Autodesk 2022: A Future Delivered?

By Robert Burgelman, Raj Joshi
2022 | Case No. SM360 | Length 14 pgs.

Autodesk’s new CEO launched three strategic initiatives that would transform the company into a global leader in software products and services for architecture, engineering, and construction. The company would be a customer-centric organization, with the new technologies and apps its customers demanded.

How would the company meet the challenge of customer expectations—and their fears about shifting to cloud-native solutions? After all, different customer segments were likely to have distinctly different expectations—but delighting customers with next-generation cloud solutions would power their operations, as well as Autodesk’s growth.

At the same time, how would Autodesk balance old and new products, and make the transition seamless? This would involve an internal cultural shift, as engineers generally preferred to write new code, and take on new challenges, vs. leveraging existing code. But shared services—in which teams leveraged common, existing services to save time, ensure quality, and move fast—were critical to development the new platforms. As the Autodesk CEO commented, “Perceptions change lightning fast, but it takes a lot longer for people to change.”

Learning Objective

This case study is designed to help students understand leadership strategic thinking and decision making. How does a company switch focus, from big databases for long-time customers to innovative cloud-based solutions, and seamlessly engineer the next-gen technical solutions to meet customer needs? At the same time, how does a company plan for the internal cultural changes necessary to ensure its big-picture transformation would succeed?
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