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Invasion of the CAD Snatchers!

By on March 12, 2013 in Editorial, News, Plant Software with 3 Comments

So I am sitting there working away in my little corner on Friday when all of a sudden, the live chat room became engulfed in the flame (pun intended?) of heated discussion that involved the Intergraph Marketing Machine, Bentley’s OpenPLANT, and how Autodesk’s Plant 3D product intends to dominate mid level market at a time that Owner Operators find themselves in dire need of a working solution. Read on, if you dare!

mini translator:
O/O = Owner Operator
Ingr/IG = Intergraph
P3D = Plant 3D
CW = CADWorx

zortar : CADWorx licenses = CADWorx licenses x 2 !!
p-salad : wOW!
p-salad : Why are y’all picking up CW? y’all using 2012 or 2013?
zortar : Apparently Intergraph is making inroads (Bentley joke) into the major O/O’s and they are requiring 3D CADWorx deliverables.
zortar : we are using 2012
p-salad : O/O’s?
zortar : The Owner/Operators are being told by Ingr that their CADWorx models will eventually work with their Smartplant Foundation
p-salad : AH
zortar : I don’t know but its a marketing effort that is working. Bentley tried for years to accomplish this and Ingr is actually doing it.
p-salad : Who owns SP? I’m pretty ignorant about it
zortar : Intergraph
zortar : Same people that own CADWorx
p-salad : Ok
zortar : And the same people that own Leica (actually Hexagon owns them all)
zortar : So as far as “total enterprise solutions” go
p-salad : Hrmmm
zortar : but that’s only competition on the low end – Autodesk doesn’t have a data-centric offering.
zortar : See: from the O/O POV IG has both the large project data-centric and small-project solutions.
zortar : well
zortar : And Bentley wanted to “move” people from AutoPlant to OpenPlant. Intergraph is saying: “you want both? we like that and we have both”
zortar : With Bentley
p-salad : I didn’t see OP as a replacement
p-salad : It seemed to be a competitor for the big dogs
zortar : Exactly
zortar : *replacement
p-salad : ah

I don’t know but its a marketing effort that is working. Bentley tried for years to accomplish this and Ingr is actually doing it.

zortar : Because they were more interested in converting their user base than providing scalable solutions.
zortar : Which means a big fail in the eyes of the typical AutoCAD/AutoPlant user
p-salad : Bingo
zortar : How long Intergraph can keep CADWorx viable as their low-end solution may be a moot point if they convert the user base over quickly enough.
zortar : O/O’s may eventually see more value in maintaining their data in SP rather than being AutoCAD-compatible.
p-salad : but whats the cost of SP?
zortar : To large O/O’s the enterprise contracts are nomimal (i.e. not a per seat price) AND they get SP and CADWorx bundled for all their sites.
zortar : The SP cost per seat ($30k) precludes us from using it. Also
p-salad : WOW 30K!? but thats a great deal with SP/CW bundled. Now the O/O do all their design work in house right?
zortar : that’s not a bundled per seat price: think BIG like …for example: 5000 users
zortar : you pay $10 million a year for an Intergraph enterprise license that includes ALL of their software. That equates to $2000 per seat per year.
zortar : You get the picture
m3 : how can you possibly derive ‘value’ from those numbers
zortar : O/O IT decision makers aren”t the ones evaluating actual value
zortar : Just like replacing servers with cloud storage. The “real” value is in cost savings and simplifying deployment.
m3 : like

the impact of a true datacentric design system should be carefully considered. It’s significant.

m3 : its quantifying the unquantifiable.
zortar : Companies already have DBA’s and that infrastructure. Example: hundreds of disparate purchasing systems have been replaced by SAP.
m3 : they=?
zortar : Is this new megalithic monster better? Corporations can have more control so they say “yes”. The use just sits there and cusses at SAP.
zortar : *user
zortar : they=corporate IT
zortar : I’m trying to paint a picture of top-down decision making that satisfies the perceived need via a corporate business case.
zortar : Your mileage may vary…
m3 : yeah. I know they have deebeeaeez but the impact of a true datacentric design system should be carefully considered. It’s significant
zortar : Another example: a small refinery
zortar : Corporation X’s IT dept. (in some other state) has a “menu” of software that they are allowed to install. Intergraph solutions have replaced Bentley solutions.
m3 : Ingr is the undisputed champion of the top down strategy!
zortar : That’s what I’m getting at. The value is defined by people far removed from actual usage.
zortar : They hold the purse strings and can justify their decisions due to great marketing.
zortar : Didn’t mean to monopolize the chat…sorry
jedi : what a great read this has been. thx Zortar and PS
zortar : sure
m3 : but in their defense, the product is as solid as a rock.
m3 : the sales pitch just puts it over the top
jedi : Intergraph SP is the big boy right now. its the mid tier piping soluitons that are fair game.
zortar : And quelches objections from the users
jedi : if they pay for it
zortar : they don’t pay for it: they say if you want the work you play with our toys on your dime
jedi : really? thats a bit diff from here.
jedi : wait

