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Bentley Systems: resilience in flexibility IN ASSOCIATION WITH


Bentley Systems’ cloud offering drives business resilience WRITTEN BY




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Jeff Richardson, CDO at Bentley Systems, discusses the state of the art cloud infrastructure that benefits internal and external stakeholders


he global business community has responded to the coronavirus pandemic with considerably more focus on remote

working than has ever been seen before. For every industry, from media to construction, demand 04

has rocketed for technological solutions that will enable continued operations with minimal disruption. Bentley Systems, a world-leading software solutions developer serving major infrastructural construction projects around the world, has long been a proponent of this breed of tech, and today boasts a cutting edge cloud infrastructure whose benefits are more apparent than ever. In normal times, its end-to-end suite of software solutions for such large projects ensures a seamlessness of delivery for its users while cutting-edge telemetry capabilities mean development and subscriptions are current, flexible, and fair. All of that remains true during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the global crisis has revealed that Bentley’s greatest strength is perhaps in the flexibility it offers both external and internal stakeholders.

Jeff Richardson, CDO, Bentley Systems



Year founded

$700mn Revenue in US dollars

3,800 Number of employees

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“We use the rules of compliance as foundational guidelines, and we always try to exceed those guidelines by orders of magnitude” 06

— Jeff Richardson, Chief Data Officer, Bentley Systems

Jeff Richardson, Chief Data Officer at Bentley Systems, has been with the company since 2004, rising through the ranks from an SAP developer to the head of the firm’s data lifecycle and data strategies. In Richardson’s view, ‘global mobility’ is 2020’s key trend, and it has certainly become the undercurrent for business in a world where face-to-face contact is being kept to a minimum. “Businesses have quickly tried to adapt to global mobility now that face-toface culture is out the window, and we instead need to have a culture of ‘can you do your job globally, but remotely to where you are?’” he says. The scope of the construction projects that Bentley facilitates means the capability required goes way beyond the collaboration tools and Zoom meetings that have come to pervade many industries. Building a 100-storey skyscraper, for example, comes with immense data requirements, with file sizes spanning gigabytes and terabytes. “A single BIM model, made of the structural elements of the building, could be many, many gigabytes of data. The question is: how do remote workers seamlessly

Bentley Systems: ProjectWise Components Center Overview CLICK TO WATCH



07 access files of that size to make edits,

on integrating a robust and industry-

updates and run analyses?”

leading cloud security platform. Along

Bentley’s state-of-the-art

with instituting a security office, we

ProjectWise 365 tools provide the

have beefed up our security staff and

answer, with distributed file sharing

infrastructure by around 800% in

and caching technology that enable

the past five years, we’re constantly

workers to easily operate within the

running penetration exercises on our

cloud regardless of where and when

cloud infrastructure, and we are just

they are, all with the confidence that

now implementing mock data breach

the system is secure and continually

scenarios with our larger cloud infra-

stress-tested against potential threats.

structure compliance and data teams.

“Living in a cloud-focused world,

As we store more and more of our

security is huge for us. Our CIO, Claire

users’ data in the cloud, it is both our

Rutkowski, came on board in October

responsibility and desire to be as safe

2016 and has been heavily focused

and resilient as possible.” w w nt l ey. com



During this period of business

‘ELS contracts’, Richardson explains:

instability and uncertainty, Bentley’s

“We were selling contracts like that as

protections for its customers have

far as back as 2006 - I’ve never heard

extended beyond its cybersecurity.

of another company that was doing

Owing to the business disruptions, the

the same that far back in time. With

company has waived the pay-what-you-

the light telemetry we had available

use subscription fees for ProjectWise

to measure usage, we were able to

through to 30 September 2020; a

do that.” Data gathered from across

measure that ties closely with Bentley’s

software suites has not only enabled

mantra that its success is measured

reactive and incisive development of

by that of its users. The firm has been

successive products, but has made

a pioneer of this payment-by-usage

the pay-for-what-you-use model the

subscription model, known internally as

norm for Bentley for over a decade.


Jeff Richardson Jeff Richardson is a seasoned data and analytics executive leader with a cloud-first focus on evolving technology and trends. Over a 17-year career, he has crafted a results-driven strategy for growth and delivered outcomes which have helped Bentley achieve a leading position in cloud technology, record revenue and user growth.

