This page was built to share some of my Product Management experience, specifically around the AutoConnect product line
I’ve been in the Autodesk reseller channel since 2008, working closely with end users, understanding their issues, and helping to build applications that automate workflows or solve specific problems.
For the last 10 years +, I have led and been part of teams that have built software products to compliment the Autodesk MFG portfolio. At Cadline I was responsible for a development team looking after a product called AutoConnect. My role was to manage the development team, while understanding customer requirements and building a customer focused set of tools for PDM/PLM/ERP integrations.
I was successful, because I can speak to both customers and developers in a way that both sides understand. I can take a client brief and break it down into workable modules that can be written as code.
In my time at Cadline, I was the product manager for the AutoConnect suite of products.
AutoConnect was also designed to connect Vault to FLC using file based workflows (these had traditionally been item based), the idea being that BoM’s from Vault could be built up in FLC and then synced bi-directionally to ERP systems.
AutoConnect was originally called V_Tools, it was later re-named to Cadline Connect and then AutoConnect.
The product started out as individual modules that were developed ad-hock for customers, based on customer specific requirements (for example, needing STEP files to be published when a file is released).
These developments were initially undertaken by a 3rd party developer based on an agreed scope/build specification.
Each year at upgrade time, we would need to upgrade, test and migrate these applications individuality.
The second generation of the product was bought in-house and consolidated into one product. It was mainly configured via XML, allowing for custom configurations within a set of rules. This allowed for the maintenance of one code base for the first time, which made upgrades far quicker an easier.
The third generation, of the product introduced a user interface. The development focused on customer experience and ease of use.
Customers are able to make tweaks to their setup without needing an engineer to visit site.
The product was renamed from Cadline Connect to AutoConnect, as this would allow for other resellers to be able to sell and use the product.
AutoConnect is now an add-on for Vault, allowing customisation of Vault Jobs (email notifications, file property synchronisations, file translations etc.), as well as a Forge connected tool, linking Vault with FLC via the Forge data management API. There is a module for ERP systems such as Sage, SAP and Netsuite.
With the third generation product, we introduced our own licencing tool, read more about that in the “additional” section below.