors to be COVID compliant here: https://youtu.be/AxLuaFBpGH0.

These are the kind of new features that let you know that Autodesk ARE thinking about where they are going with Revit.

When you sign up to Revit, it is an investment. One commentator likened it to a ‘marriage’, with the associated ups and downs, and having used AutoCAD since 1988 and Revit since 2002, I can safely say there have been bumps along the way and Autodesk are by no means perfect. But I can say this. You write a letter like this and they WILL listen.

As an Autodesk software user (AutoCAD and Revit), trainer, instructor, subject matter expert and guru (allegedly), I feel for both sides. I do, however, want to take an impartial view, as I have a position on both sides of the fence in this case. I was a CAD manager once, and sometimes you do feel left alone by Autodesk at a managerial level and often, at an operational level too. However, Autodesk have seriously improved their lines of communication over the years. I am sure us seasoned Autodesk users/managers remember AutoCAD 2013? That was a really tough time for Autodesk, but they saw it through, and now (in my humble opinion) we have an AutoCAD that I love to use in all it’s forms; desktop, web and mobile. I love showing users how versatile AutoCAD is now, what with its specialized toolsets (Architecture, Mechanical and Electrical etc), and the ways that you can now use AutoCAD with mobile technology too, on a tablet, or on a smartphone.

Our current worldwide circumstances have changed. Dramatically. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has made sure of that. Autodesk have stepped up during this pandemic, allowing use of their cloud-based apps for free during this time, allowing organizations to work remotely – https://www.autodesk.co.uk/covid-19/resource-center).

Especially now, with this pandemic, we need to look closely at how we work and how we collaborate, but much more importantly, we need to look at the whole paradigm of how we perform TO collaborate. That paradigm wasn’t working as it should, therefore, the open letter went to Autodesk. The companies involved are reaching out to say, very clearly, that they are NOT happy with the level of service received, for the amount of monies they are paying, and as a customer, they have EVERY right to expect the appropriate service levels. In fact, I applaud them for putting their heads above the parapet, and clearly stating why they are unhappy. No-one should knock them for that, nor should it EVER affect their relationship with Autodesk either. Autodesk (I hope) will see this as a direct opportunity to ask what it is they need to do to resolve the situation, and work with those customers to make Revit even better, like they did, all those years ago, with AutoCAD.

You may think I am biased, but I would disagree. I have used many CAD platforms in my time; Microstation, Intergraph, IntelliCAD, DraftSight and many more, and none have the incredible development cycle provided by Autodesk. That development cycle is often user-driven by the likes of the user communities and beta testers (of which I am one). I am also a member of the Expert Elite program and I am honoured to be a part of such a great program that embraces seasoned users in that way but, more importantly, values us and our opinions about Autodesk software.

Autodesk will always listen, and I sincerely hope they are listening now, because this is a perfect opportunity for Autodesk to drive software development forward to make sure that all of the signatories of that open letter can utilize Revit to their best advantage.

When providing consultancy to all my clients, I often use a well-known phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Whilst Revit has been around for some time, it takes time for any software development to come to fruition. Look at AutoCAD. It’s been around for over three decades and it is still one of the most used CAD tools on the planet, but only now do I see it as mature and (nearly) fully fit for purpose, and even then, I’m sure more development could be done.

I, for one, will not be stopping my AutoCAD and Revit usage. They are my bread and butter and the work I do requires them to be the products they are, so that I can consult and teach around them, helping users work smarter, faster, and more efficiently.

Let’s give Autodesk the opportunity to formulate a response, not just in writing, but also to respond and work with those signatories of the open letter to not only address all of their issues, but make good on what they are going to do to Revit, to make it that product that will always be their go-to BIM tool of choice.

I look forward to that day, and in the meantime, I celebrate what fantastic products AutoCAD and Revit have become, as I have seen them develop over the decades (and yes, I am THAT old!).

It is Monday. Stay safe. Be motivated. 😉

SCB.

By the way, if you do want to learn more about Revit, please be aware that CADFM are an Autodesk Authorized Training Center (ATC), and we are happy to provide you with a virtual classroom via Microsoft Teams if you need it.

Just email us at training@cadfmconsult.co.uk and we will make sure to get back to you to discuss any training/learning requirements you may have.

PS – You can also discover the skills you need to become a Revit Certified Professional in my LinkedIn Learning course here. Check it out and other Revit titles in the library!

PPS – Check out how to optimize your BIM workflow in Revit too, by taking my course in the LinkedIn Learning library here!

(DISCLOSURE: Certain links in this blog are affiliate links that earn me a small commission).

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