Improved Installation Experience for Autodesk Administrators
Published on March 01, 2021
Author: Danny Polkinhorn, Sr. Product Manager, Product Delivery
There is well over 100 years of combined installation experience on the Product Delivery team (the team responsible for Downloads and Installs at Autodesk), and we’re familiar firsthand with challenges that come up during the installation process.
But we’ve also heard about challenges directly from you, our Autodesk customers! From large corporations with thousands of computers and teams of IT staff, to sole proprietors who just want to get their work done, we’ve heard from so many of you. Over the years, you've shared your challenges with installing all kinds of products, how this or that platform does it well, and how these challenges impact your business. You’ve told us about error codes that keep showing up, how unique your environment is (and it really is), and how it takes so long to install products. Time is money after all.
What’s common amongst what we’ve heard from customers is you don’t really want to think about installs, you don’t want to think of where to get this update, or that extension and the truth is you shouldn’t have to. Regardless of the workflows you use, and the products you need to do it, we (on the Delivery team) want to get out of the way. So, what’s changing and how will this make installing Autodesk products easier? These are the three things that influence our decisions:
1. Access to tools needs to be fast. The time it takes for you to think “I need to search for something,” and for a search engine to return your results is counted in fractions of a second. We want that too! The time it takes from the idea that you might need one of our products to solve some workflow challenge to you actually using the product should be as short as possible. The realities of desktop computers may stand in our way, but we are constantly thinking about how we can shorten the time from thought to use. How might we get you what you need as quickly as possible?
2. It has to be easy to get the tools you need. The gig economy is teeming with companies that make it easier to get sushi in your home, or a ride to the store, or assemble your furniture for you. If there’s an itch, you want it scratched already. For companies that just want to get their work done, they don’t want to go on long explorations for some analysis tool, they want it at their fingertips. Bring-your-own-device initiatives and bottoms-up software purchases are solving this exact problem for over-burdened IT groups. What’s the minimum amount of effort needed to get you going on that project?
3. Software just needs to work. No uninstall-reinstalls, gathering installer logs, chats with the sys admin, or “Please restart…” dialogs. Products should install correctly the first time and launch with exactly the settings you want. When’s the last time you deleted an app from your phone and reinstalled it from the app store? Even if you have recently, probably all you needed to do was log in again, and there’s all your stuff. You just don’t have the patience for tools that don’t work when you need them. How can we make sure that the tools you need are reliable?
The Product Delivery team is working on new technology that strives to do all of these things. We’re just beginning to deliver (pun intended) on solving your challenges, and we have a long way to go. You may have seen some early examples if you’ve installed Maya, 3ds Max, or Revit recently. These new releases are much better than the 15-year-old technology we had previously, but they are not the ideal experience for our customers yet. They do however lay the foundation for many faster, easier, more reliable improvements to come.