Friday, July 11, 2008

Autodesk and Bentley Thoughts

Great question. Basically, a non-profit government organization with hardly any funding and a volunteer base (that I’m a part of) is in one corner and an 800+ pound gorilla with an unlimited budget is in the other (that I’m on the R and D team for). I think what a large portion of the industry doesn’t seem to understand is that IFC will be fine to use…in 5 years, but in five years what they develop will be obsolete. Of course, the best solution would be to develop an Interoperability Standards group that is an honest-to-goodness company that consults with these corporations on a full time basis, otherwise the NIBS groups will never be nimble enough to catch up with the rapid development of the software.

Also Revit, Bentley and ArchiCAD have spent a decade developing their software and aren’t about to just give up their profit as they are corporations and are ultimately responsible to their shareholders.

In regards to Bentley, I think it’s probably the best decision they’ve ever made and I’m sure their image of being “the interoperable software of choice” market perception will go up. Between you and me Autodesk has been positioning to purchase Bentley for some time, but from what I’ve heard the asking price is outrageous. So this might be a little friendly positioning on the part of Autodesk to steal market share away from Bentley users, the ol’ if you can’t buy ‘em join ‘em thing. Hard to say, either way though IFC’s aren’t there yet and the software industry will continue to define what “standards” of transfer protocols are best. NavisWorks was really the best IFC software available, but we all know how that ended up! =)

Just a couple thoughts…either way it doesn’t make it easier for NIBS or the IAI.

12 comments:

J.T. Pennington said...

Interesting idea about one of the software companies buying out the other one and the long term answer being an open source.

I agree with you, however, that it might not happen because of the capitalist market in the United States. What's sometimes frustrating for me is when a client requests a specific BIM program that they want that our office doesn't use. Our U.S. Military projects are requesting Bentley BIM, while we use Revit.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we have client a client (FORSCOM)requesting that we use BA and I can only reason that it's because they have been on the .dgn platform for such a long time. BIM is valuable, but it should not be assumed that all providers are equal. In fact they are each very different. BA has been trying to be successful for about 12 years and they still haven't gotten it right. 96% of large firms (AIA LFRT) are using Revit on all new projects. The next most popular BIM application is ArchiCAD's, leaving Bentley last of the big three (which is unfair to say seeing the use numbers, it should be Big One, and little two!) Architects and engineers are smart folks and it would be reasonable to suggest that if the majority of Architects & Engineers have chosen one over the other, then ...
You get the idea.
The most difficult challenge in this transition is dealing with CAD user's negative attitude toward change. I see this especially in Engineering. Many of the engineers in my company are resisting change to this advanced new way of completing projects.
It's frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Random thoughts:

80% of the government is on a Bentley-based architectural and engineering platform. They must be doing something right.

Have you ever used BA on a project, or have you only seen it, or talked to others? Go through the process first, and then let's get a pros/cons.

I would say AIA LFRT has 100% usage of Revit, but not all on new projects. I'd also add that most of the LFRT members are pure architects, very few multi-discipline firms, so let's see what they are all doing.

There are only two firms standardized on ArchiCAD on the AIA LFRT, and one got bought out by a huge Revit user. There are 5-7 firms standardized on Bentley.

When all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail. Keeping yourself open to new experiences, and more tools in your toolkit, will just make you a better rounded provider.

architect11 said...

Well i had to comment on a few things about this past comment...first you're saying that because the governement is doing something it's right! =) i would like to see where you got that statistic, to my knowledge the only standardized group using bentley is the ACOE. VA, GSA and Office of Homeland Security, National Transportation Authority all remain open to any BIM solution.


The large firm roundtable doesn't necessarily decide where the whoe industry is headed but i get what you're saying.

Really I think the opportunity exists for a succssful cross section of software vendors, but I really question the ability, funding and resources that NIBS has to steer the ship of interoperability when you consider that autodesk alone employs over 33times the number of volunteers in NIBS (BIM related) on the software R and D teams.

I think they need to adjust the thinking.

Anonymous said...

