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21 Oct 2014

Some Impressions of the Engineering Software in Russia: Autodesk University Ru 2014, COFES Ru, Top Systems, and NEOLANT

David Levin

Autodesk University and COFES are the words that have been well-known to the global world of engineering software for many years. And several years ago, they became also quite familiar to the Russian market thanks to the Moscow events:

Very probably you know Brad Holtz, the president of COFES and Cyon Research. It so happened that I was lucky to accompany Brad during his recent visit to Russia the visit which provided me with new data/impressions about COFES, Autodesk University, and two Russian companies working in the domain of software engineering. These impressions are presented in the reportage below.

1. Next COFES Russia in 2016

The history of COFES & Cyon Research in Russia began in 2010 with the event organized in Moscow by Cyon Research and LEDAS. From its web site you can see that the event gathered top managers from almost all global and Russian companies operating in Russia and CIS.

The event of 2010 was just introductory. The first true COFES Russia was held in 2013 in Petergof (a suburb of St Petersburg) a place which always attracts millions of tourist from all over the world:

Petergof park

Petergof hotel

COFES Russia 2013 was perfectly organized by Cyon Research with a great support of ASCON whose main office is situated in St Petersburg. In accordance with the mission of COFES the event gathered top managers and a lot of leading experts from Russia, USA, and many other countries. COFES Russia 2013 was unanimously recognized as a highly successful. See for example COFES Russia 2013: Got What Was this Stuff?

This success can be confirmed also by a lot of constant requests asking when the next COFES Russia will be organized: it was preliminary decided that the next one will be held in the same remarkable place in September 2015. However, over the past few months, Brad Holtz found out that the political situation around Russia does not inspire potential Western participants to visit Russia. With no other comments it is great pity

On September 28, at the meeting in Petergof, with participation of Brad Holtz, ASCON CEO Maxim Bogdanov and me, it was decided to postpone the next COFES Russia for one year.

As a professional event manager, Brad Holtz met the supervisors of the New Petergof hotel and fixed with them preliminary reservation of the hotel and service for 15-16 of September 2016. Brad did not miss the pleasure to sit with his new MS Surface on the bank of the Olga pond adjacent to the hotel.

Brad and pond Petergof

2. Autodesk University Russia 2014

Autodesk University is the event which is most popular and crowded not only in Las Vegas but also in Moscow. The first Autodesk University in Russia was triumphantly held in 2012; however it was well prepared by its ancestors Autodesk Russia Forums whose spirit and the key formal parameters from the very beginning were very close to those of AU.

Autodesk University 2014 (AURu) was definitely successful. This time, AURu was held in a very good place the conference center of Sololniki park


located in a picturesque place in the center of the city and has very spacious rooms albeit with a compact topology.

The event attracted up to 2000 participants mostly young people. The 2-day agenda in particular included more than 200 presentations and a very large exhibition. AURu 2014 was perfectly organized and managed by the team headed by Yulia Maksimova, marketing leader of Autodesk Russia:

AEC/BIM was obviously the hit of the program. Being one of ten event sections (MFG, PDM, animation and computer graphics, education, and other) AEC/BIM was presented by about 50% of all (200+) presentations. Why BIM?

Firstly, as you know Autodesk is a global leader in AEC/BIM which obviously has impact on Autodesk activity in every region.

Secondly, today BIM is a hot topic for the whole Russian market of engineering software. See for example Whats going on with BIM in Russia by Vladimir Talapov. Or follow activity of Marina Korol probably the most active Russian BIM actor (note her round table What Mandated BIM Might Mean for Russia" or a recently formed consulting firm CONCURATOR). The round table How much does BIM cost for your company and for your country organized by Marina was one of the main points of the BIM agenda of AURu 2014.

AURu 2014

Brad Holtz, Marina Korol, and Nick Nisbet (UK, AEC3).
Nick's regular participation in Russian BIM is yet another proof of the current BIM enthusiasm in Russia

Thirdly, there is an important personal factor of Anastasia Morozova who in late 2012, after six years of her very fruitful activity in the position of the marketing leader, became the head of AEC/BIM direction.

