Lithys 2015: Autodesk - Social ROI Titan

Lithys 2015: Autodesk - Social ROI Titan

Company: Autodesk Autodesk logo.png

Entry submitted by: Lois Townsend (loisT) Director, Social Media and Community

Community: Autodesk Community (

Lithy category: Social ROI Titan


Autodesk, Inc., is a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, and media and entertainment industries—including the last 19 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects—use Autodesk software to design, visualize, and simulate their ideas before they're ever built or created. From blockbuster visual effects and buildings that create their own energy to electric cars and the batteries that power them, the work of our 3D software customers is everywhere you look.


Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk continues to develop the broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art 3D software for global markets. Through our apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android, we're also making design technology accessible to professional designers as well as amateur designers, homeowners, students, and casual creators. Whether it's a kid looking to build a new contraption, a seasoned pro sketching out a great new idea, or someone who just wants to amp up their creative output, we're taking technology originally built for movie studios, automakers, and architectural firms, and making it available to anyone who wants to create and share their ideas with the world.


Our 2014 objectives


Autodesk is undergoing a business transformation: the growth of the business and transformation to a cloud based service generates product support needs that must be met at scale. The multi-language Autodesk Community plays a significant role in the support strategy to ensure the availability of quality answers from expert members and in a timely fashion, for all customers, regardless of a paid service option.


Autodesk supports its customers in 3 major ways:

  • Self-help: Anyone can visit the Autodesk Knowledge Network, a repository of Autodesk-generated and carefully curated content, available to all customers, 24x7
  • Engage online in the Autodesk Community. The Accepted Solutions from the forums integrated with and automatically part of the Autodesk Knowledge Network
  • Contact us: Call / email /chat with a support representative, available only for some types of customers


In order to increase the value of the community for our customers and Autodesk, we had 3 goals in 2014, and were able to exceed our results for each:


  • Traffic - Increase visits to the forums by 25% vs. actual result: 34% increase
  • Quality content - Increase accepted solution rates by 10% vs. actual result: 13% increase
  • Initial response time- We had specific goals depending on the platform inquiry:


Autodesk chart 1.jpg

The Community has many benefits: it helps shape the image of the company, contributes to our customers decision to purchase certain products, informs the product development teams of possible issues or wishes for future release, etc. But the Autodesk Community is at the core a product support operation.


The community sits between the Autodesk Knowledge Network and the technical support agents as an online interactive platform. It quickly provides solutions to our customers, and deflects calls that would otherwise be addressed to Autodesk service representatives. They provide a one-to-one service that is difficult to scale. The average cost associated with a customer service or technical support representative, who interact over the phone is carefully monitored. It serves as a primary cost basis to estimate the scope of savings that Autodesk realizes.


Based on volume of visits from customers who could have called an agent, the success rate (result of an ongoing customer survey), we estimate the total call deflection value in 2014 to be in the millions of dollars.  Even more impressive is that we have been able to provide answers to over 10M customers per year, including students and educators that have free access to both our software, and to our community based support.


The Autodesk community is growing at an accelerated pace. In 2014:

  • We recorded growth in community membership of 30% in 2014 to pass 2 million registered members. It is the result of organic growth and an effort in SEO but no paid advertising. It grew by 22% in 2013 and 16% in 2012.
  • Community visits increased 34% to 27.3 million annually.
  • RSS feeds to the community grew by 471%.

Autodesk chart 2.jpg

Autodesk’s Expert Elites are the Super Fans and growing in importance. The Autodesk Expert Elite program was created to recognize customers around the world who have contributed a significant amount of time, knowledge, and assistance to fellow customers.  These people have demonstrated a strong sense of leadership and use an engaging style of collaboration that contributes to a healthy and valuable customer community. The program now has over 200 members representing 23 different countries. They have delivered 7,000 accepted solutions, received 17,000 kudos and posted 60,000 replies.


The unique aspect about the Expert Elite program is that it doesn’t stop at community; it is the concept of Total Community. The program not only values a user’s contribution within the community, but outside of it as well. Autodesk looks at the contributions people are making on personal blogs and other social channels, as well as at offline events such as training seminars, to really see the conversations happen full circle.


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Status changed to: 2015 Lithy Submission