Phil Chistensen, Senior Vice President of Reality Modeling and Cloud Services, Bentley, shares his views on the Bentley Systems’ step towards digitising data for the Indian construction industry in a short interview with Sudeshna Mukherjee, Assistant Editor, CE&CR at their ‘Going Digital’ event at Hyatt Regency, New Delhi on 7th June 2018.
CECR: India’s infrastructure Industry is growing. Considering that, how is the demand for advanced software solutions reflected in this industry?
Phil Christensen:
Well there is no doubt about the growth, so, we obviously look at a lot of data from around the world and how much investment is going into different kinds of infrastructure - like rail, road, water system, etc. And, so we see India as being right up in the top, certainly in the top five countries in the world in terms of infrastructure investment. In terms of the way advanced software is being adopted, what we see often in countries like India and China is the ability to kind of jump over generations of technology.
So in developed countries, you know, we started out from the base and then on the more advanced stuff whereas for many infrastructure projects here, there is a jump to the latest and greatest technology. We see a demand for the most advanced capabilities here, which is fantastic. One example of that would be what we call a connected data environment. Here with engineering companies using modelling tools and infrastructure owners, who are consuming their assets. And, then we have the common data environment ProjectWise and AssetWise, and we are seeing that that is very popular here. People are understanding that the key to future success is management of the engineering data and so there is a lot of interest there. And so, it’s coming up, a jump straight to the best technology.
CECR: Then according to you, which technology has played to consolidate your market position in the past? And how important is it to upgrade this technology from the management’s point of view?
The thing about technology is that it never stops, right? We are continually on a growth and change curve and if you look at some of the technologies which I referred to in my presentation, like ‘Cloud Computing’, ‘GP Processing’, and ‘Mobile Applications’. These are all relatively new and are all coming at the same time but in terms of where we built our market, we have an original position globally and in India, which was on the design model insight. Our business moves forward and now we have a strong business in India and globally on the asset management side.We call that ‘Asset Performance Management’ and then the part in the middle is ProjectWise product, which is really our engineering data management. So, design applications have been our foundation but in the future there might be more on the data management side and the asset management side, which all have been the bigger part of our business. And then the other interesting thing you know is reality modelling. So, this is a whole new type of engineering data: the ability to capture existing sites or existing brown
Generic placeholder image Phil Christensen
Senior Vice President, Reality Modeling and Cloud Services
Bentley Systems
field assets and create digital models of them automatically from photography. That’s a real game-changing technology, but that’s in its very early stages now but we see it as being another technology power force.
CECR: Phil, what are your opinions on the next five years of the Indian Construction Industry?
Well it’s going to be busy, that’s for sure. It’s going to be very busy and I think we are going to see quite a major evolution on work flow and business process. I really think that’s happening now. We see companies that are no longer willing to just use a conventional work flow of forms and PDFs. They want to go with the next step of ‘going digital’ so they want to have digital models, and share those digital models, and then deliver those digital models to the field. So, I think that it is going to be a big change, and I think everyone understands that there is so much work to be done, right? There is so many infrastructure to be built in the next five years, and we can’t possibly do it with an existing workforce and the existing technology. We must adopt these new, more advanced ways of doing things so that each person in the whole organization, in the whole project, has access to the data that they need very quickly. So I think that’s the key, because their demand is going to drive technology process and go from a drawer in-and-out world to a more data-driven world.
CECR: What has been Bentley Systems’ experience while conducting business in India?
We have been here for a long time. I’m not sure when we started – may be 10 or 15 years ago. We have over 500 colleagues in India involved in every aspect of the business – like software development, support, sales, and finance. So the market is growing very strongly and it’s like in the top five markets of the company, and we’re seeing an acceleration of growth.
Historically, India was a market where there was a steady growth and now we are seeing that acceleration in the forthcoming five years is obvious particularly around our five focus areas such as road, rail, metro, water, and oil and gas. There is going to be substantial investment in transportation and water, and we have our very broad portfolio for each of these markets. So yes, we see an acceleration coming and you know, one of my roles in Bentley is that of the Executive Sponsor of India and that means taking feedback to the executive team and Bentley about the opportunities and requirements in the Indian market.
We are very optimistic and I’ll be visiting here more often with more India specific initiatives. We tried this out in China, which has been very successful, and we are going to have more initiatives that will be specific to the Indian market. We don’t do that very often, we really don’t, actually it’s pretty much only China and India where we really do that, so the fact that we have started to do that, shows how important the market is here.
Kaushik Chakraborty, Vice President, Southeast Asia & India, Bentley, shares his company’s plans on their step towards digitising the data, for a more efficient movement within theIndian construction industry in this interview with Sudeshna Mukherjee, Assistant Editor, CE&CR at their ‘Going Digital’ event at Hyatt Regency, New Delhi on 7th June 2018.