Here is a picture of the overcrowded BIM session where Anastasia explains what are the main mistakes of those who begin to use BIM: "Remember that the key points are processes and people. Software it's just 20% of the success... A major mistake is when you licensed software, trained some employers and then believe that you already have true BIM... You must change the motivation of your team, you must change the structure of your company ...":
AURu 2014  BIM

It is very probable that the AURu 2014 exhibition gathered all existing Autodesk partners in Russia. I have no way of making an overview; instead will mention only three examples. First, pay attention to KROK a company whose web site presents a broad spectrum of in-house solutions: from private cloud to industrial systems of virtual reality. KROK's 3D-Cube (an impressive demo of virtual reality) was one of the most popular exhibits:

The second booth which attracted my attention was Delcam; it presented activity of a very well developed Russian office of the company recently acquired by Autodesk. There are strong rumors about some plans to administratively transform Russian Delcam group into a part of Autodesk Russia:
Delcam AURu 2014

The third example is about "Russian Industrial Company" which in particular demonstrated a combination of 3D-printer and milling-machine:
AURu 2014

Alexey Ryzov, the head of Autodesk Russia, made the best possible introductory presentation. 95% of his half-an-hour assertive talk consisted of a demonstration of Autodesk success stories in Russia which convincingly produced a justified impression that Autodesk is very efficient in contributing into development of the Russian economy and market. Note by the way that most of those examples were about AEC.
AURu 2014  2

It was also announced that in 2015 Autodesk will initiate, extend, and develop more the three investment directions in Russia:

  • Russian division of Autodesk Consulting (in particular adaptation of BIM for Russian AEC industry),
  • Support of innovation start-ups (in particular for ecology and environmental projects), and
  • Further support of educational programs (about 2000 schools and high schools have already got in total $200 million Autodesk software for free).
Brad Holtz, as an invited speaker, made a 50-minutes talk presenting the results of a recent analysis of the global market trends made by Cyon Research:
   AURu 2014

As many people know, such findings are based on the surveys that Cyon Research conducts in various countries, and since recently in Russia.
   AURu 2014

I hope that it will be possible to present those results in a generalizing article similar to that published two years ago: "Cyon Research compares Russian and global trends of CAD use (with comments by".

3. Meetings in Moscow: Top Systems and NEOLANT

September 30, the day between arrival from St Petersburg and the beginning of AU Russia, was devoted to the visits to two Russian IT companies.

3.1. Top Systems

Top Systems, together with ASCON and Nanosoft, is one of the most known Russian CAD companies: see "Russian CAD. Its robust and powerful, and someday you may be using it" by Evan Yares who presented all the three. MCAD T-FLEX of Top Systemes is probably best characterized by the article "The Power of T-FLEX CAD Parametric Modeling. (Part I and Part II)". Step by step, T-FLEX extended to a PLM+ERP environment T-FLEX PLM which at COFES Russia 2013 was presented as follows

PLM+: Evolving the Concept of PLM
Top Systems will discuss their vision for a PLM that evolves beyond this, pushing the boarders between PLM and ERP, to encompass the intersection of PLM components and related methodologies, particularly for developers of IP and enterprise. This new vision encompasses project management principles, parametric design of manufacturing production, a heterogeneous development environment, integrated sustainability full integration of environmental support, CRM, and office workflow.

Top Systems have been the key developer and supervisor of the Russian Geometric Kernel project (RGK).

Top managers of Top Systems are the most active (the same as those of ASCON) participants of COFES Arizona (see Nine participants from Russian ASCON, Fidesys, LEDAS, and TopSystems will attend COFES 2013 in Arizona).


Top System CTO Sergey Kozlov and COO Sergey Bikulov present RGK at COFES 2013 Arizona

Thus it is clear that Brad Holtz is very well familiar with Top Systems and our meeting at the companys headquarters was like a meeting of friends:
    30  2014

The smiles of the leaders of Top Systems are not just diplomatic etiquette: the guys are rather happy with their companys status. The ecosystem of Top System is extending, they are constantly enhancing their key products, and they are working at stepping into new domains that today are more demanded by the market.

CTO Sergey Kozlov said: "Further development of T-FLEX and T-FLEX PLM is to transform the user environment into a number of simple UI over a very powerful underlying object data model".

