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Coronavirus: Autodesk announces several initiatives in response to COVID-19 outbreak

Firm has donated $600,000 to a number of COVID-19 response funds

In response to the effect the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on people and business around the world, Autodesk has unveiled a raft of initiatives that the company says are in support of its employees, customers, partners and communities.

“With the coronavirus affecting communities, families, and people around the world, this is a difficult time for all of us. Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected, directly or indirectly. At Autodesk, our priority remains the health and wellbeing of our employees, customers, and partners,” a statement from the company said.

It added, “beyond the health and safety of the Autodesk community, we are also working to ensure our customers have reliable access to their software and Autodesk support. To that end, Autodesk is closely monitoring the guidance provided by governments and health organisations, so we can make informed decisions with our entire community in mind. Our goal is to respond quickly and compassionately, while balancing the needs of all the constituencies in our community. We are taking several precautionary measures to minimise the potential impact of coronavirus to our communities and our business.”

For its customers and partners, the firm says it is offering free & extended access to its cloud collaboration products.

“One of the biggest challenges we’ve been hearing about from customers – and we’re facing this challenge at Autodesk ourselves – involves adapting to work in an environment that has become the new normal: more teams and more people working remotely or from home, creating an increased need to collaborate and stay connected,” the statement noted.

To support customers facing this challenge, the firm says it is offering a temporary extended access program for several of its key cloud collaboration products. The statement notes that the aim is not to convert customers into paying users. “Our goal, instead, is to get a program up and running as quickly as possible to provide customers increased flexibility in what’s become a challenging work environment.”

The firm says the products and services included are BIM 360 Docs, BIM 360 Design, Fusion 360, Fusion Team, AutoCAD Web and Mobile, and Shotgun – all for commercial use. Customers can take advantage of the Extended Access Program by visiting Autodesk.com until May 31, 2020. The firm states it will evaluate a potential expansion of the program in line with the needs of its customers.

Through the Autodesk Foundation, the company says that it is investing in the global health and local resilience of more vulnerable populations, nonprofits, and small businesses impacted by COVID-19 by donating $600,000 to the United Nations Foundation COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, The Centers for Disease Control Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation COVID-19 Regional Response Fund.

The firm says it is also increasing its donation matching gift program for all employees by matching their donations 2:1 and raising the cap per employee.

Earlier in March, the company says it also took steps to alleviate cash flow challenges for its customers.

“We realise these extraordinary times may create cashflow constraints for our customers. To offer some relief, we will extend contract payment terms to 60 days for all customers and partners, for new orders and renewals placed directly with Autodesk now through August 7, 2020,” the statement said.

“We will extend the ability to purchase new multi-user subscription plans to August 7, 2020 and move the retirement to August 7, 2021. While we communicated that we would begin transitioning customers to named user starting May 7, 2020, we do not want to introduce a change at a time when business-as-usual is hard enough.”

The firm says it is also evaluating its in-person events and transitioning many to virtual programs or rescheduling for a later date. “We understand these actions change our previously communicated plans and disrupt our ways of working, but we believe we are taking the right steps and remain optimistic about our shared successes in the future,” the firm said.

Autodesk notes it has also taken a number of steps for its staff and offices around the globe.

“Please take care of yourselves – and each other. When we all work together, we will not only persevere, but will also realise the opportunity of better through our efforts. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates here, as needed,” the statement concluded.

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