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9 Nov 2011

CAD/PLM at the Russian Market (isicad overview, May-October 2011)

David Levin

Headlines:

  • After 5 years of successful work for Autodesk CIS, Alex Tasev becomes head of PTC CIS and reports outstanding results of PTC at CIS market
  • Dassault Systemes and Siemens PLM extend their Russian offices and demonstrate good spirit
  • SolidWorks is still inarticulate in Russia in spite of very much respect to its software
  • Top Systems emphasises its extended PLM orientation and integrates with Autodesk Inventor
  • Marketing and Internet in Russia
  • Autodesk CIS Forum held on 21-22 of September was the most striking event of the year
  • ASCON is probably the most dynamic company at the Russian CAD/PLM market
  • LEDAS extended the range of its business interests and genres
  • Bentley Systems becomes much more visible at the Russian market
  • NanoCAD 3.0 2011 ~ AutoCAD LT 2009
PTC
One of the most notable recent appointments in the Russian CAD market was the emergence of Alex Tasev at the head of the Russian office of the PTC. From 2005 to 2010, Alex was the head of Autodesk CIS, and – not only from my point of view – raised it up to one of the most active and successful regional parts of the Autodesk business. There were rumours that Alex was fired by Autodesk because of his excessive independence which came into conflict with a new structure of the Autodesk hierarchy of control... A new head of the Autodesk CIS office Alexey Ryzhov is also very effective although working in a rather different style bringing rich experience of working for Microsoft. The first six months of his work in the new capacity have already born fruits: American top-managers of Autodesk directed their attention to development of Russian market (for a long time remained in the shadow of China and India), which is illustrated by forthcoming visits of several (they say – 8!) Autodesk Vice-Presidents to Moscow in order to coordinate the efforts towards strengthening company’s presence in various segments of the market… Everything is good in its season. OK, let’s come back to Alex Tasev who was always considered as a symbolic figure of the Russian market – whose success was recognized and respected by all competitors.

A week ago, PTC Russia organized in Moscow a press-conference in which isicad.ru/net also took part thanks to the web connection. In his introductory presentation Alex left no doubt that PTC is (at least in CIS) nothing but a PLM company oriented to big customers with Creo as a very successful innovative product. Here are some characteristics of the PTC results at the CIS market.

2011 financial year:

  • Overall growth: 50%
  • CREO: +80%, Quality solutions: +60%,
  • Maintenance growth: 100%,
  • New customers: +35%,
  • 5 of 10 biggest PTC European deals are CIS.

In one of my questions to Alex, I supposed that PTC Russia could further proceed more in a style of Autodesk than in a style of DS or Siemens PLM, i.e. to be closer to the mass of common engineers with a large emphasis to social networking and sometime even with elements of pop-culture. Alex answered that he could see a key to success in contacts not with a lot of engineers but rather with the decision-makers, i.e. with the top management of big enterprises. However, he added, if and when necessary, he is ready to organize a dancing or whatever entertainments. Note, by the way, that just after Alex came to PTC Russia, its marketing department opened its twitter and Live Journal accounts.

Siemens PLM, DS, and SolidWorks
It seems quite obvious that DS and Siemens PLM also orient their market behaviour to active contacts with top managers of big companies who are expected to implement an expensive PLM project with a lot of seats, consulting, and maintenance: see for example Which PLM Are Used in Russian Automotive Industry? and “Thanks to DS and Siemens, Russian PLM market in August was completely devoted to aviation”).

My knowledge of concrete offices and persons in Moscow prompts me that both Siemens PLM and DS not only have good formal financial results in Russia but substantially improved their spirit. Just look at a brief interview with Olga Akulova, Marketing Director Eastern Europe at Siemens PLM Software: “Siemens PLM doubles staff of its Moscow office”. Much more details are given in an interview of Victor Bespalov, the head of Siemens PLM office in Russian and CIS: maybe a sensational title “Siemens PLM: «Every day, we are more and more ahead of our competitors»” will inspire you to translate the Russian interview with Google.

As for Dassault Systemes, in mid October they held in Moscow their traditional PLM Forum which thanks to record-breaking twittering of Oleg Shilovitsky was reported by isicad.ru (part 1 and part 2). You may of course look at Oleg’s twitter or at his blog-report “Comments and Photos from Dassault PLM Forum in Moscow”.

