I recently had a long chat with Autodesk’s Amy Bunszel, product marketing manager in
the Manufacturing Solutions Division(MSD), about the company’s plans for Algor.
First of all, all Algor employees will remain in Pittsburgh. Mike Bussler, founder of Algor,
will not be joining Autodesk, although Theresa Anania, "the heart and soul of Algor"
according to Ms. Bunszel, and about 25 developers and other staff will get Autodesk
badges. Algor employees will not be merged with the Moldflow team into one large CAE
group, although the teams are already talking about ways to work together.
Asked how the deal came about, Ms. Bunszel said that Autodesk has been looking for
interesting, additions to its digital simulation portfolio and felt that Algor would be a good
fit: it would be easy to integrate into Autodesk’s operations because the company, people
and processes were similar; the solution set is broad and could be applied and extended
to a number of new areas; the company has "sales acumen" Autodesk lacks (more on that
below); nominal marketing and sales outreach activity means that there are lots of
potential Algor customers out there.
One of the things I have long found fascinating about Algor was its success despite almost
no marketing activity. All sales are done by phone or Internet. Almost all sales are to North
America. What Autodesk appears to have found appealing (besides the potential of
unleashing its marketing and sales machine) are the things that made Algor unique: its
Tuesday morning webinars, its telesales presence and success, its broad portfolio. Ms.
Bunszel said that Autodesk plans to study Algor’s business model and may expand some
activities, like the webinars and customer success stories, to other Autodesk products.
I asked about Algor products like PipePak that are targeted at customers outside MSD’s
purview. It seems that their fate is not decided, but they are likely to be supported for the
foreseeable future as Autodesk sorts out cross-divisional sales policies.
I also asked about Algor’s complex packaging and pricing structure. While everything is
still under review, Ms. Bunszel said that Autodesk may change the bundling but still
adhere to "value pricing" for the Algor product set. In fact, she said, that focus on value
was one of the attributes that attracted them to Algor in the first place.
Autodesk has several opportunities to leverage this acquisition to be more than another
product in Autodesk’s catalog. It could become a significant contributor to MSD revenue as
Autodesk leverages its sales capacity sell Algor to Inventor customers; send those same
sales teams to Algor’s non-Inventor customers to convince them of the benefits of Inventor;
and use that immense reach to find completely new customers. I’ve always thought Algor
an intriguing little company with a good product; let’s see what Autodesk can do with it.