CECR: India’s infrastructure Industry is growing. Considering that, how is the demand for advanced software solutions reflected in this industry?
Kaushik Chakraborty:
I’m hoping that you will be able to spend some time this afternoon in our events and listen to some of our users speak. That itself is going to show you that the users are adapting. So as the infrastructure cycle, specially the heavy civil like highways, new roads, new metros and new airports grows in India, the demand for information technology solutions, the demand for engineering solutions, better modelling, better information management solutions, and better construction management solutions will grow. The biggest challenge in the construction industry is delivering on time and delivering on budget, and the only way we can realistically deliver on time and on budget is by using IT solutions’ modified technique, not just for engineering design and analysis but also for management of information, management of the change of information, and a more transparent way of working across the project lifecycle. So, the growth is exciting, it is faster than what we have ever seen in the past, and we hope that we can be a part of this journey as our users evolvein India.
CECR: So then according to you, which technology has played to consolidate your market position in the past? And how important is it to upgrade this technology from the management’s point of view?
We consistently research and development of all our applications. So, we have gone from where we used to have a new release of a software application once every couple of years to now the appbased methodology, which is, you know everyday, apps on our phones, I mean. At Bentley we are moving towards a very regular feed of upgrading all our software applications on a monthly-quarterly basis, right?So our users don’t have that one big-bang approach at the end of a year or at the end of two years. But it’s drift fed, it is something which is not going to disturb their work, their work flows and processes. We are learning from the whole app and the digital2.0 - the digital economy, and the digital industry to see how we change our approach in the engineering industry and make sure that we can give our users access to the latest and the best aspects of our applications without disrupting them. The CONNECT Edition, you know, which we talked about this morning; that’s been around for a few years now, so now most of our applications are on CONNECT and every application has built-in learning, development, real-time answers to questions and the ability to connect to different users. We want to get our users connected--connected users-connected projects and connected enterprises-- so that information can be shared, right? If one project is doing something interesting, through a connected application, you can share that with somebody else so then it is cross functional learning. Why does somebody have to rethink what someone else has already answered? That is our aim with the CONNECT Edition and I think that we have been quite unique in our industry with this approach. So, it is well received by our users because it’s not disruptive.
CECR: What are your opinions on the next five years of the Indian Construction Industry?
It’s going to grow. It is going to grow faster; it’s going to get digitized and like the rest of the world there is a lot of unorganized sectors working within construction and that makes it inefficient. But, therefore, you have all the opportunities to make it more efficient. What is exciting is that a lot of where technology and IT
Generic placeholder image Kaushik Chakraborty
Vice President, Southeast Asia & India
Bentley Systems
was prohibitive from a cost perspective is today possible with mobile devices, mobile internet, and cloud computing, the cost of putting simple applications into the hands of even a construction worker has reduced so much that I think it’s no longer prohibitive. With mobile devices, everybody can access simple apps.It’s no longer that they have to go and learn that so that’s the exciting part; Now, we can put better work flows in the hands of even the last person on a site, which he or she can understand and use and through simple 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi, communicate in real time with the rest of the project. These enhancements are being adopted by our users in India, as projects are being rolled out.
CECR: Sir, what has been Bentley Systems’ experience while conducting business in India?
Very positive. We see that this market is very receptive to change; we have customized commercial models, which we offer our users in India. We are moving aggressively towards ‘pay as you use’ commercial models rather than a traditional Cap-ex based ‘buy once and have software solutions’. So the ‘pay as you use’ has been accepted in the market very well, especially the construction industry. There are a lot of private players, so for them this is a very cost-effective way of adopting because they may not need something for the rest of the year. They may need something for two months and then they pay and use it in two months, and if they have the need in six months, they can use that again. So, our users are very appreciative of these commercial models, which allow them some flexibility. For us it is about enhancements and innovations in technology, enhancements and innovation in the delivery mechanisms of the technology, enhancements and usage in the commercial models. We’ve talked about Advancement Academy in terms of training centres and training partners, which we are building, so that eco system makes sure that our users adopt the technology. The most important KPI for us at Bentley is to look at user success. And user success comes from adoption, not from acquisition. You can buy the best product in the world but if it is unused, then it is really of no use. Our emphasis and focus are to make sure that we make our software products and applications simple to use, make sure our users have avenues to learn and adopt the most cost-effective and timely manner in the local cities. That’s why we have training partners across the country, so that wherever you are – even if it is a tier two city or a tier three city, you can adapt to the Bentley software and Bentley technologies. It is pretty simple.

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