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Archive for December, 2020

Executives Offer Profound Perspectives at Bentley Year In Infrastructure 2020

Friday, December 11th, 2020

Year in Infrastructure 2020 Executive Perspectives held on October 29th, 2020 with Greg Bentley and Satya Nadella featured discussions with the following executives:

  • Greg Bentley, CEO, Bentley Systems
  • Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft
  • Nicholas Cumins, Chief Product Officer, Bentley Systems
  • Katriona Lord-Levins, Chief Success Officer, SVP, Bentley Systems
  • Chris Bradshaw, Chief Marketing Officer, Bentley Systems

To begin with, Greg Bentley spoke about the past year at Bentley Systems:

Greg Bentley, CEO, Bentley Systems

“This year has been about confluence of infrastructure and resilience. We have been a privately held company for 36 years and now publicly held. Those interested can view our investor relations website with all our performance listed there. BSY is the ticker symbol for Bentley on NASDAQ. Usage in our apps hit a trough earlier in the year yet returned to earlier levels by June. Infrastructure engineering is mission critical; professionals are able to be virtualized, advancement in going digital is greater this year as well as in 4D construction modeling. We’ll continue to see that grows every year as construction is about occupancy of space and time and that’s ever more important after a pandemic and forever. 

800 Bentley colleagues are working on solutions with digital twins on perils we may not know and anticipate. Our own colleagues have been virtualized working at home, working on work-at-home for users as well. 

Digital Twins for Infrastructure Resilience Infrastructure

Infrastructure resilience sustains our economy and environment. Infrastructure is advanced by infrastructure engineering and empowered by infrastructure engineering software, so we recognize our responsibility as an infrastructure engineering software company. For investors we inform them, break revenues down by end market

Investors interested in our history starting with MicroStation, ProjectWise, Open Simulation Applications, Open Modeling Applications, Project Delivery with AssetWise, Reality Modeling will see revenues by infrastructure and discipline from the Oxford Economics Global Information Outlook, 2017 – Global Infrastructure Spending 2016 – 2040: 

  • Roads 1.0% GDP
  • Electricity 1.0% GDP
  • Rail 0.4% GDP
  • Water 0.2% GDP

Reality modeling is responsible for great growth in the finalists’ project. 30% of our finalists are from China.

Bentley’s IPO was made official on September 23rd. The IPO was primarily motivated for liquidity on the part of our colleague shareholders, many of whom have been with us for decades, to facilitates their retirement. Many are taking advantage of that. Another advantage of this is to help us to attract world class talent, in succession.

Our new Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Bradshaw, founded the infrastructure software division at Autodesk and was their chief marketing officer.  He was away from our infrastructure world for a time – and is now back to the sector. What is it that brings you back?”

Chris Bradshaw: Three factors here – the first is an awful lot of infrastructure systems are behind the scenes and literally underground so largely unappreciated

Chris Bradshaw, Chief Marketing Officer, Bentley Systems

right up to the moment when they wither, slow down or they fail. Nobody likes it when their power goes out, or water is out, or roads and bridges don’t allow them to get where they want to go. So infrastructure engineering is really important and is important for the economy. It’s important to protect people. Second factor, when infrastructure systems aren’t hidden, when they’re visible, they can be really inspiring, like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco attracts millions of sightseers every year. But at the same time it’s a commute path for Bay Area workers going to and from home every day, at least in a non-Covid environment. So beautiful form, important function. That combination can be very inspiring.

The third factor and maybe most important. I really believe infrastructure engineering is facing one of the most daunting challenges in human history. We are balancing the environment and the economic needs of a planet that’s going to grow to over 10 billion people in in the next 30 years, that has a changing climate that has the ability to devastate infrastructure systems very quickly. So it’s more important than ever that we get the best and the brightest working on infrastructure engineering. And I think that has implications for students and teachers.