SolidWorks Russia holds its traditional Forums in four Russian cities. I can’t see any (promised) changes in the relations between DS and SW at the Russian market. According to both isicad and my blog statistics, SolidWorks remains the most attractive Russian key word in the domain of engineering software. Maybe it is because of traditional high engineering culture of Russia and deserved respect of SolidWorks software in Russia. From my point of view, SolidWorks could earn in Russia much-much more if the company’s politics here were clearer, more open, and with serious marketing efforts. Of course, if SolidWorks is really not going to be killed.

Top Systems

Top Systems is also strongly emphasizing its orientation to integrated solution which involve not only PLM but a large piece of ERP. At the beginning of June,Top Systems, the second (after ASCON) Russian CAD/PLM company known first of all by its powerful Parasolid-based MCAD T-FLEX, held its big annual conference. At the conference the company announced “PLM+” characterized as follows: «Its fundamental distinction from traditional PLM solutions is an essential extension of integrated software environment which now covers not only tasks of life-cycle but all its accompanying processes». (For the first time this PLM+ was briefly mentioned by Top System CEO Sergei Kuraksin atCOFES-Russia-2010 seminar in Moscow.

My conclusion was that although Top Systems do not follow modern trends of mobility, social networking, SaaS, and other, the company can probably succeed with some big Russian enterprises, say from defense domain, that are traditionally more conservative. Note, that Top Systems has quite a good customer base since the company basic solutions are actually effective, however until recent time marketing of Top Systems was rather rudimentary. One of the sensations from the Autodesk CIS Forum held in September was a presentation made by Mr Kuraksin under the title (see a picture) “An integrated enterprise informational environment based on T-Flex PLM and Autodesk Inventor” (!). However no radical conclusions can be so far made.

Having in mind a recent discussion on marketing in my Russian blog and simplifying the situation, I can say that PLM companies in Russia likely receive their main revenues from active individually-oriented outbound marketing which, generally speaking, is globally considered as outdated and not effective. Here I want to quote a letter from one of the Western LEDAS customers: “With the larger clients outbound marketing still works – it is very much based on relationship building, as these sales often take months or years to complete. This particular exhibition is well attended, which is proof that outbound marketing still has its place. However, we do not advertise in traditional magazines at all as we have never really seen any positive results. Email campaigns have limited success, but more than printed adverts. Much of my time is spent on search engine optimisation... The smaller firms don’t have to go through so much red tape as the larger corporations when making a purchasing decision, so they are more likely to do more research and communication online rather than needing someone to walk them through the purchasing process”.

Not for a prompt discussion about different types of marketing but just to avoid confusion, note that the active use of social networks should not be mixed up with a successful inbound marketing. In my opinion, a really smart press release is much better than hundreds of pointless tweets. Similarly, a well-organized conference or show seems to me much more effective than a bunch of stupid blog posts.

Who are the leaders of conferences and shows at the Russian CAD market? Autodesk and ASCON.

Autodesk
Doubtless, a traditional Autodesk CIS Forum held on 21-22 of September was the most striking event of the year. Along with official statistics (1800 attendees from 20 countries), the proof is fortunately very easy, just look at the isicad-reportage of Dmitry Ushakov “Autodesk turns to PLM and demonstrates its leadership in cloud/mobile technologies” and his three interviews taken during the Forum: “Innovator’s dilemma of AutoCAD WS: interview with Tal Weiss”, “Are there many errors in AutoCAD?”, and “Autodesk believes that PLM is something that in minds of many people” . One of the new features of the Autodesk Forum was quite a lot of talks made by invited speakers – also from competitors: next year we will very likely see a Moscow Autodesk University. To get more impression of the fascinating marketing activity of Autodesk in CIS, I also recommend to look at “The Autodesk CIS Community Magazine: A New CAD-publication in Russian” which describes not only a magazine itself but rather a road-show which Autodesk is performing during 2011 in 13 cities throughout the CIS under the common title – “SAPRyazhenie” (CAD-connection).