Today, the latest data measurements are even more precise and complex, making for a robust service model that is accurately proportionate to the user’s needs. Not only does each contract have an unlimited potential value ceiling for Bentley, they also ensure users are never encumbered with a subscription that they don’t need and actively use. The tech also paints a

A prolific speaker on the topics of cloud, data and analytics, Richardson can often be found at conferences and networking events in the Greater Philadelphia and mid-Atlantic area. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Providence College, where he was also a Division I swimmer, a master’s degree in Statistics from Central Connecticut State University and recently completed a business capstone program at Yale University.

picture of the usage increase that has come with vaster proportions of workforces working from home during the w w nt l ey. com


For an open relationship with your data.

Multi-cloud Data Integration & Analytics |

11 COVID-19 pandemic. “When the crisis hit, many companies who were using other, server-based products in offices became stuck and couldn’t access those resources. For our customers, the users of our distributed cloud products, the transition was seamless and we can actually see that in the telemetry. It shows us that our work-sharing products had no disruption in usage during the country-based shutdowns resulting from the pandemic. In fact, our collaboration tools actually saw an 8-13% increase in usage, year on year,

“A single BIM model, made of the structural elements of the building, could be many, many gigabytes of data. The question is: how do remote workers seamlessly access files of that size to make edits, updates, and run analysis” — Jeff Richardson, Chief Data Officer, Bentley Systems

from last year.” w w nt l ey. com


Partners enabled us to build an analytical suite in conjunction with our Microsoft Azure partnership.”


“Bentley tends to partner with software vendors very tightly to build solutions for things that work for us and can be fed back into the larger software development ecosystem. SAP is a great example, and we’ve been a tight partner with them since about 2005. We use SAP for all of our internal applications, such as ERP and CRM systems, to run operations internally along with its people management and success factors. We work very closely with SAP to develop products that we’re going to use, and I’m positive that development is used to enhance SAP’s only products too.”

“Over the past ten years, Qlik has been a great software vendor and partner for Bentley. We’re using the most recent release of its cloudfocused Sense technology, and it has

“I have a close relationship with a lot of the guys that started the company. As an analytics and data storagefocused cloud developer, Thoughtspot is positioned to be the market leader in cloud-based analytics.”

“We recently partnered with Snowflake to support our cloud-first approach, and it is rapidly growing to become the leader in data warehousing and storage technology. We’re going to use Snowflake internally to store our featurelevel data, which consists of huge amounts of highly detailed telemetry data. Their pricing structure is very elastic, with a fair billing model focused on pay-what-you-use, just like Bentley.”

The sheer capability and flexibility

develop solutions in collaboration with

of Bentley’s cloud infrastructure, which

its key vendors to solidify its leadership

has in recent years been a huge invest-

in the market. Not only that, but cloud-

ment focus for the firm, has been

based operations have made Bentley

predicated on CEO Greg Bentley’s

enormously flexible in how it operates,

insistence that its operations are

meaning that, of its 3,800 staff world-

cloud-first and cloud-forward wherever

wide, Richardson says that only 73

possible. This pioneering approach

were unable to dive into the working-

to cloud, dating back to the launch

from-home scenario of the coronavirus

of Microsoft Azure and the subse-

pandemic from day one.

quent close partnership that the two

Across such global operations, this is

firms have shared since, has enabled

a great indicator of Bentley’s flexibility

Bentley to both seize the opportunities

at work. As the coronavirus pandemic

of cloud-centralised operations and

gathered pace, Senior Leadership of

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“Living in a cloud-focused world, security is huge for us. Our CIO, Claire Rutkowski, came on board in October 2016 and has been heavily focused on integrating a robust and industry-leading cloud security platform” — Jeff Richardson, Chief Data Officer, Bentley Systems

IT meetings were held to workshop worst case scenarios, and the preparation that resulted has ensured what Richardson calls a “totally seamless” shift to the new normal. Questions of access to vital resources from home, including licences, hardware and software were answered promptly in a show of remarkable preparedness in such unprecedented times. “We use the rules of compliance as foundational guidelines, and we always try to exceed those guidelines


by orders of magnitude; comply-

the next decade.” This sentiment is

ing whilst building infrastructure

reflected in Bentley’s continued ability

that supports those guidelines in a

to serve its clients and continue as nor-

best practice sense, and exceeding

mal internally, a powerful indicator that

those standards as far as possible,”

Bentley’s cloud software will retain its

Richardson enthuses, highlighting

market leadership long into the future.

the strategic focus that has ensured Bentley Systems is ready for anything. To close, Richardson shares the ethos at the heart of Bentley’s operations: “We don’t want to build cloud software that’s reliable for today, we want to build cloud software that’s reliable for w w nt l ey. com



Profile for Business Chief USA

Bentley Systems - July 2020  

Bentley Systems - July 2020  

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