Autodesk Buzzsaw adoption

A news release from Autodesk gives some clues about the scale of adoption of its Buzzsaw construction collaboration application.

The release reports “a powerful but steady growth in European sales”, with Autodesk’s Mark Ellis adding: “We had been experiencing an average of two new customers a week for the past nine months, but more recently that has risen even further to four new customers a week”.

Ellis attributes this take-up to the product’s claimed ease-of-use (see also last week’s post: “Entry-level” collaboration):

“The market is experiencing an urgent need for a solution that is fast to install and straightforward for a complete range of disciplines to use. … Buzzsaw sites can be accessed by hundreds of authorized users from an extended project team – from architects and engineers to legal professionals and planners. Consequently, ease of use is always a major consideration.”

Autodesk mentions three recent UK deals (Barking Riverside, Gleeson Building and Bristol City Council). Underlining the claimed ease-of-use, it quotes Gleeson’s IT director Brian Jeffery who thought “some [rival] products available were too complex and would start to dictate how we use our processes” – demonstrating an ignorance of the capabilities of some so-called ‘complex’ systems – like BIW Technologies [my employer] – to offer simplified interfaces and to exactly model a firm’s existing processes.

(It is also perhaps worth adding that Autodesk is not a member of the UK vendors’ association, the NCCTP, and so its customers don’t have the ‘safety net’ of the organisation’s data exchange standard to fall back on if they decide to change to another vendor at some later stage. I met Mark Ellis briefly at the NCCTP conference in November 2005 and was hopeful that Autodesk might have joined the group, but we had no further contact.)

Global take-up

The Autodesk release also says: “Globally, there are currently over 200,000 Buzzsaw sites in use with a total of seven million files being managed at Autodesk’s multiple international data centers” (see also Constant monitoring at HQ).

These vague figures – the first I have seen since late 2005 (see posts herehere and especially here) – need to be put into context.

First, I assume “Buzzsaw sites” equates to users. The 200,000+ figure is a significant advance, ie: 60% growth, from the 125,000 claimed in November 2005 (but, as I wrote 19 months ago, we need to clarify if this figure includes many early free Buzzsaw users and if these are actual, as opposed to potential, users). Regular readers will know that I often bemoan the lack of reliable statistics in this area, but they do at least support the growth figures reported by at least one other vendor. Over the same period (November 2005 to date), BIW’s user community has grown from 51,507 registered users (from 5321 organisations) to 83,541 users (in 8521 organisations) – up 62%.

The figure of “seven million files” actually sounds a bit low to me, bearing in mind the number of Buzzsaw sites/users (as an illustration, BIW is currently hosting just over 5.5 million files), though this may be due to some Buzzsaw customers hosting the application and data themselves rather than in Autodesk’s data centres.

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