Bentley alliance with Siemens re-emphasises the importance of the cloud and a “connected data environment”.
The recent Bentley Year in Infrastructure conference in London passed with hardly a mention of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) first mooted in July 2015 – on 2 November, for the second year running, CEO Greg Bentley dampened IPO speculation, briefly citing continued market uncertainty. Of course, this didn’t stop journalists and other industry watchers talking about it privately (not least because Aconex’s IPO, and the subsequent share price climb, appears to have heightened investor interest in the AEC tech sector), with some talk about what had happened to technology giant Siemens – prominent at Bentley’s YII in 2013 and also seen by some as a potential acquirer.
It now appears that a joint announcement with Siemens had been planned, but this was postponed to coincide with Siemens annual press conference on 10 November – at which Siemens and Bentley announced a strategic alliance agreement, aiming to “accelerate digitalization to advance infrastructure project delivery and asset performance in complementary business areas.”
The two companies will initially invest at least €50m (c US$54m or £43m) in developing joint solutions to enlarge their respective offerings for infrastructure and industry, while – echoing a recurring YII2016 theme (post) – leveraging “new cloud services for a connected data environment to converge respective digital engineering models from both companies”. Siemens has also acquired approximately €70m million of secondary shares of Bentley’s common stock, under a company programme that will continue until such time as Bentley Systems’ stock is publicly traded.
The news release says the new investment will involve virtually all Siemens divisions, “accumulating intelligence from Siemens solutions throughout Bentley’s complementary applications for design modeling, analytical modeling, construction modeling and asset performance modeling.” The release continues:
Siemens and Bentley Systems have identified opportunities to work together in Energy Management, Power Generation, Building Technology and Mobility where each company can leverage their respective technology and industry expertise to bring new business value to the market. For example, Bentley’s applications for the 3D modeling and structural analysis of industrial and infrastructure assets complement Siemens’ solutions and unparalleled domain expertise in electrification and automation. Siemens and Bentley Systems will each provide software from the other to deliver complete solutions from either company to the benefit of their respective customers in order to improve their project and asset performance through simulation and virtual commissioning. Development work will benefit from and extend Siemens’ and Bentley Systems’ established commitments to openness and interoperability.