Information Mobility For Engineering Sector

Greg Bentley, CEO, Bentley Systems Inc
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Greg Bentley, CEO, Bentley Systems Inc

What significant changes did the Engineering sector witness in 2013? What did these changes mean to vendors and customers?
The engineer software folks in general are taking advantage of opportunities presented in the form of Information Mobility. This ensures information in the engineering stage doesn’t become stale but rather retains its mortality by getting constantly used, throughout the life cycle of projects. At Bentley, we develop software for sustaining infrastructure, and take advantage of information mobility for construction and other operations for infrastructure engineering field. Additionally, we also have the opportunity to take advantage of inventions and investments involved in mobile devices, wireless, sensors and positioning technologies that are making a big difference this year.

At Bentley’s first annual year in infrastructure 2013 conference, held in London, we had a thousand thought leaders gathered, and together, we identified among effective strategies for information mobility. This involves hybrid modeling techniques, where representations of the physical and virtual world are brought together in context and aligned. We also have operational hands on, where applications in the engineering field are used to take advantage of operations and maintenance. And going forward, these emerging strategies will involve comprehensive work packaging and connecting through cloud services. 

What are some of the changes you had anticipated would happen in 2013, but did not happen?
Speaking from an engineering sector point-of-view, we had anticipated moving completely to the cloud, especially since we work with large files and graphic intensive desktop application tools that are not really necessary or realistic. But cloud services turned out to be very promising for connecting across project teams and life cycle, bringing together supply chains and connecting owners with their contractors. We realized that cloud services will connect everyone together to a greater degree through hybrid environments, which involves computing at a desk and also onsite.

Can you paint us the picture of how landscape for Engineering sector will change in 2014? What are some of the broader trends you are closely watching?
Taking advantage of the Information mobility is an ongoing trend, which is going to get stronger. McGraw Hill, an American financial business trading company did a survey on Information mobility in identifying the opportunity to shorten schedules by almost 10 percent and decrease the project costs almost the same amount and in general, increase Return On Investments (ROI). For us, these larger trends will provide opportunities to connect in these hybrid environments.

Can you highlight how the customer spends in Engineering sector will change in 2014? What makes you think customers will be buying more/ less?
Currently, Bentley Systems has grown from 500 million dollars to 600 million dollars in annual revenue and its taken 5 years for this down turn to accomplish. 75 percent of our revenues are from subscriptions and the opportunity going forward isn’t actually for our users to buy more in terms of upfront licenses but rather for them to use more of our software to a greater advantage through subscriptions. Thus, 2014 for us will involve introducing a lot of commercial innovations, which we call as open access programs, that will enable our subscribers to access any of our software programs which they feel is needed for their respective engineering discipline.

What's in store for your company in 2014?
The larger advantage in these emerging information mobility strategies is to be a bit more ambitious. For 2014, we at Bentley are extending our reach as should our users be. When it comes to Building Information Modeling or the BIM, for us the B stands for better decisions and for better performance access. For greater depth of information modeling, we need to go beyond the visualization to enhance simulation. On the other hand, the IM stands for Information Mobility for greater information and better ROI. This is not only for design but also for construction and operation purposes as well. Thus, there is a lot of head room for opportunity and when we get to the 2014 year end infrastructure, we are sure to have users taking the advantage of new commercial formats such as managed services and hybrid cloud services. All in all, this is will lead to better opportunities in terms of ROI, access to design infrastructure and better projects and better use of information mobility.

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