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Collaborative Workspace 4.2 updates interface, adds offline capabilities to sell-side solution

Atlanta  March 18, 2002  Sell-side collaboration software provider NetVendor has released the latest version of its Collaborative Workspace solution, part of the company's flagship E.MBRACE software suite, adding user interface enhancements, expanded search capabilities, offline capabilities dubbed "encapsulation" and support for more document formats.

NetVendor said the Collaborative Workspace component of E.MBRACE streamlines the design, sale and services associated with the production of custom-engineered products via Web-based collaboration with customers and partners.

The solution is intended to save manufacturers time and money in the custom product design process by enabling engineers, salespeople, customers and partners to share and collaborate on many types of product-related documents, such as product specification sheets, technical drawings, quality assurance plans and bills of material.

The solution provider asserts that version 4.2 of Collaborative Workspace, combined with the NetVendor's Sales Center solution, enables manufacturers to have engineering drawings tied into catalogs, requests for quote, orders and other elements of a sell-side e-business solution, giving them an advantage over document management or CAD/CAM products that exist on their own.

Teradyne Connection Systems (TCS)  a division of Teradyne Inc.  is evaluating the solution primarily for its offline review capabilities. TCS, which currently uses the Sales Center solution, is looking to this encapsulation feature to enable the company to share documents with customers, suppliers or employees that are not connected to the company's network and essentially work collaboratively in an offline mode via the ability to add mark-ups or comments to a wide variety of document formats.

"The product enhances Teradyne's ability to collaborate with our customers during the design process," said Michael Schmidt, manager of information technology for TCS. "Our early involvement with design engineers enables us to provide them with solutions for their next generation technology requirements. The common framework that NetVendor's Collaborative Workspace provides will make the experience more efficient and improve customer satisfaction."

Other customers currently using the latest release of Collaborative Workspace include Boston Gear and Stephen Gould Corporation.

Commenting on the solution provider, Kent Allen, a research director at technology consultancy Aberdeen Group, said that NetVendor's expertise in collaborative design is helping it carve out a strong niche in the market for sell-side software that enables the sale of complex products online. "NetVendor has developed a cost-effective solution that enables customers, partners, engineers and salespeople in geographically disparate locations  armed only with a phone and a Web browser  to discuss and approve product requirements," Allen said.