Virtual Communication Services (VCS) is hoping to parlay a handful of overseas partner successes with its enterprise project management tools by updating the software and launching a new, accompanying reseller program here in the United States.
"We're really working to be the Yahoo of project management," said Nick Matteucci, co-managing partner at VCS, a services and software company based here. "The tools are very simple to use, easy to set up and easy to digest within the organization."
Version 3.0 Virtual Program Management Intranet (VPMi) Enterprise Edition for Web-based project, program and portfolio management includes new features such as online process maps that show where different projects are located in their life cycles.
VCS' Jeff Puplillo (l.) and Nick Matteucci (r.): VPMi helps minimize costs through Web-based deployment and fixed, one-time per-server pricing.
The map can be customized to diagram the life cycle of a company's projects, and the collaboration environment is Web-based, so customers need only be equipped with a Web browser to utilize the software, Matteucci said.
VPMi integrates with Microsoft Project, ships with applicable source code and provides monthly metrics to measure overall project results. In addition to the enterprise version, VPMi is now also being offered in ASP and hosted versions. VCS customers include Southwestern Bell, Cingular and Johnson & Johnson.
Matteucci said VPMi helps customers minimize cost through Web-based deployment and fixed, one-time per-server pricing that eliminates per-user charges, annual fees and maintenance contracts.
Matteucci and Jeff Pupillo, co-managing partner, founded VCS in 1998 after leaving their posts as project management consultants with Ernst & Young.
Services, which represent about 70 percent of VCS' business, would remain a core strategic focus, Matteucci said. Both, however, say they hope the formal planned launch Monday of an accompanying four-tiered channel program would eventually bring a closer mix of services and software and a solid base of solution provider partners.
"We're trying to get a nice balance of services and software, and we're offering this tool to other, maybe smaller, services companies to help back them up and get exposure to [customer] levels they haven't had in the past," Papilla said.
Level One Referral Partners would receive 5 percent of the cost of the VPMi Enterprise Edition, or about $35,000, for a referral that results in a new client. Level Two Resale Partners act as traditional resellers, which in some instances would include VCS as a secondary consultant in a given contract.
Level Three Strategic Partners would have the flexibility to work autonomously with their customers to offer a full range of services associated with the VPMi. Level Four ASP Partners would be able to market and sell the ASP versions of VCS' products to potential clients.
Christopher Worley, CEO of CITI, a solution provider based in Newport Wagnall, England, said CITI signed on as a partner with VCS about nine months ago. CITI focuses on work in the highereducation, retail and finance markets in the United Kingdom.
"We wanted a tool that was very easy to transport and which didn't require hundreds of hours of loading data to make it valuable," Worley said. "We had produced our own Internet version of project support office, but [it was] not as robust and thoroughly grounded as VCS' product."
Worley said VCS molded the partnership to work for CITI, and while he was initially concerned about partnering from such a long distance, the relationship so far has been successful.