Coming back to: why Bentley? Without a doubt, Bentley is the best infrastructure engineering design software company in the world. And more importantly, Bentley is taking a more holistic approach to the design. Yes the design is important, but so is modeling, analysis, simulation, maintenance, operations, renovations. When you look at the totality of Bentley software and its offerings, it’s really taking that lifecycle approach connecting these things all together and creating much better outcomes for infrastructure engineering organizations around the world.

Greg Bentley:  We should have in mind in our higher profile as a public company at Bentley to do an even better job. For instance, the Year in Infrastructure, and the nominated and winning projects, and bring those accomplishments as representative of our users and accounts to the attention of the world is among the things we can strive to do better in our marketing at Bentley.

You referenced future engineers, helping to attract talent, to the infrastructure professions which we as a vendor are helping going digital, help fill a skills gap by remind those considering doing something of importance that it can be fun and challenging and if they like working digitally. This has been a longstanding action of yours, going back to you massively expanding Autodesk’s educational programs and straight along the way you have remained a volunteer leader of Project Lead the Way, helping with educational outcomes. When we think about the opportunities for future engineers and our requirements for future engineers, is there perhaps an argument that there’s no better time than now and that attention of future engineers can particularly help not only our economy and environment but also our accounts and uses here at Bentley Systems? Can we get under way with that, Chris?

Chris Bradshaw: The traditional wisdom in the design and engineering space was we don’t really need to interact with or inspire people until they get to college. I think the biggest change that I’ve seen in my years with both Project Lead the Way and other educational outreaches, kids are engaging with engineering software and 3D software at a much younger age than ever before. In fact, a lot of studies are showing that around fourth and fifth grade kids make decisions of am I going to be good at math or good at science that lead them to careers in engineering. I think it’s more important than ever that we are reaching out to not only college students but middle school, junior high, and high school, inspiring them to help solve these incredibly daunting challenges. I look forward to expanding Bentley’s footprint in the education center and thinking about ways to engage with the kids at a young age.

Greg Bentley:  YII 2020 has over 400 nominated projects. The Connected Data Environment (CDE) including ProjectWise and AssetWise together is growing. iModels are how we open up dark data, federate and change manage it. Asset performance modeling is the way asset and simulation modeling is used throughout the lifecycle.

Nicholas Cumins, Chief Product Officer, Bentley Systems

Our new Chief Product Officer, Nicholas Cumins, comes to us via SAP which was our enterprise software provider for our marketing cloud, success factors. Nicholas also has an entrepreneurial background. He has experience in cloud services. Tell us why that’s a priority for us.

Nicholas Cumins: I’m really excited to join Bentley in such an important junction in its history, and excited to join infrastructure engineering space, because there’s so much potential for transformation in that space with software. I was part of the very first true cloud initiative at SAP in the late 2000s. I managed the intervention of success factors as a business when we started to acquire a number of companies. During the last big financial crisis we faced in 2008-2009 we all realized how strong the cloud business model for both users and software providers. For the users because they can use OPEX instead of CAPEX and they don’t have to invest so much upfront. For the software providers it’s a recurring practical revenue stream. This crisis we’re in the middle of has driven home the point that the cloud makes the companies much more resilient, much more agile because it allows the users and partners to assess the software from anywhere and stay productive. The main reason I am so enthusiastic about cloud is because of the proximity it allows between the people who build the software and the people who use the software. In the on premise world the feedback loop was quite long. It would take some time, years, to get feedback on software that was designed and built up to five years depending on the cycles. With cloud we’re able to deliver software in increments on a very frequent basis and do it in a non-disruptive way so the end users can stay current. What it allows us as a product leader, is we have a better understanding as to what  product capabilities are being used and not being used, and we can see feedback on new capabilities.

Greg Bentley: Share with all of us some of your early priorities at Chief Product Officer at Bentley.

