Autodesk: Enabling new revenue streams with the Apigee API Platform

About Autodesk

Autodesk is a leading producer of design software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment industries.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

Autodesk chose the Apigee API platform to build a cloud-based ecosystem for sharing engineering data from its applications with customers and partners.

Google Cloud Results

  • Reliability and scalability supports unpredictable growth
  • Fully managed service that is Interoperable with Autodesk’s systems
  • Extends access to Design Data to facilitate design review and collaboration

More than 33B API calls through the Apigee platform in 2017

Autodesk makes software for people who build things. Founded in 1982, the company is synonymous with industry-leading 3D design software for desktops, and it has used APIs for decades. But, as the world moved to mobile devices and the cloud, the need to transform from desktop technology to cloud offerings took center stage.

That’s why Autodesk committed itself to digital reinvention, not only moving its award-winning software to the cloud, but also investing in APIs to enable new, data-driven revenue streams. Creating an ecosystem became a key part of achieving this goal.

“To really be successful, we need to build an ecosystem. We really need partners, data sharing, and integrations to do this—and that’s where APIs come in.”

Shawn Gilmour, Director of PaaS Strategy, Autodesk

“We are trying to drive a movement to the cloud in the industries we serve,” says Shawn Gilmour, Autodesk’s Director of PaaS strategy. “To really be successful, we need to build an ecosystem. We really need partners, data sharing, and integrations to do this—and that’s where APIs come in.”

Internally, leveraging modern APIs and the Apigee API Platform enabled Autodesk to empower its development teams to easily and more securely leverage the company’s long-term software applications and resources for new applications, and create customized and connected workflows.

To further transform its business and digital transformation, Autodesk launched the Autodesk Forge cloud platform, a developer platform that offers Autodesk cloud technology via APIs, cloud services, and developer resources. The platform also connects the large community of developers, engineers, and designers who are transforming the industries they support—in design, media and entertainment, engineering, construction, and manufacturing.

The Apigee platform helps secure access to Autodesk’s internal and external APIs and allows the company to establish and govern the policies to access those APIs. It provides the capabilities Autodesk needs in a fully managed service that’s interoperable with Autodesk systems.

A new kind of customer

Autodesk’s digital strategy is “really about connecting our data that’s coming out of applications with the downstream consumers,” says Gilmour.

These users include people who might consume, review, model, or visualize design information but aren’t actual users of Autodesk’s full applications. The company’s API platform, built on Apigee API Platform, creates the opportunity to integrate these tangential users into the company’s ecosystem.

The platform enables both internal and external development teams to more securely and easily leverage Autodesk resources for new applications. Some of these apps enrich the experience for existing users, while others extend Autodesk’s services into untapped markets beyond professional designers.

“The problem was the data was created by a proprietary desktop tool that not everybody was going to spend $5,000 or $10,000 to buy,” says Gilmour. “So one of the key things we were trying to do was let anybody get access to that design data for things like design reviews and collaboration on change orders—things that might happen during the design process. With our API, we open up that ability for others to start consuming that design information, which means for us, we now have a completely new customer.”

“Apigee is an end-to-end solution. We could get what we needed—from the first touch of the customer to the end touch of the API. Things like security, scalability, resiliency—all of these were key factors.”

Shawn Gilmour, Director of PaaS Strategy, Autodesk

Flexible, scalable, consistent

After evaluating a total of seven API management platforms, Autodesk chose Apigee for several primary reasons. First, the company required a degree of flexibility to incorporate its own features into the platform, such as its own homegrown systems of monetization and identity management.

“We know how to build things, so we had demands,” Gilmour says. “Apigee was easy to work with, and the flexibility of allowing us to use the Apigee product as a platform and tailor it to our needs was key.” The breadth and completeness of Apigee’s solution was another key differentiator, Gilmour added.

“Apigee is an end-to-end solution,” he says. “We could get what we needed—from the first touch of the customer to the end touch of the API. Things like security, scalability, resiliency—all of these were key factors.”

It was difficult for Autodesk to predict how popular its APIs would become, or how many API calls it would need to handle through the Apigee platform, according to Gilmour. The growth has been impressive so far: Autodesk ran over 33 billion API calls through the Apigee platform in 2017, more than 3 times the amount in 2016.

“We’ve had unpredictable growth and with that growth we’ve needed reliability and scalability,” Gilmour says. “Apigee provides that.”

About Autodesk

Autodesk is a leading producer of design software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment industries.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States
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