PeopleCube Targets Human Side of Resource Management

Through ProcessCube, a hosted ASP service, the newly combined entity of PeopleCube and Meeting Maker helps businesses to fit logistics staff into work schedules.

After an acquisition earlier this month, PeopleCube—formerly known as Meeting Maker, Inc.—is carving out a new niche for itself in HPM (human process management), an emerging solutions area which hones in on the "people" side of resource management.

Even before the mid-November buyout, Waltham, Mass.-based Meeting Maker had already started integrating its meeting scheduling software with UK-based PeopleCubes HPM technology, said Ann Hamann, vice president of marketing for the new entity, in an interview.

About two weeks ago, Meeting Maker first announced that it had taken on the name of the acquired property, PeopleCube.

Hamann foresees applications in areas ranging from SCM/L (supply chain management/logistics) to BPO (business process outsourcing), shared service centers and human resources administration.

Where SCM/L focuses on the management of inventory, transportation vehicles and other "things" in the supply chain, PeopleCubes HPM technology administers the use of human skill sets, she said.

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ProcessCube, the Microsoft .Net and BizTalk 2004-based hosted service resulting from the deal, helps companies to fit people with the appropriate skills into work schedules and processes, according to Hamann.

Several customers of the original PeopleCube have used the technology in logistics applications, often to schedule people with the right training to drive specific vehicles in a transportation fleet.

For example, BP (British Petroleum) deploys the technology in its cargo ship operations, Hamann said.

"[ProcessCube] is particularly good for scheduling knowledge workers with specialized expertise," said Rebecca Wetteman, an analyst at Nucleus Research.

Beyond professional drivers, Wetteman cited outside consultants and attorneys as other examples.

The buyout of the original PeopleCube follows a string of other acquisitions by Meeting Maker.

Despite its new name, the converged company will continue to provide the calendaring and scheduling products and services previously sold by Meeting Maker.

These include WebEvent, a hosted service for event calendaring, along with software such as Resource Scheduler, Scheduler Plus and the companys flagship Meeting Maker package.

The newly combined firm has about 7,500 customers all told, ranging from small businesses to big enterprises, according to the PeopleCube executive.

According to Wettemann, PeopleCube is up against virtually no competition in the emerging HPM space.

OpenText Corp. and Vignette, Inc., for instance, each offer BPM (business process management) technology that might lend itself well to HPM applications, Wettemann said.

"But we havent seen anybody else [except PeopleCube] put together processes with calendaring and scheduling to nearly the same level," the analyst said.

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