Consider the automotive industry and its suite of tools that take an initial idea through to simulation, build and testing. After Autodesk was formed in 1982, it wasn’t long until car designers were creating CAD (computer-aided design) files, testing and manipulating the designs digitally with 3D simulation and engineering in CAE environments (computer-aided engineering), automating their physical build with robotics and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing), and managing the whole process of people, engineering, data and assets with PLM software (product lifecycle management). Files are standardized across the board, they work on various platforms, multiple teams can collaborate internationally, and insights from one design, test and build process can be integrated into another. In short, the automotive industry has an integrated suite of tools that allows for digitization, which has been around since the 1980s.
It still looks like it’s straight out of the ’80s — it’s got a black background, lots of neon text, early days computing-style block letters, and a funny-looking keyboard — and it isn’t the easiest system to navigate, but it’s established a grip on Wall Street that competitors haven’t really been able to shake. Subscriptions cost between $20,000 and $24,000 annually, and right now, there are more than 325,000 subscribers signed up.