Since launching our first Autodesk Forma capabilities into the market, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about naming. Specifically, the difference between the first set of Forma capabilities we have in-market and our future AECO industry cloud that we announced at Autodesk University in September 2022. I will explain by answering some of the questions we have received.

What is behind the Autodesk Forma name?

Autodesk Forma is a big, ambitious project to reimagine how the AECO industry works across all disciplines and phases of Building Information Modeling (BIM)–planning, design, construction, and operations. And Forma is not just for buildings, it will expand to address the infrastructure and water industries. As we build out Forma, you’ll hear us talking about our big vision for this industry cloud, while also talking about our in-market capabilities.

Autodesk Forma’s current capabilities target early-stage site planning, design, and analysis, enabling architects with data-driven insights and AI-powered analysis to support better project outcomes and more sustainable buildings.

What is Autodesk’s approach to building out Forma?

Our plan is to expand Forma capabilities over time. This multi-year journey begins with building the data backbone necessary to support today’s customers using products like AutoCAD, Revit, and Civil3D, as well as those working with our commercial Autodesk Forma offering. We have already started on this journey with Autodesk Docs, which will be expanded with granular data capabilities and become the data backbone for Autodesk Forma.

As we build new Forma capabilities, we will focus on unlocking value and insights from project data. Our approach is focused on outcomes, of which sustainability is a priority, driving an open ecosystem via data and application APIs and removing complexity for the user. We will also connect our existing products to Autodesk Docs via our Autodesk AEC data model, enabling hybrid workflows across Forma, other Autodesk offerings, and third-party applications.

What is in-market for Autodesk Forma today?

Today, Autodesk Forma is a web application focused on planning and early-stage building and site design. It has its origins in Spacemaker and FormIt. The first set of capabilities targets the early-stage planning and design process with automations and AI-powered insights that:

  • Ease project set up and offload repetitive tasks;
  • Simplify the exploration of design concepts, making it possible to work with many different proposals at the same time; and
  • Evaluate environmental qualities (like wind, microclimate, sunlight/daylight) surrounding a building site, giving architects time to focus on creative solutions.

We are already driving outcomes by leveraging AI/machine learning and granular data with this first release. Early and better access to contextual site data also leads to more sustainable and accurate outcomes.

Learn how Sweco structures data-driven workflows and new business models around the first set of Autodesk Forma capabilities.

Based on what is in-market today, is Forma just for architects?

No, Forma is not just for architects, but I can see how customers might assume that to be the case. While we are starting with workflows for architects, this is only the beginning of the breadth we need to cover the entire BIM process.

What does the in-market Forma capability tell me about the future Forma industry cloud?

There are attributes you will see in the current Forma capability that are key principles for the Forma industry cloud as well. A few of these are:

  • Outcome focused: integrated analyses (driven by machine learning) provide decision support.
  • Collaborative: easy to share work and collaborate in teams and with stakeholders.
  • Open: customers and third parties can connect and extend Forma data and capabilities.

Why not call the in-market capability Forma Planning or Forma Concept or even something different than just Forma?

This was debated heavily and there was no perfect answer. With just one set of capabilities in the market, giving it a suffix felt redundant, especially while we are still trying to establish the Forma brand. However, not differentiating the name between the industry cloud and first set of capabilities might imply that Forma is limited. I have also heard from many customers that it is frustrating when we rename our products. So, we kept it simple and will expand the Forma naming framework as new capabilities get released.

Continuing to engage

We welcome feedback from customers as we continue along our journey towards Autodesk Forma, our future AECO industry cloud. Here are the best ways for you to stay informed and engaged:

  • Join the Forma Community Forum to ask questions, find answers, and meet the development team (sign up is required);
  • Subscribe to the Autodesk Forma blog to stay updated on new features, resources, and updates as we continue to build our AECO industry cloud; and
  • Bookmark the Forma page for easy access to the latest information, including customer stories.