Metatec Unveils Express 3.0
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Metatec International (Nasdaq: META) announced today (Nov 1) the launch of a new version of Metatec Express, an Internet-based service that enables publishers to manage the release and distribution of software products over the Internet.
A key feature of Version 3.0 provides detailed reporting of specific data used by publishers to establish immediate revenue recognition through Internet-based distribution of product releases and recurring updates.
"Software distribution for corporate customers has tended to be a cumbersome process," Jeffrey F. Tarplin, general manager of the Metatec Internet Products Group, told ASP News. "We've taken it and packaged it into a simple web-based service."
Metatec Express blends confirmed Internet-based software distribution with tracking and customer support services. Publishers avoid the cost of setting up and managing an online distribution infrastructure and get a complete, outsourced solution for a monthly fee. The service provides business software publishers with real-time distribution tracking, while offering their clients continuous availability of the latest releases and updates.
Most of Metatec's publishing customers sell business infrastructure and server-resident applications rather than desktop software. "It's not a credit card transaction," Tarplin said. "It's typically a large corporation buying an annual or multi-year service contract with updates."
This software distribution method is gaining acceptance, with more than half of the customers of publishers Metatec works with opting to take advantage of the service, often in combination with traditional CD-based delivery. "A typical corporate customer wants updates quickly, but still asks for the CD for archival and backup purposes," Tarplin said.
As an outsourced service, Metatec Express also enables software publishers to quickly deploy a portal for each customer. Based on software license and maintenance agreements, authorized users are given password-protected access to the correct software packages. Customers receive email notification of new files and documents that are available for download and can check their download histories and select packages by name, version or category. Metatec's Java-based download manager provides confirmation of completed software downloads to the end user.
"We help business software publishers plan, control and execute the online release and delivery of recurring updates to their products," Tarplin said. "Express 3.0 takes the product from the release manager and makes it directly available to customers for immediate worldwide delivery through a controlled online service."
Metatec Express is currently deployed across 200,000 users in leading companies worldwide, such as OpenMarket, Rabo Bank and Mercator.
Metatec Express is appealing to CFOs and business managers because it facilitates the earliest possible recognition of revenues and reduces fulfillment costs, Tarplin said. "At the end of each quarter, software publishers frequently rush to complete sales and product shipments in order to achieve their revenue objectives. Metatec Express provides the specialized reporting needed to prove that shipment to customers has been made, so that revenue can be recognized at the earliest possible time," he said.
Additional features of Metatec Express, new in version 3.0, include enhanced customer tracking and entitlement, support for existing third party entitlement systems, online release management, a demo center and secure off-site storage of critical business data.
The Metatec Internet Products Group is part of Metatec International, a worldwide information distribution company that integrates Internet-based electronic commerce, secure online information distribution technologies and supply chain services with CD-ROM and DVD production to provide businesses