Nicholas Cumins: The first one is to see how we can accelerate the delivery of cloud services at Bentley that expands on the desktop software you might be using and allow you to build and start to use digital twins for your infrastructure -that’s a clear priority. After talking to a couple of users reviewing surveys we get through our success team I hear that Bentley is investing a lot in terms of R&D and that’s a fact, and the amount of innovation, scope of it can be overwhelming. A clear priority I will have will be to work on creating and communicating a clear product road map that as users you can use to plan the transformation of your own business.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Bentley Systems was awarded the 2018 and 2019 Microsoft Partner of the Year, and was finalist in the Mixed Reality Category. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shares views of improving the world economy and environment at the same time and advancing infrastructure by going digital.

Greg Bentley: Microsoft is our Diamond sponsor for this year. Both our organizations have had endeavors. News of the day is our strategic alliance with Microsoft. Satya, please share your thoughts on our initiatives.

Satya Nadella:  As Bentley has been successful as a private company, the core values you’ve always had will have impact. We’re very excited about our partnership. There’s been no greater time to bring what you do and we do together. in the context of smart cities, smart lighting, construction, computing getting embedded in the physical world acquiring this digital twinning capability, the openness of the data ecosystem around it so that we can then create the insides. So that’s why it’s super exciting for us to be able to partner deeply with you, bring the full modern technology stack from us so that you can then build on it all the domain depth that you have across all these areas. And we can go to market together and have a massive impact as computing gets embedded in the world.

Greg Bentley: It occurs to me that bringing together the dark data and engineering technologies (ET) together with the IT and then the OT with the Azure Digital Twins. In 2020 infrastructure for professionals has been virtualized as of necessity. It is now possible for users and accounts to work effectively, thanks to our technologies, to get together with Azure and teams and ProjectWise on projects anywhere, improving infrastructure anywhere. I wonder if we can be more ambitious about what we can accomplish in global collaboration going forward, as a result of what we’ve learned in 2020. What do you think? 

Satya Nadella: Absolutely. It’s the most at scale experiment we’ve ever run in being able to do remote work or remote everything. A couple of things that come to mind when you think about collaboration, maybe there are 30-40% of people who can work remotely but then there are first line workers who are going to work. So how do you bridge even expertise and space so even tools like HoloLens or AR is having a huge impact on one area? Secondly, video meetings are great but work happens before and after them, so thinking holistically of the workflow, another development is learning, to make sure that learning is built into the workflow. While you’re working the modules that will help you actually upscale and rescale this is what we’re doing in teams, linked in learning and other corporate learning systems. We joke sometimes that working at home feels like sleeping at work.

We want to look at how we are using our time. Video meetings have a cognitive load. That’s what led us to innovate with the together mode. We don’t have transitions anymore, so how we recreate these virtual commutes? If you add it all up holistically we have more productivity, more ability, more remote settings to be fully participating and getting things done. This will be transformative across industries and what we both do will become mission critical for both continuity and transformation.

Greg Bentley: While we get better at working digitally ,our responsibility is to improve the throughput and quality and ultimately the resilience of our physical infrastructure. One of our initiatives together has to do with city scale digital twins. And Bentley Systems was Microsoft CityNext partner of the Year in 2018-2019. In 2020, we kicked off something interesting in Dublin. There they don’t want to wait for improving their infrastructure even though they can’t get their citizens together for the engagement that they prefer to have and concurring on their improvement plan. Between teams and our open cities planners, we had an interesting start to how that can be more collaborative and more effective in combining the digital input for the physical plant.

Satya Nadella: I get very excited when you have a digital twin at a city scale. Everything from their own ability to respond to emergencies, and their own ability to even conduct all of what the city does which is convening people virtually, even though they can’t be in a physical space or even if they are in a physical space ensuring that there are procedures and protocols of social distancing maintained. This entire idea of having a digital twin at city scale and the planning capability, simulation capability is fantastic. It just speaks to the power of what you do coming together with some of our platform capabilities to have a transformative impact around every city.

Greg Bentley: I don’t know if other organizations can do that. Using the urban planning platform city scale digital twin may provide for what fitness for purpose may mean in the future. It’s great to work on that and remind cities that they can now accomplish and be prepared for the next challenge.

