The Five Month CAD Debate: to Subscribe or to Buy Now?

Posted on February 18, 2016 by Synergis Vice President, Kristen Tomasic

You would have to have been on a year-long vacation if you’re an engineer, architect, designer or CAD user and haven’t yet heard about the end of sale of Autodesk perpetual licenses.   Since Autodesk’s announcement a little over a year ago, our staff has had hundreds of conversations with Autodesk users about this change and how it will affect them and their businesses.    With the deadline to buy perpetual licenses looming (July 31, 2016), most of our conversations have focused on how to prepare for the transition and whether it will be easy to add subscription licenses to networked perpetual licenses (for more on this topic, look for my next article).   Or, whether the benefits of desktop subscription licenses (now called “subscription”) will outweigh those of perpetual licenses.

In most companies, the decision about which Autodesk solution to acquire (AutoCAD, Product Design Suite, Building Design Suite, etc.) is made by the group who is going to use the tool, but the debate over whether to “subscribe” or to buy licenses is decided by the Finance team.  What many design professionals don’t consider when evaluating options is that a subscription is treated as an operating expense (OPEX) and therefore has many financial benefits to your organization:

  1. You don’t need as much upfront cash since the initial costs of subscription are less.
  2. Subscription provides flexibility and enables you to easily add or subtract licenses as your business expands or contracts
  3. You can reserve capital for other business investments (like machinery or heavy equipment)
  4. No need to keep track of software licenses for depreciation expenses
  5. With a lower upfront cost for the software, you are able to invest in education for your users or integration with other business systems that will improve overall company efficiency

So, as you are considering your Autodesk purchasing options over the next 5 months, we encourage you to talk them through with your finance team.   If your finance team would prefer that you acquire new licenses under the perpetual and maintenance option, now is the time to act!    If your finance team opts for subscription, then you’re in good shape now and for many years to come.

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