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Accelerate Conference

Feature Friday: Accelerate 2014 with Autodesk PLM 360

By     SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

Couldn’t make it to Accelerate 2014?  Our own Jamie Eckmier recaps what went on.


Last week Autodesk hosted Accelerate 2014, our first ever PLM user conference .Given that PLM 360 is the “next generation alternative” to traditional PLM solutions, we thought it’d only be appropriate for us to mix it up and do things differently than traditional PLM events.. Rather than having Autodesk tell you about Autodesk, we turned it upside down. We provided the stage for our customers to tell their own stories, share their points of view, exchange best practices, and network with peers and experts from the industry – while we sat back and listened.


The result was a day and a half of fascinating and engaging customer conversation and learning. Of course this wouldn’t have been possible without the active participation of our amazing customers and partners. Just check out this stellar line-up of speakers!

Kevin Prendeville, Accenture

Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk

Stan Przybylinski, CIMdata

Scott Miller, Dragon Innovation

Kenneth Brant, Gartner

Mark Keilholz, Greenpoint Technologies

Michael Pares, Greenpoint Technologies

Clint Darwen, Houlder

Andy Matthews, Houlder

Robb Johnson, Inphi

Chad Jackson, Lifecycle Insights

Jonas Andersson, LUDA

Ranga Bodla, NetSuite

Tom Buffo, NetSuite

Gavin Davidson, NetSuite

Martin Hanssmann, OYO Sports

Mark Principe, Quirky

Monica Schnitger, Schnitger Corporation

Allan Behrens, Taxal

Jim Brown, Tech-Clarity

David Keeley, TSM Control Systems

Matt Wegmann, Electrical Components International

Pablo Fernandez, Zep Solar

Ty Hudson, Zep Solar


We had about 200 in attendance, which meant standing room only crowds throughout the sessions! The event took place in Boston’s new Innovation District at a brand new venue called the District Hall. The hip architecture, intimate scale, and communal nature of the space were a perfect fit for the style and energy of the crowd. Much of the wall space at the Hall is comprised of whiteboard surfaces, which were dramatically transformed into a living document by a graphic recording artist from Ink Factory Studio. Just take a glance at this amazing drawing and you’ll get the picture!


If there was an overarching theme to the event, it was definitely the awareness and acknowledgement that the world of design and manufacturing is changing (has changed) forever. From Scott Miller of Dragon Innovation redefining the way startups bring their business to life – to Mark Principe of Quirky unlocking the inventor in everyone – to Andrew Anagnost’s weird and wonderful look into the future of making things – excitement about transformation infused every presentation and discussion. We had a real Zeitgeist going on. Our keynote speakers were later joined by Ken Brant of Gartner and Ranga Bodla of NetSuite on the “Future of Product Innovation” panel , where they debated and answered questions from the audience about how we can all prepare for this brave new world.


Of course, we weren’t only focused on the future. There was a lot of talk about solving tough manufacturing problems today. Kevin Prendeville of Accenture drew on his years of experience in the PLM trenches to offer some lessons learned. You’ll definitely want to check out his 7 keys to success. Day 1 ended with the “What’s Brewing in Manufacturing?” panel featuring PLM’s top industry analysts, a frank Q&A session (fueled by beer, naturally!) Both days of the conference featured several customer breakout sessions, where PowerPoint was kept to a minimum and conversations and sharing flourished. The sessions spanned a wide range of topics including Supply Chain Collaboration, Quality Management, Implementation Strategies, ERP Integration, and more.


Finally, the attendees at Accelerate were treated to an exclusive sneak peak of things to come in Autodesk PLM 360 with a jaw-dropping demo by Autodesk’s Brian Roepke and Eric McSherry. We won’t go into detail here, but some of the highlights were: truly mobile PLM with the new iOS and Android app; a User Interface, built from the ground up and leveraging all the latest and greatest web technology; and the piece de résistance, CAD data management directly within PLM 360! The crowd reaction was tremendous, a fantastic ending to wonderful event.

If you want to learn more and see it in action, be sure to join us at Autodesk University.



In the beginning, we had lot of people ask (and you may be asking too) “Why did they call it Accelerate?” We could tell you that it has to do with the Cloud accelerating PLM implementations… or we could tell you that it’s about PLM accelerating time-to-value… but in keeping with our approach to the event itself, let’s tell it through the story of a customer.


OYO Sports makes MLB, NHL, and NFL licensed minifigures. In our final customer keynote, Martin Hanssmann , OYO’s COO explained how they are now leveraging PLM 360 to make the impossible possible – bringing new products from concept to market in just 2 days. They look at their NPI process in terms of hours. (Not months… not weeks… not days… hours!!!) He shared the following slide.


After Martin’s presentation, people stopped asking why we called it “Accelerate.”

A huge thanks to everyone who came out and made our first event such a success. If you’d like to connect with your peers, hear their stories, and share your own (while learning how to get your product development moving faster), we hope to see you next year at Accelerate 2015!


Want to see what you missed? Some of our presenters have generously made their presentations available for viewing on our A360 Site.