Today Autodesk finally launched its much-touted PLM product, Autodesk PLM 360. I tried to live-tweet (follow me at @monica_schnitge) the event but here’s a quick recap of the high points:

  • Autodesk PLM 360 is available today, at www.autodeskplm360.com.
  • Autodesk PLM 360 will be free for the first three users and cost $75 per user per month on an annual contract basis beyond three. Users needing limited access and capabilities will pay $25 per user per month. (I don’t believe “limited” was defined during the launch, but more info should be in the pricing section of the website.)
  • Buzz Kross, VP, Manufacturing, said that the “first three free” pricing is intended to let customers try it out, and so that administrator roles aren’t paying at the same rate as users.
  • The company says Autodesk PLM 360 is “insanely configurable”. It may be or it may not be, but it does come with 140 apps for everything from program and project management to bills of materials and quality Processes. Users will be able to tailor these templates to suit their needs. Tailored apps will belong to the user, not Autodesk, although Mr. Kross does see the development of a market where one could buy an app from a supplier that is not Autodesk.
  • Steve Bodnar, VP of Data Management and PLM products, said that Autodesk PLM 360 had been in development for 3 years and has been vetted by 30 Beta program participants.
  • Apparently, none of the Beta participants “took more than 3 days to get up to speed with Autodesk PLM 360”, said Mr Kross.
  • Autodesk is initially working with its Beta and early adopters from within HQ, but Autodesk PLM 360 will be rolled out through the channel by year-end. This is typical of how Autodesk launches, keeping the product close until it understands how to sell and support; once it has shaken out the early problems, the product moves through ever-wider groups of resellers.

Of course, a launch is just that: putting something out in the market to see if it floats. There is huge interest in how Autodesk plans to support a complicated business product with a reseller channel, whether it plans to go broad rather than deep, whether this pricing is right …. But until we hear from the Beta customers and early adopters, we won’t really have a balanced perspective. I’m planning on watching it snow as I dig around on the PLM 360 website, looking at all that’s there.