Satya Nadella: What the pandemic has taught us is that digital infrastructure, digital investments that cities or corporations have made have been key to their ability to continue operations. Before we even come to the transformative aspect, you need digital infrastructure like digital twins and city scale digital twins. The reality is we can’t predict what the next scale event is so one of the most no regrets investments that one can make is to build out of this infrastructure whether flood, fire, etc. or regular day to day ops being done more efficiently. Right now with more acute needs the cities have the best of technologies from us so they can adopt it and be ready for anything that comes their way in the future.

Greg Bentley: We appreciate Microsoft’s help in raising these ambitions and awareness. You mentioned the requirements for operational improvement in city services as a case in point. When we do that we fully employ IT and operational technology which are new, convenient and accessible with Azure Digital Twin. Combine the ET and engineering technologies – civil, structural, geotechnical engineers a lot of which is underground – but what they have done to make that modeling and simulation environment useful during the operating lifetime of infrastructure is literally a new exciting thing to bring to bear. The point being, you don’t need to recreate the data. Cloud services enable us to synchronize it, align it, federate it, open it up for analytics visibility and for mixed reality. In our partnership we can employ what Microsoft makes available through various technologies and now Azure Digital Twin with teams. We absolutely want to partner shoulder to shoulder, not only in some technical partnership but in some go-to-market opportunities to increase this awareness and benefits and get those benefits not only to the infrastructure owners but to constituents of infrastructure around the world which includes all of us and our colleagues.

Katriona Lord-Levins, Chief Success Officer & SVP, Bentley Systems

The essence of the Dublin project is constituent feedback for improving the infrastructure there. And so it is for Bentley Systems and based on direct feedback from our users and accounts, the 2020 resource priority for us at Bentley is our first explicit user success organization. We’ve all been contributing to user success. But we’ve realized how much more effective we can be by making it an explicit organization that helps and assures that. In this we’re led by our inaugural Chief Success Officer & SVP, Katriona Lord-Levins. Kat joined us earlier this year, after she spent decades developing and leading the success organization at Autodesk. 

What is user success and what our priorities in advancing that in 2020 and beyond?

Katriona Lord-Levins: Dublin is where I was born and bred and my family are still there, so I appreciate the importance of including their voices in the changes that are going on. My passion is for listening to the voices of our users, not just not just listening but doing something about it. Here at user success we have a relentless focus on creating loyal users by helping them realize their business value, underscoring the importance of understanding our accounts and users so we can help them achieve their outcomes, and proven outcomes with Bentley solutions and services.

How are we going to do that? It all begins with the listening, like we hear in the Dublin stories, we have created the voice of the user program, building intent and rigor into the new and existing listening posts with accounts and users. We’re focused on how we analyze and share the information internally. However, closing the loop is the most important step in listening to anyone. That way you build trust and confidence in your accounts that impacts whether they invest with you. The accounts and users want us to treat them less like a number and more like a partner understanding them, what problems they’re seeking to solve, and how to remove these barriers. This is what we aim to do in user success.

Greg Bentley: In 2020 so far in going digital has been necessary, and shows us how well we can collaborate. While I know you’ve been working towards user success for a long time, might it be the case that there is never a better time than now? When we can bring the advantages of cloud services by which we connect our users applications and Bentley Systems together and we can keep the software current through a cloud service? We can help our users perfect the pooling of their licenses with our modern and secure subscription entitlement services? We can log what they’re doing in response to that with messages in their applications and apply machine learning to that? Is there perhaps no better time to best help our users in going digital in this way?

Katriona Lord-Levins:  I love this topic, taking advantage of the latest technology, because the more technology we get to save us time the more we appear to have less time. We want to help our accounts get current and remove the barriers they may run into and give them visibility into best practices. And this is what is going on in the industry, all with the goal to leverage this technology to improve their workflows. Leveraging in product in order to lessen the learning and forgetting curves.  Introduce them to just in time learning and doing it where they play within the product. We want people to get current because we believe that the changes that we’re making in technology will help them get where they need to be faster, increasing their ROI. We will help them get current; we have their backs for sure.





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