4 on a Friday: Autodesk gets into digital dailies, Sandvik announces Q4 results, Reese joins GE Digital, SolidWorks user event goes digital

Jan 21, 2022 | Hot Topics

Autodesk announced that it has acquired Moxion, maker of a “cloud-based platform for digital dailies used by leading filmmakers on some of the world’s most complex and challenging productions … The acquisition of Moxion’s talent and technology will expand Autodesk’s own cloud platform for Media and Entertainment upstream, moving beyond post-production into production, bringing new users to Autodesk while helping better integrate processes across the entire content production chain”. I’m not sure that there are PLMish implications here, but Autodesk usually finds a way to extend technology beyond its immediately apparent uses. Autodesk didn’t disclose the price paid for Moxion but did say that Moxion “will have no material impact on Autodesk’s fourth quarter and fiscal year 2022 guidance presented” in November 2021.

Sandvik reported results for 2021 this week. Since we’re PLMish and not mining or materials, we’ll focus on the manufacturing part of the business in this short note. Sandvik Manufacturing and Machining Solutions reported Q4 revenue of SEK 10 billion, up 12%, and full fiscal 2021 revenue up SEK 37.7 million, up 15%. (That’s around $1.1 billion in Q4; $4.2 million for the year. It’s a BIG business, though we do not know how much of it is pure software.) The company said it saw solid underlying demand overall, “driven by the largest segment, general engineering, which developed positively throughout the year. Aerospace picked up strongly in the second half of the year, albeit from a low comparable, and grew by double-digits in the fourth quarter. Solid recovery in the automotive segment at the beginning of the year was followed by a slowdown in late spring due to hampered demand owing to semi-conductor shortages. This resulted in a year-on-year decline in the fourth quarter although the trend was stable sequentially”. Other tidbits: “All core SMS brands recorded high-single to double-digit organic growth in orders; Order intake for the acquired companies, at fixed exchange rates, grew by 23% year on year; All major regions contributed to year on year order intake growth.” Perhaps most interesting: “Daily order intake developed favorably throughout the quarter and improved versus the third quarter, with the first weeks of January continuing on a positive trajectory.” That’s the first indication we’ve had of the business climate in January, so good news. Let’s see what others say. And one last thing: CEO Stefan Widing told investors that 2021 was an exceptional year; the 14 acquisitions Sandvik announced filled gaps and expanded capabilities and reach. In 2022, he expects, the company will do complimentary M&A but not at the pace of 2021.

I don’t usually write here about people taking on new roles but think this is one you should know about: Scott Reese, long Autodesk’s go-to guy for manufacturing and, more recently, cloud products, is moving on to lead GE Digital in late February. Mr. Reese has been a strong advocate for manufacturing at Autodesk, even when the company seemed to be all-AEC-all-the-time. If you’ve been following the General Electric saga, you’ll know that GE will transform itself into three companies: GE Healthcare will be spun out in early 2023. Then, a new entity created from the combination of GE Renewable Energy, GE Power, and GE Digital will follow in early 2024 — I don’t think it has a name at this point. Then, what remains will be a General Electric that’s focused on aviation. Scott will be joining GE Digital, which was once expected to be the engine that reinvented old-school GE; that didn’t really work out — a hardware company focused too much on gear inherent in an IoT-type of environment and not on the software platform. Mr. Reese and his team built exactly that at Autodesk — a cloud platform and all that this entails.

Finally, in case you haven’t heard: SolidWorks announced this week that 3DExperience World 2022 would be digital-only. It was brave to schedule an in-person event in early February in Atlanta. The change was inevitable given Omicron, with the organizers saying, “After monitoring the data, and reviewing the safety protocols, we do not believe that we can both keep our attendees safe, and provide them with the experience our users and partners expect from the event.”