ingr’s strategy is to hit the O/O’s and force the change downstream

zortar : I’m seeing more and more of it. That’s what disturbs me. 19 years with AutoPlant and not a single delivered intelligent model.
m3 : OO
zortar : Ingr’s strategy may be to get clients to require CADWorx 3D models as deliverables because Intergraph has told them those models will be SmartPlant-compatible.
zortar : …someday
m3 : ingr’s strategy is to hit the O/O’s and force the change downstream
zortar : zactly!
m3 : which is brilliant
zortar : and painful
m3 : *for them
jedi : Ok i see….BASF
zortar : So the client thinks they’ve leveled the playing field for small EPCs like us by allowing us to use CADWorx instead of SmartPlant.
zortar : How am I to tell them: we don’t want to use CADWorx? They would be like: okay. See ya later!
jedi : when did Itngrpah start the cadworx to SP model conversion marketing?
m3 : lol
m3 : the day after they bought them
jedi : lol
zortar : I don’t know Jedi
jedi : seeing in believing
zortar : I agree with that Jedi. However I have to respond and have no voice in the client’s decisions.
m3 : it’s been that way for years. They are pretty open about it.
zortar : Neither do my local plants. Those decisions are being made at a corporate level – not at the sites.
zortar : A corporation’s argument: before you were getting AutoCAD deliverables. Now with CADWorx you are still getting AutoCAD deliverables…
jedi : ive just not seen first hand that marketing
zortar : …but now those deliverables will be SP-compatible if you require CADWorx.
zortar : I’ve only seen the results of it
zortar : A local EPC just dropped AutoPlant and went with Intergraph-only software. This means in order to compete, their competitors must follow the same path.
zortar : Which means: CADWorx and Smartplant. A fit for all project sizes.
zortar : So
zortar : Which leaves me … out of key!
tkm : GM guys
m3 : z
m3 : are you saying that war is unwinnable?
m3 : its a very interesting and comment worthy topic
m3 : how can P3D beat that strategy.
tkm : I am hearing smart plant a lot
m3 : AFAIK P3D is taking the ground up approach.
zortar : Yes
m3 : The fact that schools are standardizing around Plant 3D is their ace in the hole.
m3 : But that is a long term investment
zortar : well
tkm : wow
zortar : what they thought was an educational grant was only good for one year. I have egg on my face and am trying to salvage it.
m3 : i thought edu. versions were free?
p-salad : P3D is also going after the owners
jv : Can I just add to that?
m3 : I am going to be honest with you
m3 : open plant is a non factor
m3 : imho
jv : Seems I may have to learn that pretty effin’ quickly. FML
m3 : it’s a sham
m3 : ohhhh
zortar : really
jv : I know that. YOU know that. THEY don’t know that.. haha. I wept.
p-salad : OP isn’t any kind of player
p-salad : JV
jv : Oh.. not us. Client!
m3 : that’s because its a sham!
zortar : Well
p-salad : thats the first i’ve heard of anyone using it since they demo’d it back in….09
jv : The salesman must have been AWESOME. S’all I’m saying.
tkm : we have become a country of marketers instead of builders
m3 : lol@tkm
p-salad : i need to become more understanding of what datacentric is and how its different from what we are using now
tkm : almighty dolla
jv : Worst thing is
zortar : It’s the message
tkm : yes

The fact that schools are standardizing around Plant 3D is their ace in the hole.

