Bentley’s First Annual Corporate Update, SACS Acquisition and Sustainable Licensing
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Bentley’s First Annual Corporate Update, SACS Acquisition and Sustainable Licensing

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Industry News
Bentley’s First Annual Corporate Update, SACS Acquisition and Sustainable Licensing
By Susan Smith

Bentley Systems held its first annual corporate update this past week, which was not an earnings call, as they are a privately held company. Coupled with that update was the announcement of the acquisition of SACS, an integrated finite element specialized offshore structural analysis software, the launch of iWare Apps to facilitate the use of Bentley iModels, and new sustainable licensing through what the company is calling “annual portfolio balancing.”


SACS 5.3 Results Viewer 3D

CEO Greg Bentley talked about Bentley's 2010 GAAP revenues which were $476 million, for a year-over-year growth rate of 6 percent. Commenting on the company's performance, CEO Greg Bentley said, "I am pleased to report that in 2010, the good work of our colleagues, in combination with that of our user community, enabled Bentley to achieve renewed organic growth, to gain market share, and to emerge stronger than ever. At constant FX rates, our revenues have essentially returned back to our 2008 peak level. While our subscription business model has been the backbone of Bentley's resilience, brands like STAAD, ProSteel, AutoPIPE, and Bentley Map, and sectors like structural, bridge, and electrical engineering have outpaced the recession by growing substantially throughout. Particularly encouraging was our strong growth in emerging markets, and especially in Asia, where the unprecedented demand for new and intelligent infrastructure has never abated."

In 2010, Bentley also continued its long-standing commitment to reinvesting 20 percent of all software revenues in research and development. Since 2001, Bentley has invested more than $1 billion in R&D and acquisitions.

Bentley also noted that in February 2011, Bentley entered into a new $310 million bank credit facility, composed of a revolving line and a fixed term loan that it used to buy back $200 million of company stock. As a result, the Bentley family and Bentley Systems colleagues together now own fully eighty-five percent of the company's equity. The company's post-transactions net debt to EBITDA leverage ratio is less than 2.25, and post-transactions liquidity available is well above $100 million.

Owner-operators comprise the slight majority of Bentley's enterprise accounts and, since 2005, the company has increased its proportion of revenue from owner-operators from 49.5 percent to 54 percent. This has been the result of the company's strategy to create value directly, and to decrease its vulnerability to the cyclicality of capital project starts.

This motivated Bentley's new "AssetWise" operations information modeling initiative a year ago, anchored by two major acquisitions. Last month, Bentley released eB Insight, the foundation of its AssetWise platform for asset lifecycle information management.

A primary highlight 2010, according to Bentley, was return on investment in emerging markets with Asia where 25% of Bentley colleagues located, reaching 16% of global revenues. Net revenue growth is 16% in India to support infrastructure growth.

“Bentley has achieved exports to greater China, where our revenue have more than doubled in last three years, and are positioned to continue this,” said Bentley. Bentley brands that have grown most consistently even throughout the downturn include STAAD, Bentley Map, ProSteel, and AutoPIPE along with the entire sectors of structural, bridge and electrical engineering.

In the most recent Daratech lead tables, Bentley holds the #2 position in AEC software, #3 position with Hexagon #2 and ESRI #1 in the GIS/geospatial category.

Bentley said that Bentley Systems defines “infrastructure” as everything humans build to improve our planet.

Sustainable License through Annual Portfolio Balancing

“We would rather have our users see their Bentley licensing investment as a sound investment not as an expense,” said Bentley. “With portfolio balancing our users can annually exchange their current applications for a new combination of equal value so when a user organization licenses a single application from Bentley and covers it under the SELECT Program, it essentially allows access to our entire portfolio including new and future products.”

Huw Roberts, global marketing director for building and structural engineering, licensed architect, said in a Q&A session at the end of the call that what the sustainable license means for a firm doing site design work before the downturn, for example, is that this year at their renewal they may have site products but would like to increase their RAM and Structural licenses. “At the time of renewal we show them the value of what they’ve been using and they can morph that into adding to the same value in terms of current list price, which in this case would effectively swap out some of the civil site design products in favor of structural analysis products.”

iWare Apps Released

During the conference call, Roberts pointed out that interoperability is crucial and the company is continually working toward achieving higher interoperability.

