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Aspective Broadens Mobile Portfolio with Acquisition

Aspective, a European eBusiness solution provider, today announced that it has acquired Dataroam, a U.K wireless ASP that offers mobile workforce management software.

Ewald Weizenbauer, vice president and general manager of mBusiness at Aspective, told ASPnews that based on research and feedback from customers, workforce management software is an important category for wireless ASPs. He added that this acquisition will complement Aspective's existing customer relationship management (CRM) and personal information management (PIM) solutions.

After it made the decision to offer a workforce management product, the next decision for Aspective, Weizenbauer said, was whether to build the solution or partner for it. "We decided it would take too long to build expertise, so we took the partner track."

Dataroam turned out to be in a similar situation, but in reverse. "Dataroam was also on the partner track. They had the core application and could generate the pipe, but they needed the 7x24 support and back office infrastructure and they didn't have the money for it," Weizenbauer told ASPnews.

Dataroam originally approached Aspective about a partner relationship, Weizenbauer said. "There are many ways to partner. Merging made the most sense."

Aspective will retain about 10 of Dataroam's 30 employees, spread across several areas. Those who stay with the company are the ones who are "value-adding to workforce management product," Weizenbauer told ASPnews.

Weizenbauer said that no cash was involved with the acquisition. Aspective will maintain the Dataroam brand during the transition period but will eventually convert to the name Aspective mBusiness, which will operate under a separate P&L.

Aspective targets its services at enterprises in $500 to $1 billion range and takes a full service approach. In addition the application, it offers consulting, system integration, feasibility studies and managed services. "We see things from a holistic point of view," said Weizenbauer. Aspecitve also partners with Broadvision, Siebel Systems, IBM and other.

Aspective wireless applications work on variety of devices ranging from notebooks to personal digital assistants (PDAs) such as Hewlett Packard Jornada and Compaq iPaq. "For some application an Ipaq may make sense, but others need a ruggedized notebooks with a full screen. We have a team that understands how to match devices to applications."

Forrester Research reports that while PIMs are currently the most popular application for mobile devices today, enterprise applications are on the wireless horizon. According to the research, 54 percent of companies that deploy handheld devices use PIM applications, followed by calendars (51 percent) and contact tools (32 percent). However, in two years, 39 percent say they will implement CRM. And by 2003, two-thirds of the respondents say they will use field service and sales force automation applications.