Autodesk creates government division

Officials from Autodesk, a company based in San Rafael, Calif., that develops building design, mapping, visualization and 3-D software, formally announced this week the creation of a government division.

Dave Rhodes, vice president of newly minted Autodesk Government, said the 23-year-old company has served the federal, state and local government sector for many years, but officials decided a government-dedicated division would be able to address customers’ needs better. He said the move is more evolutionary than anything else.

“As you know, doing business with the federal government takes a long, dedicated investment to really get yourself integrated into the programs,” Rhodes said. “Some of the departments and agencies in the government are some of our largest customers today. We realized we need to continue to maintain the growth curve with respect to this part of the business.”

Sales growth related to government business has outpaced the company’s other sectors, but Rhodes declined to provide any numbers. He said the division, which currently has about two dozen employees, has amassed a group of subject-matter experts from across the company to focus on the federal government initially. But he said they will also have a dedicated state and local government team within the division before the end of the year.

Although Autodesk is primarily known as a computer-aided design software firm, Rhodes said the challenge is to build a level of awareness around the company’s geospatial, visualization and 3-D products, and how they can be used in other ways. Autodesk is trying to move away from a product-centered company to one that offers solutions, which is what sets it apart from competitors, he said.

“While we have competition in distinct spaces like geospatial and building design, we really don’t see a competitor that is capable of offering this broad-based solution to the federal agencies and departments the way that we can,” he said. “No company can integrate building, geospatial [and] manufacturing information and then layer on top of it purpose-built applications and 3-D applications. We can bring it to market more quickly and at a lower cost.”

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