The challenging economic climate from 2008 through mid-2010 has put many infrastructure projects world-wide on hold. This reality has affected companies providing engineering and design software like Autodesk, which sustained a decline in stock price (the company has since recovered nicely), and Bentley Systems, whose 2009 revenue declined to 2007 levels, about $50 million. Greg Bentley, in his opening presentation at the Be Inspired conference in Amsterdam, said that he, however, believes that 2010 will show a rebound in his revenue rate. Currently, Bentley shows a revenue balance of 61% international users versus 39% in the United States.
Bentley also used a number of metrics to demonstrate the number of hours in which MicroStation was in use. MicroStation utilization hours measured approximately 23 hours-per-week per license (see example image from Asia at right). As such, though the global economy may be weak, productivity is decidedly increasing. On the investment front, Bentley made a major investment in SITEOPS, engineering software for site design which the company says is a glimpse into the future of SaaS for civil modeling.
Bhupinder Singh, Bentley’s senior vice president for software, discussed a number of corporate initiatives during the past year that have resulted in product improvements, including:
- Bentley update service – a Web service that will give you notification when updates are available. Users can even set up filters whereby they will be notified of updates on the subset of products in which they are interested.
- Luxology is now embedded completely into MicroStation for civil visualization; this announcement announcement came last May.
- Point Clouds are now a native data type inside Bentley products.
- In SELECTseries 3, to be released in 2011, users will be able to detect clashes between geometry and point cloud data.
- Integrated Structural Modeling (ISM) is a model synchronization solution that provides federation, consensus modeling and collaboration services. ISM was released one year ago and Singh said he has seen an increase in its use by engineering firms.
- Multidiscipline optimization (MDO) is a solution for determining cost benefit of alternative solutions for structural designs versus the applications under consideration from multiple disciplines such as design, construction, energy analysis, etc. This methodology is used to help balance cost when weighing multiple design options. MDO is a non-deterministic methodology whereby there may be more than one answer to a given problem.
In general, Bentley is trying to lay out a framework for instituting business intelligence (BI) for the engineering community that it calls “information modeling.” The enterprise geospatial community may think in terms of integrating location technology into enterprise BI solutions. Bentley’s focus on design engineering translates that concept into deriving information by visualizing design improvements and reaping better return on assets (ROA). The company seems to be more in tune with performance metrics than qualitative assessment for utilizing technology to help its clients demonstrate this ROA.
The BeInspired 2010 conference is an annual event for Bentley's most innovative clients and awards are issued to selected nominees from those who have submitted entrees. In addition, over 60 members of the press attend this event. I am serving as a juror for the "Visualization and Project Collaboration" category.
[Full disclosure: Bentley is supporting this trip with travel expenses]