By its own admission, Autodesk could be likened to the brilliant but insular boffin whose preoccupation with his own inventions limits commercial success.
Perhaps feeling the same way, partners last year called on the vendor to become easier to deal with and more focused on the needs of the customer rather than the design software it makes.
Partly as a result of this feedback, Autodesk used its annual channel media summit last month to announce a series of changes to how it goes to market and its partner strategy.
Partners will now be permitted to sell Autodesk's entire portfolio, while it has also created its first global channel team and is placing a new emphasis on software suites.
The vendor also used the San Francisco-based event to urge partners to prepare for growth again after drawing a line under its recent sales slump.
The downturn hit NASDAQ-listed Autodesk harder than most software stocks, as sales from its second-largest market - architecture, engineering and construction - dried up. Between December 2007 and March 2009, its share price nose-dived from 60 to 12 cents. Revenues in its fiscal year to January 2010 plunged by 26 per cent.
However, Steve Blum, senior vice president of worldwide sales, claimed it is time for partners to begin hiring again after Autodesk's revenues rebounded by 14 per cent in the fiscal year that just ended. Meanwhile, its share price has bounced back up to close to 2007 levels.
"Our partners are now recognising the opportunity to reinvest back into the business to start driving return to the top as well as the bottom line," said Blum.
Autodesk's mission to collapse its sprawling portfolio of more than 200 products into suites formed a key theme of the summit.
Earlier in the year, it launched seven suites covering product design, factory design, building design, infrastructure design, plant design and entertainment creation.
Andrew Anagnost, vice president of suites and web services, said this would slash the cost and complexity of selling Autodesk's products. It should also raise the use of its broader portfolio, while helping partners target larger customers outside Autodesk's traditional SMB stronghold, he added.
By the same token, Autodesk announced it is handing its partners access to its full portfolio for the first time.
"We have the opportunity to sell a larger percentage of our overall portfolio than we are currently selling," said Blum.
"We have developed a broad portfolio of products, but sometimes we go to market thinking about only a segment of it. As a result, we miss opportunities to solve a bigger part of our customers' problems."
The authorisations that currently govern which parts of Autodesk's portfolio partners can sell will disappear. In their place, Autodesk will launch a series of industry specialisations to help end users identify the most skilled VARs in their market.
The degree of specialisation, as well as customer satisfaction data and sales volumes, will then determine the partner's level of certification, and a new exclusive Platinum tier will be added in the second half of 2011.
Roland Zelles, vice president of worldwide channels, said: "We are putting customer choice onto the centre stage so customers have easy access to the partner of their choice. There is a lot of interest in Platinum. We want to make it an exclusive club [for the top] one or two per cent only, so there will be some disappointments."
Autodesk claims 90 per cent of its $2bn revenues travel through its 1,900 VAR partners, 900 of which are based in EMEA. And the vendor was keen to head off any doubts over its channel commitment as it pushes further into an enterprise segment dominated by the likes of Dassault Systems and Siemens.
It has targeted 6,000 enterprise accounts, 5,600 of which will be owned by partners.
Bill Griffin, head of Autodesk's new worldwide channel sales organisation, said: "We see enterprise as underutilised. We need to go deeper and wider into these accounts with our partners - this is where our biggest opportunity lies."
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