Autodesk relaunches as specialist in e-business

Autodesk is one of the latest CAD/CAM companies to redefine itself as an e-business systems supplier. It has launched a new corporate identity, to become an internet portal design tool and software developer for the extended enterprise.

Carol Bartz, Autodesk chairman and chief executive officer claimed: `Autodesk is transforming the design process by bringing it to the internet, while at the same time changing our business model to improve and accelerate collaboration along the supply chain.’

Autodesk’s e-business initiative focuses on building collaboration between virtual teams over the internet. It aims to bring designers and engineers closer with suppliers and manufacturers, to improve product development and reduce time to market.

Autodesk has pioneered a way to make web pages `more intelligent’ through a technology called I-drop. This is a drag and drop system which allows designers to pull content such as components from websites of manufacturers and place them within their designs.

It has also built software, code-named Maui, to send design information to workers in the field, using mobile technology. It will distribute design information to hand-held computing devices. The company is working with Oracle and Palm Computing to build business applications for mobile computing.

Autodesk is also creating internet-based industry portals (e-marketplaces), following success with construction market portal Buzzsaw.com. Portal creation services will include project planning and hosting capabilities, online collaborative tools, specification and purchasing tools, industry news and information resources.

It also has an e-commerce tool, e-Store, which is being used with AutoCAD 2000 packages.

The company has joined with Alta Vista to pilot an application service provider operation which allows customers to test software for a limited period.

The new Release 2 of Autodesk Inventor has 200 enhancements and web-based tools for collaboration between designers and the rest of the supply chain, using a function called NetMeeting.

Inventor 2 allows design information to be exchanged with groups throughout the supply chain, such as purchasing, manufacturing and sales.

Customers can view data such as manufacturing costs, parts lists and purchase orders and design tracking numbers via the web, without having Inventor software installed.

* www.autodesk.com

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