Updated: 7/1/06; 2:13:55 PM.
Gary Mintchell's Feed Forward
Manufacturing and Leadership.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Just talked with Marc O'Brien, president & CEO, of Projity. This California company (also offices in France and India) makes a "Microsoft Project replacement." The application is "on demand" that is it is hosted on a central server that supports rich and thin clients. O'Brien explained that there are two "roles" presently. One is full-blown project manager for those who manage the projects and need access to the array of tools. The other is a "user" role for those who are not involved in actual management, but have tasks to complete within the project.

For example, Projity is tightly integrated with Salesforce.com such that a user (who would be a sales person without the time or inclination to become a project whiz user) just sees a task show up on their list. They can click and access just what they need. Of course this is a great savings on IT support and the salesperson's time (something that is best spent on customers and prospects).

The on-demand model has many great benefits-lower support, lower cost, full access from anywhere. The drawback is that the "anywhere" must be a connected anywhere. O'Brien was upfront admitting that the one drawback is remote, off-line use. He says the company is working on that. I asked about active collaboration in the product, and he said that that feature is coming.

I've written about a few applications over the past 3 years or so. I'm beginning to wonder is the critical mass is growing. Certainly O'Brien hopes that the inflection point is here regarding acceptance of the on-demand model. We'll keep our eyes open. Watch for more detail in Automation World.
4:22:47 PM    comment []

Krones AG, worldwide leader in beverage-filling systems and packing machines, has selected Network Vision[base ']s IntraVUE network and device visualization tool for network and equipment monitoring at its headquarters in Neutraubling near Regensburg, Germany.

Acquisition of the specialized network software tool follows the company's decision to intensify their use of Industrial Ethernet in their systems. IntraVUE automatically creates the topology of the network and then continually monitors the communication status of the devices - not only providing invaluable support for Krones' employees during commissioning, but also enabling the company's customers to track communications problems in the subsequent production environment.

IntraVUE provides operators and service personnel useful data about current performance of the network and information about its individual Ethernet devices.

Reiner Keck, manager - plant quality management at Krones AG, and also responsible for area networks for the company, explained his decision, noting that "with IntraVUE we are expecting not only a reduction in the commissioning time, but also faster documentation of the network topology and the network participants. With IntraVUE, we will provide our customers with an easy-to-use tool that non-IT personnel can use to quickly track down communication problems."
4:09:50 PM    comment []

This NY Times article addresses Google's plans to release a Web-based spreadsheet. The possibility of individuals (including companies) reducing drastically their investment in personal copies (licenses) of software and not having to worry about version upgrades has been promoted for years. Certainly there are benefits on the surface. The catch is that users must always be reliably connected to the Internet. Wouldn't work for travelers like me. I'd spend half my time unable to use my applications.

I've talked with a few companies in the manufacturing space who offer such "on demand" services. This afternoon I'm talking with another that "will replace Microsoft Project." More on that later.

Google Takes Aim at Excel. Google plans to release a Web-based spreadsheet program on Tuesday that will make it easy to edit and share lists and data online. By JOHN MARKOFF. [NYT > Business]
7:07:53 AM    comment []

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