The Virtual Conference Room

By Wayne Kawamoto | Posted June 23, 2004
It's not easy to get everyone working on a project in the office all together. Factor in off-site colleagues, partners, suppliers, clients and consultants, you can appreciate the value of an Internet-based collaboration system such as Documentum's eRoom.net. The latest version, eRoom.net 7, promises more powerful project management features and pricing that better suits the budgets and needs of small businesses.

A hosted, subscription-based service, eRoom.net provides a virtual workplace so that people at different locations can logon from any computer and work together. You can customize the flexible, feature-rich workspaces (eRooms) for specific projects and processes, capture all project content and create a record of issues, resolutions and decisions in a secure area.

According to the company, eRoom.net supports processes such as new product development, contract negotiations, client engagement, supply chain management and more. It requires minimal training or overhead support and companies don't have to invest in hardware and IT staffing. eRoom is also available in a customizable, non-hosted system for larger organizations.

Project and Program Management
eRoom's most interesting enhancement is a project-planning tool that provides Web-based scheduling and Gantt charts to oversee tasks and milestones and to maintain relationships and dependencies in large projects. A project manager can use eRoom.net to capture all of the work items associated with a project and maintain a handle on resources, program status and projected completion dates. In addition, all workers can use eRoom to update and report on individual progress.

The program also includes new out-of-the-box business applications that let customers immediately collaborate on specific work processes, including new product development, finance and more.

Admin Changes


eRoom.net version 7
eRoom.net lets you create online office space for projects like marketing collaboration.
Many of the changes in the new version relate to pricing and administration. Small businesses can create unlimited project areas for a community of users at no additional charge. This pricing model promises to help small businesses budget their expenses based on the number of users they have and how long they want to use the service. It also lets customers create and manage a single member base across eRoom workspaces.

The company has also announced a new Channel Partner Program that lets partners customize eRoom.net for specific industries and sell these solutions to their own customers. This promises to let partners who have expertise in particular vertical industries, such as manufacturing, law, pharmaceutical, energy, transportation, government and more, to customize and sell industry-specific eRoom.net solutions.

e-IDC, a Documentum channel partner, integrated eRoom.net into its services offerings for its design and construction customers. "Using Documentum eRoom.net, our customers are able to manage projects more efficiently and cost-effectively from remote locations," says Mike Pachler, CTO of e-IDC. "Our customers have realized significant return on investment, including time savings, better project organization, improved communications and enhanced service delivery."

"Documentum offers smaller organizations an affordable alternative to enterprise-class collaboration software without sacrificing functionality, features and performance," says Dave DeWalt, president of the Documentum division of EMC. "Documentum's ability to serve the needs of business, from small departments to large enterprises and spanning several continents demonstrates the company's unmatched strength in collaboration products."

Pricing and Availability
Documentum eRoom.net is available now. Pricing is a based on a monthly, sliding scale model, based on the number of users. Pricing for 100 users averages $20 per person per month.

Over the last ten years, Wayne Kawamoto has written over 800 articles, columns, and reviews about computers, new technologies, the Internet, and small businesses. Wayne has alos published three books about upgrading PCs, building office networks, and effectively using and troubleshooting notebook computers. He may be contacted through his Web site at www.waynewrite.com.

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