Throughout 2010, Bentley advanced the adoption of iModels, which are containers for open infrastructure information exchange that enable interoperability. Now in 2011, Roberts said, Bentley is accelerating the value of iModels by providing apps and plug-ins including those for competitive products that share information required for interoperable operations. “We call these iWare apps,” said Roberts. “Bentley is making these available for free for this purpose. And the launch of Bentley’s iWare apps site at provides fast and easy access to iWare apps along with links to free training on their use and reference documentation.”

iModel provides integrated structural modeling (ISM) methodology for the creators and consumers of structural project information across multiple vendors’ apps. Most recently Bentley announced OpenPlant offerings, based on ISO 15926 which share and meet the goals of the iRing user community for real time sharing of plant lifecycle data and information across organizations. The new iWare apps site is organized to highlight apps specifically for users of Autodesk Revit, Bentley products and MicroStation and Windows. There will be more iWare apps coming soon.

Roberts expanded on iWare during the Q&A session: “iWare supports the interaction between software that don’t have an industry standard to support that interaction fully. For example, one of the apps up there is an iModel plug-in for Revit that allows an Autodesk Revit user to interact with the integrated structural modeling (ISM) software portfolio and methodology. There is no industry standard to support the level of information needing to be exchanged in that type of environment. Of course, our apps support a broad range of industry standard. We highlight ISO 15926 here but IFCs, LEED, OGC and others are all included, however, the iWare extends that with more specialized exchanges between apps.”

SACS Acquisition Announced

Anne Marie Walters, marketing director for the global oil and gas industry and the power generation industry, spoke about that industry being primarily for the onshore market to date and the SACS acquisition which expands that reach to offshore oil and gas operations. Greg Bentley said that 70% of the earth lies offshore and is “an ever important venue for new structure types.” Walters actually worked on an oil rig in a past life.

“The SACS is an integrated finite element structural analysis suite of programs that uniquely provides for the design, fabrication, installation, operations, and maintenance of offshore structures, including oil platforms and wind farms. Thirty-eight years of focus on these specialized requirements have made SACS the analysis mainstay for most of the world’s offshore engineers. Virtually all of the world’s energy companies specify SACS software for use by their engineering firms across the lifecycle of fixed offshore platforms,” according to a press release issued on Wednesday, March 2.

Bentley reinvests in 20% of all software revenues in research and development. Since 2001, Bentley has invested more than $1 billion in R&D and acquisitions.

Bentley has acquired the SACS software business from Engineering Dynamics Inc. SACS has been around for 38 years and is a leading analysis software for oil platforms and windfarms. It uniquely covers the entire lifecycle of these structures, from the design fabrication and installation offshore of these assets to ongoing operations and maintenance within marine environments. It is an analysis tool of choice, specified by almost all oil companies globally and used by numerous engineering firms, according to Walters.

Bentley is already #1 in the structural analysis and design market for building, plant, bridge, civil and geotechnical apps, “the addition of SACS suite extends these marketing leading offering to include innovate functionality and analysis algorithms covering the range of offshore effects,” said Walters. “This includes the impact of waves and marine growth or erosion on the structure or environmental loading, ship collision, transpiration analysis, the floating of the structure out to sites behind a barge, and excellent functionality for subsea geotechnical analysis. This is for analyzing foundations on a seabed.”

“With increasing demand for offshore exploration, and the requirements for even better safety, especially in light of recent events in the Gulf of Mexico, capabilities provided by the SACS software are essential to meeting offshore engineering challenges today,” continued Walters. “Especially the challenges of faster time to serve oil through compressed constructing schedules and ongoing analysis and re-analysis of the structures as drilling operations improve and extend the lives of many of these platforms way beyond what they were originally designed for. We see significant value in the integration of SACS with a number of Bentley products. For example, ProSteel and ProConcrete for structural detailing and fabrication, filling the need among many offshore design teams for automated documentation and detailing capabilities.”

