NEWS ANALYSIS – Autodesk Acquisition of NavisWorks – May 31, 2007
In the news yesterday was an item of particular interest from several points of view for the Building Information Modeling (BIM) world. Autodesk, the design software giant, purchased the very popular NavisWorks for a reported $25M. Autodesk is capturing an ever increasing segment of the CAD market and now the strengthening its position in the world of BIM software.
NavisWorks has been used as a neutral file-based conflict checker, supporting the most AEC CAD systems. It is also used for translation between such systems, an important benefit as designers need to work with many players in the integrated practice environment.
This acquisition is not without its potential impact on the user community. Autodesk typically buys companies for their technology, not their installed base, taking that technology and incorporating it into its current product line. (Revit is one notable exception to this.)
So, what will Autodesk do with the interoperability functions of NavisWorks?
Will they kill that piece of it? I doubt it. It is much more likely that they will they leverage NavisWorks’ interoperability functions to provide a greater value to their customer base.
The fact is, we don’t know. And it is that uncertainty that points out those companies must expect such transitions as a constant. We must have a strong business process in place to be able to allow the substitution of software products over time. This is a good illustration of the fact that the real cost of implementing capabilities such as BIM is not the software investment, but is in business process development.
This acquisition has the potential to either be a significant blow to the open system standards market (for which I have a strong bias) or a strong affirmation of Autodesk’s support for open standards.
Joy’s Law, paraphrased as “innovation will happen, it just won’t happen here,” points out that we should expect innovation to be the stronghold of small companies. We need to be able to take advantage of using products from such small companies without the fear that such innovations will be squashed by the big players. Autodesk has an opportunity here to show the user community where it stands on BIM, on interoperability, and on open standards.
So the bottom line is that we shall have to wait and see just how this acquisition will affect the market. Whether we have lost a very versatile tool or gained an even more versatile and valuable one…stay tuned.
1 comment(s) so far...
By Joes on
Re: AutoDesk aquires NavisWorks
I think Autodesk get this company cheap. Wonder how AutoDesk can keep this program ability to open numerous CAD file (DGN of Bentley etc) and at the same time not allowing other CAD program open its DWG file format.
It might be a poor deal for NavisWorks current client.