It may seem that a paper (!) magazine is something very outdated and ineffective marketing tool. I believe it is not true. If your company has effective networking – in particular with a dozen of bright bloggers, constant and informal dialog at a forum, sensitive and smart twittering, and reasonable clips at YouTube… then you can once or twice a year make a smart and finely illustrated collection of the best publications and print all this with the highest quality. When you (if you are not the one who is professionally obliged to hate paper editions) keep such a magazine in your hands, you definitely feel pleasure. I do not insist that many people will read a lot in such a magazine but I believe that many people will be attracted to the (Internet) sources of information presented in the paper edition. Yes, maybe distribution of a corporate paper magazine is formally a kind of outbound marketing but – sic! – the pleasure of looking thorough such nice pages is likely a rather effective inbound tool. You may say that this cannot be effective in the countries that are the most developed in virtual communications. First, Russia is today rather developed in this aspect. And second, I can bet that every Autodesk top manager (in USA and Europe) would feel the same pleasure while turning the paper pages of such a magazine and will then likely financially support printing of the next issue:).

When considering conferences and even paper magazines, you should not forget that Internet and social networking are very much developed in Russia. Technologically it’s not a problem at all. More interesting is a social aspect of this situation. It so happened that traditional genres of political life and civil society in today’s Russia are very weak and/or artificial which lead to the situation when TV and traditional media are not considered as a reasonable source of information not only by advanced people but by the majority of population. On the other hand, Internet in Russia is absolutely not controlled and surprisingly open. I’d say, too much flexible and open: people too often are terribly uncivilized… So the problem of moving people from traditional media to Internet looks easier than in those countries where non-Internet media still makes sense.

ASCON

I consider ASCON as the most dynamic company at the Russian CAD/PLM market. My estimation is based on ASCON’s constructive actions towards serious entering global market. Why not? Note that ASCON takes approximately the same as Autodesk share of the CIS market and look at some recent news from ASCON and about ASCON:

From the last paper about ASCON and COFES, you can see that ASCON has undertaken a very successful participation in COFES 2011. And this very delegation was one of the first who registered for COFES 2012!

From my point of view, in 2011 ASCON is producing social activity comparable to Autodesk CIS (would be interesting to compare their marketing budgets) and makes it with quite a smart creativity. Note that on September, 21 – on that very day when Autodesk started its Moscow Forum – ASCON was holding its seminars simultaneously in 25 cities of CIS. ASCON also has its corporate magazine called Aspiration .

Bentley Systems
It is worth noting that during the reporting period Bentley Systems clearly rejuvenated its marketing activity in Russia. I can’t give here the details but want to mention a seminar in Moscow on bridge construction and an interesting interview which a key speaker of the seminar Vanja Samec – Global Sales director for RM Bridge at Bentley – gave to isicad.ru/net.

NVIDIA
Also it seems important to mention NVIDIA which actively participates (in particular as a sponsor) in practically all noticeable Russian events on engineering software: may be the most optimal variant of marketing for such type of a vendor.

Nanosoft
After its exotic emergence couple years ago, Nanosoft is, to my mind, becoming more and more mature at the Russian market. Maybe by my next market overview I will be able to concentrate some English information related to Nanosoft. Right now, I can mention a very big article in a recent Russian monthly “CAD & Graphics” which in many details compares NanoCAD 3.0 (just released) with AutoCAD LT 2009. The author’s conclusion is that NanoCAD (a) lags behind AutoCAD LT for about three years, (b) is sufficient for effective work in 2D, and (c) at the current pace of development may in the foreseeable future to catch up with AutoCAD.

LEDAS

Now at last it’s time to mention LEDAS. This is quite easy because of a lot of English publications:

In addition, note Deelip Menezes’s “A conversation with David Levin” which looks like an integrated report about LEDAS history (including a wonderful 12-year contract with Dassault Systemes), recent transformations, and plans. (I wonder, is this interview an outbound or inbound marketing of LEDAS? :)) This interview in particular inspired quite a lot of messages to me that in one way or another check if LEDAS is ready to cooperate. My common answer is as follows: “After recent transformation of LEDAS into a pure service company we didn’t lose any of our competences and skills but extended the range of our business interests and genres. You are welcome”.

Together with the whole LEDAS team, I am grateful to the well-known actors of the engineering software market who kindly agreed to become members of the newly formed LEDAS advisory board.

(In the historical picture: 2004, the office of LEDAS, Dominique Florack, the first DS VP, explains strategy of DS and expected contribution from LEDAS)

I invite you to visit my English blog (and much larger Russian) and take a look at my English twitter (and much more talkative Russian).


The cover page of N25 has been inspired by a well-known fair-tale and an article “How Direct Modeling Transforms Cinderella into the Princess” (see a link in the overview). Please click the picture to enlarge and see a flash animated version (i.e. not for i-devices).


See also:



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