jv : So how now all the major EPC’s that work for them have to deliver AP models and they have to somehow
zortar : But I don’t want to get political…
tkm : the results are less warm :-p
m3 : datacentric means the graphics on the screen are just a representation of the database.
jv : make them fit into OP.
zortar : JV
m3 : as opposed to graphics that contain data properties from the database.
zortar : Most of our clients have been burned by Bentley so they are steering clear of OpenPlant
m3 : think graphical representation of data vs. graphics with data properties
p-salad : ok
m3 : its a mayco paint job on a 1983 Datsun.
zortar : Well
zortar : lol@m3
p-salad : LOL@3
jv : I’ll be on here lots. lamenting. Weeping. Banging head.
zortar : JV
m3 : Good luck getting past the install procedure
jv : I’m not worried
m3 : soul tried to install it. Same Bentley crap
m3 : and make sure the version that runs out to the nth decimal place is the right one else you will need the uninstall procedure.
zortar : Bentley: Las Vegas wedding and a Mexican divorce
tkm : LOL
m3 : btw there is no uninstall procedure.
m3 : lol@Zortar!
jv : My hear SANK when I heard.. but WOW.. can you imagine that being your first 3D experience?
zortar : The first time is always awkward…
zortar : …people say
m3 : and painful if you’re on the receiving end!
tkm : HAHA
zortar : lmao!
m3 : ok
jv : YES!! I needed to know I was not alone in my disdain. 🙂
zortar : you are never alone JV
tkm : competitor up here is rumored to be going to SP… just not sure if it is going to be all the way or just the PID stuff
jedi : great discussions today kk kept me entertained for sure.

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About the Author

About the Author: Hi! I am currently an Autodesk Solutions Engineer working to deliver real time solutions to our Enterprise customers. I have been involved with industrial design software for nearly 15 years and am a 3DS Max Professional who is passionate about design visualization. .


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There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Allockse says:

    That’s about the tamest flame war I’ve read on the internet : )

    I think I went into it expecting chairs being thrown though. I kind of wish I had been there for this, I certainly have a few opinions on the subject.

    – Allockse

    • dave says:

      haha! by tamest you mean LAMEST! Sorry for the bait and switch Allockse. I think the real value here are the lines that start with “Zortar”

  2. Bubba says:

    I know this is an old post but wanted to comment as it’s relevant to the conversation. At this point in time, none of the top five O/O’s have standardized on Intergraph products (SP or CW). And that’s especially true in upstream. Some do use CW in downstream. But at least one chose P3D and is beginning to use it as a near-term standard in downstream.

    One or more of the O/Os spent a lot of time and effort exploring the internal benefits of using data-centric plant design tools where SP would have been in the cat bird seat. And I’m sure the Ingr spin machine was in high gear about the potential for using CW cost-effectively in downstream and on retrofit projects AND the prospect of also getting SmartPlant Foundation interoperability.

    But the O/O backed away from it – for now at least.
    Why? Cost IS a factor. Ease of use and practicality in administration ARE factors.

    The inherent complexities are issues too – whether it be the O/O providing models and specs to the EPC, or the EPC handing over deliverables back to the O/O. And that’s further complicated by multiple projects being underway simultaneously at O/O’s sites. Today, change management of P&IDs and other 2D deliverables is already a hassle for O/Os. Add 3D models and databases to that. None of that is simple.

    The O/O could try to simplify those handoffs by proving the design environment internally themselves and give the EPCs remote access to it. But then the O/O would have to take over responsibility for ensuring the design environment was always operational and available. It could certainly be done. But to make such a step change in their contractual agreements and their operational practices, the O/O must first be sure that they’re going to get some real business benefits in return.

    I don’t believe that’s something an O/O should dive into until/unless they first show that they can get a system like SP operational in their own internal environment. And only one of the five super majors even does internal design – and that’s in one region and only in upstream. Considering how much time, effort and cost has been expended by any EPC who has gotten SP operational and you may agree.

    I personally believe it would be wiser for O/Os to begin with P&IDs. The complexities would be fewer than with 3D, but there would still be a measurable benefit to them in migrating millions of dumb drawings into intelligent ones. Then if there is sufficient down-line business benefit (eg., in E&I, HSE, Ops), they could explore moving next to 3D plant models and their databases.

    All that said, Ingr is certainly spinning the SP story and they’re good at it. Will they keep working on a top-down message to try and make it happen? Sure. But is the battle won or lost or all but over? No way.

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