Bentley Systems Consolidates Utility Design and Management in New Application

17 Jul, 2013 By: Cyrena Respini-Irwin

With Bentley Utilities Designer, customers can access network design, cost estimation, and GIS capabilities in one software solution.

Faster Costing, Better Workflows

Estimating project costs is a necessity, but it can be a very time-consuming task. To mitigate that impact, Bentley Utilities Designer incorporates costing into the design environment. "Each design decision the designer makes, there's a cost ramification that's calculated and presented to them ... it's immediate feedback," said Alvarez. This on-the-fly estimation is faster and easier, he explained, than pushing a design into an enterprise resource planning or work management system, performing the costing, then returning it to the designer — a process that could take days or even weeks.

It's also much more accurate, added Horsfall, because when Bentley Utilities Designer is integrated with a work management system such as Maximo or SAP, every design element has a cost and installation time assigned to it. This eliminates the laborious process wherein a user will draw a design in a CAD program, manually count the network elements in question (such as utility poles), look up the cost of each item in a spreadsheet, then recreate the CAD drawing in a separate GIS. Bentley Utilities Designer enables a far less manual — and therefore, less error-prone — workflow, said Horsfall: "Drag and drop these poles, integrate with your work management system, and push the design to GIS."

With integrated cost estimation, users receive immediate feedback about the costs associated with various design decisions. Click image to enlarge.

Benefits of Consolidation

Reducing the number of software products a utility uses can reduce costs; simplify training, deployment, and maintenance; and streamline integration with enterprise work management systems. "[Bentley Utilities Designer provides] simplification of the software portfolio by rolling all these capabilities into a single software application," said Alvarez. "You now have a single connection point ... you're making one interface between Bentley Utilities Designer and your enterprise resource planning system, for instance."

Alvarez noted that efficiency gains are even greater for multi-utilities (such as those that provide both electric and gas services): When each discipline uses a different design app, that creates silos of information trapped within those disciplines. And in large utilities, the design of the network may be divided among multiple design houses or locations. A single platform for these entities to perform all their design and management yields greater quality and consistency across the utility, he affirmed.

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