On 12 September 2022, Association of Consulting Architects in Norway, in collaboration with sister organizations from Denmark, Finland and Iceland, sent an open letter to Andrew Anagnost, President and Chief Executive Officer of Autodesk.
The Architects’ Council of Europe fully endorsed the Nordic Open letter to Autodesk: “Digitalisation topics are major concerns that are shared across the industry, by both large companies and SMEs. Even the largest companies are too small to be able to significantly resist software vendors and their terms. That’s why we believe customer actions like this are necessary and important. We encourage our Members' Organisations to sign the letter”.
Commitment pays off
The very day after the letter was sent to Andrew Anagnost, a reply and an introductory meeting was held with Nicolas Mangon, Vice President AEC Strategy and Amy Bunszel, Executive Vice President, Architecture, Engineering and Construction Design Solutions the following week. At the big Autodesk conference, Autodesk University, which took place on 27&28 September in New Orleans, presented Autodesk's latest news which, among other things, is the brand-new cloud-based workspace Forma, which Anagnost refers to as the next generation of BIM tools.
On 27 October, representatives of the organisations behind the Nordic Letter had a physical meeting together with CEO Andrew Anagnost, Amy Bunszel, Rob Maguire, Vice President, AutoCAD at Autodesk and Dan Lohmeyer, Vice President, Product Development at Autodesk. In this meeting, they discussed both the long-term development of the new platform Forma and short-term goals for Autodesk, Revit and other tools. They expressed their concerns about ownership of data in cloud solutions and presented their needs and wishes regarding future work tools for architects and landscape architects. As already mentioned in the letter, they proposed a meeting series of workshops where Autodesk's developers can meet architects to discuss and find solutions to concrete challenges and prioritize the most important tasks.
On 4 November, Autodesk sent a note, acknowledging the letter’s main points: “We agree that these are important areas, and they are reasonably well aligned with our development priorities. We are committed to continued investment in existing products (Revit, Civil 3D, etc.) while in parallel developing Forma, our AEC industry cloud. We will be transitioning from today’s file-based approach to the AEC cloud information model where granular data can be accessed across current and future applications. We believe Forma is a better approach to achieving the desired outcomes than rebuilding the individual products. Over time Forma will enable better collaboration across the value-chain and accelerate BIM-based project delivery.” Follow up To follow up on the letter, Autodesk would like to continue the direct engagement. The Nordic associations are encouraged to come up with a prioritized list of Revit issues identified as “quick fixes”. Basically, the focus will be to improve and fix existing functionality rather than introduce new. This list will work as a foundation for workshops to come. Autodesk has proposed an executive sponsor for this process, working closely with the development team.
In addition, the Nordic associations have been invited to take part in the initial development sessions for the next generation of Autodesk software “Forma”. Picture of the Nordic associations meeting with Autodesk in Oslo.
Table left side: Andrew Anagnost (President and Chief Executive Officer at Autodesk), Neil Van Est (Arkitektbedriftene i Norge), Christian Hoffmeier (Arkitektbedriftene i Norge), Anette Bakker (Arkitektbedriftene i Norge) Table right side : Rob Maguire (Vice President, AutoCAD at Autodesk at Autodesk) , Amy Bunzel (Autodesk, Executive Vice President), Jens Majdal (Danish Association of Architectural Firms), Morten Ræder (Arkitektbedriftene i Norge) Online Top Dan Lohmeyer (Vice President, Product Development at Autodesk), Online bottom Peter Hyttel ((Danish Association of Architectural Firms)