Fusion Product Innovation Platform

Autodesk just announced (well this week) that PLM 360 and See Control are now part of the Autodesk Product Innovation Platform…. called… wait for it…. drum roll please…. Fusion.

“PLM 360 is now part of the Autodesk product innovation platform, named Fusion. This platform redefines the way products are designed, made and used. Fusion brings together a unique set of cloud-connected design, manufacturing, and IoT tools.”

Fusion Platform

As part of this change, the PLM 360 name is being retired and the service will now go by Fusion Lifecycle. SeeControl will not go by Fusion Connect.

This single cloud platform provides an affordable method of complete product development, but no longer just for design and manufacturing. With PLM 360 and See Control on board it means in addition to the existing CAD, simulation, and CAM, the Fusion ecosystem now includes product lifecycle management and sensor-driven services (Internet of Things – IoT)

It appears at this time there are no enhancements to the integration, the three products are going to continue being sold as separate subscriptions to give customers “flexibility“. The only thing that will change in your existing PLM or See Control tenant is the name.

“The old way of doing product development required multiple disconnected software tools, often costing tens of thousands of dollars apiece. It was cumbersome, slow and expensive. Autodesk is working to fix this with a single cloud platform that is affordable and supports the complete product development process – not just design and manufacturing, but even the post-sale period of product monitoring and innovative sensor-driven services,” said Stephen Hooper, senior director for manufacturing industry strategy, Autodesk.


My Take

Initially, PLM 360 was focused on process management and only “lightly” on design data. This started to change with the introduction of data management type features. It’ll be interesting to see how PLM 360 will integrate with A360, which is the current Fusion 360 backbone.

Having Fusion 360 and SeeControl on one platform makes perfect sense for development. But more importantly, wouldn’t it be great to get real life results back into your model and make adjustments to the design based on the feedback? Sharing one platform makes this a possibility.

For users of Fusion 360 and/or of PLM 360 this is actually a win-win, but only WHEN Autodesk gets the Fusion 360 BOM and other metadata tightly integrated into Fusion Lifecycle. It truly takes collaboration and product management for Fusion 360 users to a new level and provides PLM 360 users a method of generating integrated design data.

Is this a surprise move by Autodesk? No, not really. Autodesk has never published the number of subscriptions sold of PLM 360, so it’s not known how many people are using it. However, if I was to guess, I would think most established CAD users are invested in Vault, Sharepoint, ERP, and other systems of the type. PLM is a tough sell. I can speak from experience in that at my “day” job we tried PLM 360 but stopped using it when we implemented a new ERP system. The combination of Inventor, Vault Pro, and ERP much better serves our needs as an industrial equipment manufacturer.

What I do find a bit surprising is that Configure One was not part of the announcement. The Configure One web-based configuration and its customer relationship management (CRM) tools appear to be a natural integration into this new platform. Thinking about it… design created in Fusion 360, Sales Configurator developed with Configure One, New Product Introduction and other manufacturing processes managed by PLM 360, and ongoing customer relationships managed by the CRM module. Sounds like a winner to me!


Feature Image by Ryan McGuire on GRATISOGRAPHY