Intraspect Bolsters Collaborative Applications

With the concepts of knowledge management and collaboration still hazy in most IT executives' minds, Intraspect Software Inc. next week will try to introduce a little clarity.

The company will ship three packaged applications that run on top of its c-Business Server, which features search and indexing capabilities, and online collaborative workspaces. The applications let IT executives create online relationships with customers, partners and suppliers with out-of-the-box applications that can be customized.

While the server provides base tools for capturing corporate knowledge and supporting collaboration, Intraspect is adding three "c-Apps" that take advantage of those tools. The applications are the Collaborative Professional Services Automation (PSA) Suite, Collaborative Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Suite, and the Collaborative Supply Chain (SC) Suite.

While companies such as Lotus and Microsoft also provide platforms for collaboration and knowledge management, the sticking point for IT executives has been the need to take on responsibility for building tailored applications on those platforms.

Intraspect hopes to reduce that effort.

"Intraspect is trying to take some of the impracticality out of knowledge management when it is introduced in the context of a specific organization," says Bob Moran, an analyst with Aberdeen Group in Boston. "The other key is collaboration. In order to be successful in e-business you need software-facilitated interaction within and outside your organization."

Moran says it is important to capture the knowledge gained from that interaction.

Intraspect is focused on what it calls "collaborative commerce" to link companies with their partners, suppliers and customers.

All three c-Apps take advantage of the c-Business Server, which ties a company's internal and external data into a virtual single unit. Those data resources can include e-mail, file servers, databases, Web servers and enterprise applications. The c-Business Server supports integration with Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange and a host of enterprise resource planning applications.

The server also includes a portal interface, development tools, a set of application programming interfaces and security.

"We've taken all the components for knowledge management and portal creation and swept it into a single platform," says Jim Pflaging, CEO of Intraspect. "The win for the enterprise is that you don't need to do the applications integration."

The PSA Suite combines applications for engagement and relationship management, human resources recruitment and business development. Those applications provide services such as finding experts, collaborating on proposals and sharing best practices.

The CRM Suite is designed to integrate data from online interaction with customers into CRM applications. The suite can be used to build private collaboration spaces for customers.

The SC Suite is focused on the supply chain, but not in the traditional transaction sense. The software is designed to help enterprise customers create a collaboration process around the design of a product and the sales process. The software lets partners collaborate on issues such as market research and product design, and capture that information for reuse.

Intraspect's c-Apps are expected to ship in mid-November. The applications are priced from $200 to $600 per user. The c-Business Server is $1,000 per user.

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