Product lifecycle management software developer Arena Solutions Inc. is looking to become the Salesforce.com success story of the product management world.
The Menlo Park, Calif., company will announce next week a new module, Arena PLM Workgroup Edition—which is essentially a simplified version of Arena PLM—for free.
The Workgroup module is aimed at manufacturing and design teams in the electronics, high-tech, medical device and consumer product industries and lets users take the first step in PLM—electronic product definition.
Workgroup provides users with the ability to manage a complete product record, including bill-of-material management, automated item numbering, vendor management, document vaulting and costing. The software also offers version control and basic supplier access.
In addition to product record management, Workgroup comes bundled with online tutorials, sample data sets and customer support.
The module is geared toward startups that are not yet on board with a PLM solution—or worried about implementing one—as well as toward smaller product teams within large corporations that also do not have a PLM implementation, according to Michael Topolovac, CEO of Arena.
Arena is offering the new module for free for as many as five users for one year. The idea is that once users define their products electronically, theyll want to take the next steps and do process automation and analytics, which will require licensing the full Arena Professional suite, officials said.
"Workgroup is about democratizing PLM," said Topolovac. "If you look at the number of companies that actually need PLM, its remarkably high. If you look at the numbers that are actually using PLM, its in the tens."
Arena PLM has three separate modules for product management, sourcing and costing, and integration.
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