OSA Changes Name, Launches Software Warehouse

Internet software distribution tools provider Open Software Associates this week put an end to its stealth marketing program with the launch of a new corporate identity and a major new release of its flagship offering.

The Nashua, N.H. company, now called ManageSoft Corp., hopes to grow its 11-year-old business beyond a handful of very large customers by emphasizing the complete software lifecycle management approach of its tools suite, renamed ManageSoft 6.0.

The need for greater visibility and control over a companys software assets has grown with the deepening economic downturn, according to Graeme Greenhill, president of the privately held company.

"Very large corporations have no control over their software assets. They have no understanding of where their costs are and how their assets are being used," Greenhill said.

ManageSoft 6.0 acts as a "software warehouse," providing the functions of a warehouse logistics system, from acquisition to packing, distribution, tracking, status reporting and so on, he said.

The new release incorporates an executive dashboard that includes at-a-glance status information on a range of issues, such as "How many desktop PCs have the latest virus signature file, the latest Microsoft security update? What percentage of all computers have the minimum configuration required for a Windows XP rollout?" Greenhill added.

Although the warehouse analogy is not new—management tools repositories provide similar capabilities—the return to a focus on asset tracking is important, said Patrick Dryden, program director at Meta Group, a Stamford, Conn., research and consulting firm. "Most folks have forgotten what theyve learned with Y2K when they bought asset management tools to see whats out there. Those needs dont go away," Dryden said.

ManageSofts closest competitors include Marimba Inc. and Novadigm Inc. Despite the fact that those companies are much more visible, ManageSoft has put together a small customer base of some very large, blue chip customers, including Merrill Lynch & Co., Texas Instruments Inc. and Wells Fargo.

The new release of the tool, which works with Windows platforms, will be available by the end of the quarter. It is priced at $100 per seat, with volume discounts. It supports both Microsoft Systems Management Server and Active Directory.