Siemens and Bentley Further Their Alliance

In late November 2012, Siemens and Bentley Systems announced a strategic collaboration to integrate digital product design and manufacturing processes design offerings by Siemens PLM Software with information modeling for facilities lifecycle design offerings by Bentley. Initially, the companies will focus on the digital factory for automotive and discrete manufacturing. In other words, the Siemens Industry Automation Division and Bentley will initially collaborate on common file formats and content, integrated workflows for factory layout, and the convergence of process and layout. This work is an extension of earlier collaborations between the two organizations that resulted in each deploying technology offerings developed by the other (see the related news item).

In the longer term, the companies will explore opportunities for jointly developed technology to expand industry-centric solutions and further collaboration interoperability between Siemens' Teamcenter and Bentley's ProjectWise software. Teamcenter product lifecycle management (PLM) software provides the right information for people to make the right product decisions—from planning and development through manufacturing and support. For its part, the ProjectWise system of collaboration servers and services fosters work sharing, facilitating the use of virtual talent, dynamic review for improved project quality, and content reuse for extended value. Together, Bentley and Siemens plan to empower their shared users to speed the delivery and outfitting of manufacturing facilities, accelerate the start of production, reduce design, construction, and operating expenses, and improve the operational and energy performance of their factories.

Partners with Benefits?

It will be interesting to watch whether this increasingly close relationship will eventually evolve into a merger. An acquisition would make sense for Siemens, but perhaps Bentley wants to attempt to stay independent. The aforementioned Siemens Industry Automation Division supports the entire value chain of its industrial customers—from product design to production and services—with an impressive combination of automation technology, industrial control technology, and industrial software. With its software solutions, the Siemens Industry Automation Division comprises five business units: Industrial Automation Systems, Control Components and Systems Engineering, Sensors and Communications, Siemens PLM Software, and Water Technologies.

Bentley Systems provides architects, engineers, geospatial professionals, constructors, and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure. Bentley Systems applies information mobility to improve asset performance by leveraging information modeling through integrated projects for intelligent infrastructure. Its solutions encompass the MicroStation platform for infrastructure design and modeling, the aforementioned ProjectWise platform for infrastructure project team collaboration and work sharing, and the AssetWise platform for infrastructure asset operations. All of these offerings support a broad portfolio of interoperable applications and are complemented by worldwide professional services.

Siemens has not been a major factor in the realms of architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) and building information modeling (BIM), where Autodesk, Nemetschek, and Bentley fiercely compete. Enterprise asset management (EAM) is another realm where Siemens has yet to become more involved. To that end, Siemens and Bentley have also identified future endeavors involving Bentley’s AssetWise software for asset lifecycle information management. This scope will also including the newly acquired Ivara EXP asset performance management software that helps owner-operators obtain the best performance, reliability-centered maintenance, and safety from their assets.
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