Managing Director, Autodesk India Pvt. Ltd.
Autodesk redefines the GIS marketplace
Mr. S. Sridhar, Managing Director, Autodesk Indian Pvt. Ltd., maps out the strategies of Autodesk to meet the challenges of fast changing GIS marketplace
- What are the trends in the global GIS market? Where does Autodesk stand globally in the GIS market?
There are four major developments in the GIS industry, and they will continue to dominate the industry in the near future. The biggest is the influence of the Internet on GIS. Even major GIS vendor introduced new Web-related products over the last twelve months. This trend will continue with the expansion of spatial server technology to serve more types of data to a wider variety of users. The development of content-rich GIS information sited in corporations and the continued development of secure data translation layers to enable corporations to securely post and move data across the Internet.
Another important development is the movement of GIS technology to Windows 95/98 and Windows NT environments, which signals that the historically workstation based GIS is moving to the PC.
The fourth trend is the rapid convergence of CAD and GIS technology. This trend is being driven by the end-user community, which is demanding a set of integrated tools for planning, designing, building and managing their infrastructure.
Knowing these trends Autodesk is positioning all its products in this direction. Autodesk MapGuide the first Internet/Intranet based solution will allow the user to publish GIS information over the web. This will also allow the user to conduct GIS analysis to do information dissemination. Our other product such as AutoCAD Map 2000, Autodesk World and Autodesk Land Development Desktop are all on Windows platform and are an extension of CAD technology.
- What has been your marketing strategy for the South Asian Region?
The SAARC region has tremendous potential for the GIS products, owing to the variety of areas where the countries are expanding on the infrastructure and the basic information needs. This gives us sample opportunity to play a key role in most of these countries. Presently, we are focussing on working closely with our partners to offer turnkey solutions to specific segments of the Industry, catering to the needs of Water Resource Management, Industrial Development Corporations, State Electricity Boards, to name a few. We also work closely with Educational Institutions and other govt. establishment. We are planning to work with various organisations to set up Centres of Excellence for GIS and also specialised Authorised Training Centres for GIS.
- What is the nature of investments made by Autodesk in India?
We have recently opened a fully owned subsidiary in India. This subsidiary will have the following focus areas:
- Sales and marketing
- Developers’ Constancy Group-this group offers consultancy support to over 3000 developers in the Autodesk Developers Network worldwide.
- Software projects- this group looks after outsourcing s/w projects for Autodesk out of India.
The major investment is in terms of setting up the infrastructure and training the manpower of Autodesk and our distributors.
- How do you see the performance of Autodesk in the GIS market in India?
We have done exceptionally well, over the last couple of years. Despite being a recent entrant to this field, our products have gained excellent acceptance. Infact, the last IDC (India) report published indicates that the number of licenses of our GIS products shipped last year exceeds our competitive products by a wide margin.
We have more than 600 licenses sold in the last two years which for a recent entrant like us is a remarkable achievement emphasizing the customer acceptance of our range of products. Our main customers are state electricity boards, such as MSEB, BSES, AEC, industrial corporations, like MIDC, APIIC, and developmental authorities like DDA, GIDC, JDA etc. RGNDWM has bought more than 250 licenses for developing drinking water application for rural India.
- What according to you are the major strengths and weaknesses for the GIS growth in India?
The two major driving forces for the growth of GIS in the country are the acceptance of the technology as the decision-making solution and the need for availability of accurate data. More and more govt. agencies have realized that GIS can provide them the much-needed tool to address the ever-increasing demand of data availability. And unless one has the accurate data the organization cannot conduct the analysis to do the decisions.
India has long-standing history of documenting maps. We do have valid and well-documented maps but the rigid framework of confidentiality has tied them down. However I do not consider this as an impediment as each organisation has a specific requirement of digital maps and they can create for themselves. This should be taken as a challenge and address with the tools that are available such as AutoCAD Map and Autodesk World.
But the real impediments that I can think of are the lack of finance to support the GIS solutions and the mind share to implement these solutions.
- What were the major hurdles for your entry into the Indian market? How did you overcome them?
We did not have any major hurdles in entering Indian market. On the contrary, our flagship product AutoCAD has been popular and well accepted in India for over 15 years. Also our distributors have done a tremendous job in furthering the reach of our products in India, and have created a tremendous mind-share among a wide spectrum of customers and industrial segments about our technology. Infact, our entry was very well accepted by the customers as well as various agencies as we have a very huge installed base in India and people saw a merit in our direct presence to back our channels