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Catching Up: Bentley, Intergraph, PTC, Siemens and COFES

I may be quite busy and on travel, but the engineering software world rolls on. A couple of interesting tidbits:

– According to Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems, engineering software provides significant return on investment by improving standards of living through making our infrastructure "smart" — applying information technology to the assets we already have to make them more efficient, reach under-served populations and conserve resources — creating opportunities for owner-operators to generate revenue and be more profitable. Bentley Systems is a privately-held software supplier that focuses on infrastructure: the architecture, civil, geospatial and plant design realms. Bentley was interviewed by Directions Media (podcast) recently and shared some information on how the company is doing: Bentley Systems reached $500 million in revenue in 2008 but, according to Greg Bentley, is not seeking an IPO because privately-held companies can have a "longer-term perspective" and be more active in making strategic acquisitions, even in an economic downturn. The majority of the company’s revenue is by subscription, which has led to record operating revenue, margins and net income in 2008. Q1 2009 revenue was down about 1.5% from a year ago.

– Intergraph also issued very limited information about its performance in 2008. The Process, Power & Marine division saw revenue increase 13% to about $340 million while the Security, Government & Infrastructure division’s revenue grew to 18% to about $470 million. PP&M revenue, according to an email blast, was up 4% over Q1 of last year, flying in the face of many other companies’ reports. I’ve asked for more details; will update if warranted.

– PTC is hosting its annual user conference this week and has issued a spate of press release, one announcing its acquisition of Relex Software Corp., a privately-held provider of software and services for analyzing design and field data in order to evaluate and improve product reliability and safety. Relex employes about 50 people, so common multiples would
put revenue in $1 million to $5 million range, not material for a company of PTC’s size. According to PTC’s FAQ on the acquisition, "Relex offers an extensive and comprehensive tool set which includes reliability prediction, system modeling, failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA), risk analysis, cost analysis, and statistical tools."

– PTC also announced that is has added several new partners to its Maintenance Gold Loyalty Program which rewards active maintenance customers with special offers and discounts from selected PTC software and hardware partners. Active maintenance customers are automatically enrolled in the no-cost program. Participating partners now include 3Dconnexion, CADNexus, Dell, Knovel, Lenovo, Mentor Graphics, Objet Geometries, Virtalis, and Z Corporation. It’s an interesting idea: perhaps the partners get first consideration when a PTC customers needs to expand its installation and the customers get what is referred to in the press release as "economical" pricing. It’s unclear how much business this drives for the partners.

– Siemens PLM held its user conference last week. The company has posted a number of management and customer presentations and short videos online at its blog. I’m always both impressed and dismayed at what the users are going through. Impressed because they continue making their products while trying to adapt to changing markets, tools and
infrastructures. Dismayed because they each seem to be going it alone — many of the problems these individual speakers are solving at their companies have been solved thousands of times over as many as 10 years. For every two steps forward by the vendor community, the user community seems to lag a step farther behind.

– Finally, COFES has posted audio of many sessions from the April event. Click on the photos to get audio. You can hear me lead a discussion on the reseller economy (don’t be put off by the horrible photo!), Jay Vleeshhouwer on the financial performance of the public PLM companies as well as when he thinks the economy will improve, Bruce Jenkins on
CAE and lots of other good stuff.

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