Bentley AutoPIPE pipe stress analysis software can model operations pipe loads helping to speed the engineering of offshore piping systems and the structures and ProjectWise helps project teams design, construct and deliver these offshores structures faster.

Acquisition will build on enhancing the existing successful open integration that we have built between structure and plant which has already driven significant revenue growth for Bentley in the onshore market. The combination of ongoing analysis between structure and piping will help users improve the safety and operational performance of their offshore assets. Using the AssetWise platform to support handover into operations and ongoing management of engineering content across the lifecycle will increase the productivity of offshore operations and maintenance personnel significantly as they strive to meet increasing regulatory demands.

This acquisition also offers a significant opportunity for growth in the windfarm market, according to Walters.

During the Q&A, Walters expanded on the use of the iModels with ISO 15926: “iModel supports ISO 15926 standard and also iRing. First ISO 15926 is a very flexible and extensible standard for the exchange of information across the lifecycle of the process industry but primarily covering the application between engineering applications. Over the past ten years it has been developed primarily by the oil and gas industry, but is finding increasing adoption now in the power industry. iRing is a community of users using the ISO 15926 standard to collaborate with each other using different systems in real time and on real projects. Bentley decided about four years ago this standard was the best way to achieve interoperation between our applications and many of which we have acquired that have very different formats. This serves users better so they can use tools they choose to use.”

“Subsequently we have developed a suite of apps to go from PlantSuite that actually use the ISO 15926 data model natively to enable real time collaboration across different systems. iModels are an enabling technology to transfer packets of self describing information between apps,” explained Walters. “Our OpenPlant tools use iModels to transfer ISO 15926 packets between apps and have been used to transfer information to and from the iRing in real time. Many of our users are using iModels to encapsulate their own data to go to and from iRing in the ISO 15926 format and also transfer data within their own proprietary environment.”

Top News of the Week

Autodesk Reports 16 Percent Fourth Quarter Revenue Growth

Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced, during its first Annual Corporate Update conference call, the company’s performance highlights for 2010 and a number of important new initiatives, including an innovative change in licensing practices that sustains the value of users’ software investments, easy access to no-cost software for interoperability, and the acquisition of leading analysis software for offshore structures.

Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced an innovative new “sustainable licensing” business model based on annual Portfolio Balancing. With this industry milestone, users no longer need to settle for software investments that depreciate in value due to changing technology, project mix, or operations needs.

Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced the launch of its iWare Apps site at The new site provides fast and easy access to Bentley’s no-cost iWare Apps for enhanced interoperability, along with links to free training in their use and in-depth reference documentation. It also provides iWare Links to additional no-cost apps developed by other organizations that also facilitate interoperability.

Autodesk, Inc. announced updates to AutoCAD WS, a free* web and mobile application that uses cloud computing technology to enable AutoCAD software users to view, edit and share their designs through web browsers and mobile devices. With more than 900,000 downloads, AutoCAD WS now supports viewing, editing and sharing of 2D Autodesk Inventor DWG files. Other improvements include top-requested multi-language support, with the addition of eight new languages, as well as improvements to enhance the mobile experience while working with editing and display tools.


Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced, during its first Annual Corporate Update conference call, that it has acquired the SACS business from Engineering Dynamics, Inc. SACS is an integrated finite element structural analysis suite of programs that uniquely provides for the design, fabrication, installation, operations, and maintenance of offshore structures, including oil platforms and wind farms. (see feature story)

Autodesk, Inc. has acquired Scaleform Corporation, a privately held middleware and user interface (UI) tools company, for approximately $36 million in cash. Autodesk announced its intent to acquire Scaleform on February 15, 2011. Scaleform's technology has aided in the development of more than 800 games for a variety of hardware platforms, including Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation 3 (PS3).

