Autodesk 360 Nexus

This evening I spent some time speaking to my good friend Rob Cohee about Autodesk 360 Nexus, Autodesk’s new PLM offering. Rob has a new title at Autodesk. He now goes by “Manager, PLM Field Product Managers”, which I guess makes him a manager of managers. 😉

Before I could bring it up, Rob mentioned Carl Bass’ infamous 2007 PLM rant in which he said, “There are only three companies in the world with a PLM problem. Their names are Dassault Systèmes, PTC, and UGS.” Rob explained that at that time Carl had no problem with the idea of PLM. Rather he was ticked off with the way the companies were implementing their solutions. And he still is. This slide elaborates a little more.

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Rob scoffed at people who said earlier that Autodesk would simply take Vault, throw it on to the cloud and call it PLM solution. Autodesk 360 Nexus is a cloud based PLM system that simply uses Vault as its on-premise PDM system.

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As seen in the image above, CAD data never crosses the company’s firewall. And if the people on the outside talking to Nexus on the cloud need access to the CAD data then Autodesk has Buzzsaw.

Autodesk calls Nexus “insanely configurable”. Rob boasted that it took four or five mouse clicks to deploy a new instance of Nexus. I would really like to see that for myself one day. Nexus is multitenant system which which each instance has its own database. This means that Nexus isn’t one giant cloud application with one giant database where each PLM instance is an account.

Nexus comes with pre-installed apps, a total of 147 of them. Apps in this case, can be simple workspaces (data entry forms) or complex workflows, processes, etc. For example, an item master is an app. Autodesk actually intends to take the AppStore approach to PLM, in which people can create their own Nexus apps and put them up on the AppStore for others to use.

Rob gave me a brief demo of Nexus. I hope to take a closer look at it on at the start of 2012 when Autodesk plans on giving me access to an instance. Here is a screenshot of the demo Nexus instance that Rob was using.

I asked Rob how long it took Autodesk to come up with Nexus. His answer was, “It has been in development for the past two years”.

Further reading: The Autodesk Cloud Strategy