Ron Miller wrote a stimulating TechCrunch piece the other day citing how Autodesk and Adobe have made positive moves to the cloud. The Adobe move was referenced regarding its shift to a subscription model nearly three years ago. Autodesk was called out for its current move away from licensing to subscriptions – albeit while facing the challenges more established companies face when making a ‘pivot’. According to Miller’s column, “…Autodesk is combining its desktop applications with services in the cloud supporting those main pieces.”

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A telling quote in Miller’s piece comes from Autodesk VP of cloud products Scott Reese. Right from the TechCrunch article, “We don’t see a time where [our] desktop applications go away. Much more what we see is that they become cloud connected, cloud aware and cloud-centric,” Reese told TechCrunch.

The question lots of people have is whether Autodesk is reinventing the wheel, following Adobe’s lead and duplicating their model, or just tweaking their existing product in an effort to appear cutting edge. You recall that we’re years past when Adobe went with their Creative Cloud launch. In some circles, people are saying Autodesk is slightly late to the game.

On the face of it, that’s the right way to do things. Adding functionality via the cloud allows customers and ISPs to gain understanding of their transactions like never before. Billing is simplified and visibility is increased when data is provided in real time and each customer’s account can be updated on the fly via the cloud.

Autodesk ForgeOne slight difference in Autodesk’s change when compared to Adobe’s move is the creation of a cloud development platform. The Forge platform allows customers to build their own apps on top of Autodesk. It’s not just delivery of updates, bug fixes and new applications right from the company as in Adobe’s model.

The biggest question is whether it will work and if it’s smart for Autodesk to go it alone instead of leveraging cloud-commerce experts to fill in the gap between their traditional way of business and the future. For now, the company sees a great value in being able to provide updates as they happen and new releases as they come to market.

Time will show whether Autodesk’s approach is the right one for them. From our experience, any move to the cloud that adds functionality and power to the user experience is a good one. It makes software ultimately more valuable and streamlines a number of business processes.

What other companies have you seen making the move to cloud-commerce style business? How have they made the transition seamless for their end users and for everyone in the delivery pipeline? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or tweet us @Orbitera.