FRAMINGHAM (04/10/2000) - There are more ways to build a project collaboration system than there are projects. Possibly the best way to check out the competitive landscape for MS2 is to take a look at two of the company's earliest customers.
Aspect Communications Corp. in San Jose builds customer relationship portals.
It uses MS2 Accelerate to coordinate the work of product teams scattered around the world. The company rejected vertical product and marketing-automation packages. A document-based system built on Lotus Notes was deemed too expensive.
Instead, approximately 30 people in Aspect's marketing department and more than 100 in engineering now use MS2 Accelerate to collaborate on documents such as sales tools and collaterals that are published to a central Web site by managers who might not recognize HTML if they saw it.
"From my perspective, [MS2 Accelerate] really helps the flow of information," says David Puglia, Aspect's vice president of product marketing.
While it's too early to quantify the results, Puglia says Aspect's product release cycles have been shortened, quality has improved and the work is being done by fewer people.
Steven Larsen, senior vice president of marketing and business development at Net Perceptions Inc. in Minneapolis, tries to be diplomatic when he discusses the automated sales and groupware tools his team tried. John Harris, the company's director of field marketing, is more blunt: "The warm and cuddlies [from MS2 Accelerate] are an anomaly," Harris says. "Most of the other software stinks."
Development schedules at Net Perceptions, which makes Web site personalization and cross-selling software, were becoming a little scary last fall. "The reason we got MS2 was we were a one-product company, and we were going from one product to four products in a year," Larsen says.
Since adopting MS2 Accelerate last year, Net Perceptions has released five upgrades and new products - something that wouldn't have been possible otherwise, according to Larsen.
Larsen says a major benefit is the software's ability to provide a framework around documents created with Net Perceptions' existing document-creation tools.