Interestingly, there are some clients of Top System (in particular, abroad) that somewhat surprisingly decided to use T-LEX not as MCAD or PLM but rather a kind of an AEC tool. This and not only this is encouraging Top Systems to think about AEC/BIM

Ten days after the meeting with Brad, Top Systems hold a 3-day user conference called A Constellation of CAD. See Top Systems CEO Sergey Kuraksin against the detailed scheme of T-FLEX PLM:


Recently, Top Systems has doubled its office space and significantly increased the staff.
     30  2014       30  2014

As the leaders of the Russian CAD/PLM market, Top System cannot remain indifferent to the trend of so called product import replacement which currently is very intensively discussed and decided upon in Russia. This trend has been mostly invoked by the sanctions imposed against Russia however is considered as just a pretext to start much more intensive development of the national software. On the one hand, this is probably going to be associated with a certain state protectionism and thus can be beneficial for Top Systems whose key products compete with those of Autodesk, SolidWorks, SPLM, and others. On the other hand, Top Systems has already comparatively good presence in the Western market and can hardly be happy with any obstacles to extend this global presence. In particular, the guys expressed their regret about postponing COFES Russia and a hope that nothing will prevent them from participating in COFES 2015 in Arizona.


I recommended Brad Holtz to visit NEOLANT because this company although not so much known globally is a very successful system integrator and one of the leaders of Russian market of engineering software.

The group of companies NEOLANT is the supplier of solutions for the enterprises of fuel-energy complex and state sector.

The areas of companys activities:

  • development of information and simulation models for industrial facilities to support the facilities lifecycle;
  • development and implementation of information systems to manage engineering and plant operations data through CAD, PLM, BIM, GIS, PDM, PM integration;
  • research and development and engineering design aiming at implementation of plant-scale processes, systems, equipment, capital construction projects.

NEOLANT is one of the largest IT companies in Russia. The company has realized innovative projects for BASHNEFT, GAZPROM, LUKOIL, ROSATOM, ROSNEFT, RUSHYDRO, TRANSNEFT, the Federal Guard Service of the Russian Federation and others.

The company experts develop custom-made Autodesk, Bentley, CIC Consulting Informatico, DocsVision, ENVINET, ESTI MAP, Fluorintec, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intergraph, Microsoft, Noumenon Consulting Ltd., Open Text, Oracle, PMSoft, SAS, ScanEx, VMware, Wonderware platform solutions depending on a specific business goal.

NEOLANT partners

In his chic office, ready for visits of GAZPROM or Dassault top managers, CEO Vitaly Kononov gives us the key points of NEOLANT.

With about 500 employees (in several Russian cities), the company's turnover is currently at the level of 30M US dollars. The distribution of income by industries is seen at the picture:

The next slide demonstrates distribution of types of problems which NEOLANT solves for the Russian industries:

Design 10%, construction 15%, decommissioning 25%, operation 50%

While being an integrator of many world-famous solutions, NEOLANT has its own solutions that are applied for integration but can be fruitfully delivered as autonomous products. A good example is InterBridge the system which is a part of Inter package:
  • InterBridge translating and converting data between different CADs;
  • InterStorage optimized saving data into one common format, that can be translated into all CADs;
  • InterView fast InterStorage data viewing.

InterBridge has good chances to be much more accepted by the global market. Probably, more important is intension of NEOLANT to deliver the companys service to the global market to the industries beyond Russia and not necessary in close connection with some fixed vendors. These topics were among the others discussed at the meeting with Brad Holtz. It was mentioned that to better promote its unique competence and skills, NEOLANT may use COFES opportunities.

NEOLANT has modern yet cozy offices where you obviously feel family atmosphere.

A part of the nuclear power department

NEOLANT marketing leader Elena Konvisar and her favourite picture

4. Conclusion

1. I don't think anybody profits from cancellation of COFES Russia 2015. OK, looking forward to meeting you in September 2016.

2.Autodesk in Russia is a BIM leader and in general looks prosperous with a lot of success stories definitely very good for the Russian economy.

3.Top Systems is steadily extending and enhancing its products and definitely wants to be a global company.

4.NEOLANT is a leader of industrial PLM&BIM integration in Russia and definitely wants to be a global company.

And finally, don't forget about The Congress for Future of Engineering Software 2015 in Arizona:

COFES 2015 Arizona

See also:

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