To Quote from above:

"80% of the government is on a Bentley-based architectural and engineering platform. They must be doing something right"

And this proves that 90% of statistics are made up 63% of the time when it has a 41% chance of benefitting your position.......

Anonymous said...

Actually, the 80% was brought forth by a gentlemen named Jeffrey Hooghouse, the Deputy Chief of the Corps (said at a SAME meeting in Minnesota).

The gov't includes DOE, which is a lot of projects and cash.

At the end of the day, I'm just suggesting that there are more ways to skin a cat, and that our clients want what they want. We should be client responsive to their needs, wants and wishes.

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

The Pentagon had ADT tried to move up to Revit to do the several billion-dollar renovation but both Autodesk solutions crashed repeatedly. Autodesk did everything they could to make it work with no success so just because everyone uses it is not any indication of it being better. Microsoft dominates the PC market even in homes yet Apple is far superior, again it is perception. Bentley came into the Pentagon, opened their files in minutes, and began working. That is the reason they switched. The single Revit database and tools to deal with that limitation are seemly ignored. Government may not be efficient but they do have the money to choose solutions that work. FAA found this and recently switched to all Bentley.

Anonymous said...

The Pentagon had ADT tried to move up to Revit to do the several billion-dollar renovation but both Autodesk solutions crashed repeatedly. Autodesk did everything they could to make it work with no success so just because everyone uses it is not any indication of it being better. Microsoft dominates the PC market even in homes yet Apple is far superior, again it is perception. Bentley came into the Pentagon, opened their files in minutes, and began working. That is the reason they switched. The single Revit database and tools to deal with that limitation are seemly ignored. Government may not be efficient but they do have the money to choose solutions that work. FAA found this and recently switched to all Bentley.

Anonymous said...

Keith Bentley's view here:
http://communities.bentley.com/blogs/keith_bentleys_blog/archive/2008/07/31/the-bentley-autodesk-agreement-what-does-it-mean-for-bentley-users.aspx

theFly said...

Let me ask you this... Do you think that the family founders of such a great global brand, a family of brilliant software developers and engineers, whom enjoy the face value and interaction with user and the engineering community alike, to make a real difference and continue to build and grow this fantastic global product, with such a devoted global following...would bother, or even consider selling out to a paranoid schizoid corporate entity like them, whom are an impediment to the creativity and the user community except where it profits them? Maybe? but I do not ever think so! And that's it!

Autodesk is a behemoth, a lazy lardy giant with no optimism, creativity other than one that is about aquisition.. it does not have the continuous and potential future growth that Bentley Systems does.

It's Autodesk whom made the grovelling move, not Bentley, and it's Autodesk whom have realized that they can no longer do what they have done for so long.
In some circles I have read that Bentley is admired for it's subscriber program, a bit of envy from the software community...Autodesk would relish the chance to soak up all of Bentley's juicy revenue, anyone would.. but then the devotees, like myself would leave in droves and it would attract rather a bitter anti-trust scrutiny by the corporate regulator.
I don't want to give my money to a conga line of suck holes like the Autodesk board...

Take a look at the juicy AutoCAD 2009 release... was this the product of a mega corporation or a boy kicking around in a sand pit?
Autodesk customers are asked to pay $5-8000 for that!!
Thanks but no thanks!

architect11 said...

The great part about my blog is that everyone can have an opinion. I guess I should be clear here that I'm not a "Die Hard Revit User" or Bentley or ArchiCAD or any of them.....I am however a die hard believer in BIM.

That said, the purpose of this blog is to show how, what and who is furthering the case for BIM and I really don't care which software some users prefer over others, so long as they are making BIM work for them, which is really the desired end result.

Thanks for all of the comments though i think this really has become a hot topic and will be interesting to see where it heads in the coming months.

Anonymous said...

Bentley to me is 3D not BIM.Bentley good in structural,but revit is catching soon,other anaylsis autodesk is leading as after accusition of GBS,ecotect.To me bentley hevacomp is lousy product,its just ep w/o graphic which is free,if people learn ep then its all free.