ROTECH Consulting, Inc. (ROTECH), a construction technology firm that specializes in project management and scheduling solutions and Meridian Value Added Reseller (VAR),  announced that Meridian Systems has recognized ROTECH as a top partner for 2010. Meridian’s global reseller network enhances customers; investments in Meridian software solutions by providing in-depth industry experience and value-added
implementation and training services. Top partner recognition went to companies that demonstrated performance and customer service excellence in 2010.

GlobalSpec announced its partnership with Catalog Data Solutions, a leading SaaS provider of online catalogs and CAD solutions for industrial suppliers.


Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that registration for this year’s Be Together: The Bentley User Conference is now open to all architects, engineers, constructors, geospatial professionals, and CAD managers. The conference takes place May 23-26, 2011, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pa., and carries the theme “Sharpen Your Edge.” 

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the " What Construction Lawyers Need to Know Before Negotiating/Drafting Owner and General Contractor Agreements in 2011 " audioconference to their offering.

In What Construction Lawyers Need to Know Before Negotiating/Drafting Owner and General Contractor Agreements in 2011, ExecSense examines the most up-to-date best practices that other leading construction lawyers have found to be most successful when negotiating and drafting such agreements for 2011. Take the 60 minutes to view this webinar (on your computer, mobile phone, iPod, iPad, Kindle or printed out) to learn what parts of these agreements are now being structured differently, as well as tips and techniques to help you better negotiate and draft owner/general contractor agreements in the current economy.

GRAITEC, a worldwide developer for analysis and detailing software is pleased to announce that Advance Steel, its software dedicated to structural engineers and steel detailers, is now available in Traditional Chinese. This was made possible with the contribution of Autosoftware Technology, a GRAITEC Taiwanese partner.

Hexagon AB will host its inaugural international conference, Hexagon 2011, 6-9 June at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida, USA. As part of the Geosystems @ Hexagon 2011 track, Leica Geosystems is currently seeking speaking candidates for its Trends in Mapping & Positioning for Government & Industry sub-track. 


Deltek, Inc. announced that it has appointed Catherine Morales as its new EVP and General Manager of INPUT. INPUT powers Deltek’s information solutions network, providing leading market intelligence, research, events and analysis that helps companies identify, manage and win more government business.

New Products

 at the Game Developer's Conference (GDC), AMD announced a technology demonstration of a Bullet Physics plug-in for Autodesk Maya 2011 software. The new plug-in is based on OpenCL industry standards and the open-source Bullet Physics Engine.

Autodesk, Inc. announced new releases of the company’s digital entertainment creation software and middleware. The 2012 versions enable iterative workflows, help users manage complexity and provide new creative tools. Autodesk products have been used to create popular movies like “Black Swan,” chart-topping video games such as “Medal of Honor,” primetime television commercials like the “Bridgestone ‘Carma’” Super Bowl ad and hit television shows such as “Glee.”

AVEVA will be showcasing the latest developments in its laser technology including AVEVA IntelliLaser, as a premium sponsor at SPAR 2011.

AVEVA IntelliLaser was first announced at SPAR’s European sister event in December. As a new extension to the AVEVA NET information management solution, IntelliLaser provides digital navigation of the physical asset, enabling process plant owner operators to cost-effectively add intelligence to laser-scan data. With IntelliLaser 3D laser survey data is turned into a rich data source for asset management via the web.

Dassault Systèmes announced the general availability of DraftSight for Windows, a no-cost 2D CAD product for CAD professionals, students and educators. To date, more than 400,000 users have downloaded DraftSight. Originally launched in Beta version in June 2010, the general release for Windows includes many key enhancements and updates based on user feedback. DraftSight is available for download at

Bricsys the author of Bricscad and VidCAD LLC software company for engineering design and documentation tools, announced  that the VidCAD SQL
Engineering suite of products is now available for Bricscad V11. So far the software had been available for AutoCAD only.

Cadac Organice BV, Microsoft Partner Network member and developer of Cadac Organice (a SharePoint based engineering document management solution), introduces an update of the entire Cadac Organice product suite.

The updated product suite includes:

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