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Intranet Solutions Aims for Larger Rivals

Internet analysts love a company with a solid business model and a judicious sense of when to spend money and what to spend it on. Those reasons alone are enough to make people appreciate what IntraNet Solutions Inc. has done over the last six months.

While e-commerce businesses are gasping for air in the once rich sea of venture capital dollars, the content management companies who outfit them with publishing capabilities, such as IntraNet Solutions , are collecting handsome fees for their services. What INRS does is roll out B2B and B2E intranet and extranet applications.

If people were to examine INRS' track record over the last two months, they would see that the firm bought Inso's Information Exchange Division for $55 million in cash, purchased software integrator InfoAgent Solutions BV and inked deals with both Yahoo! Inc. to provide file viewing technology for portal's e-mail users and Netegrity Inc. to bundle Netegrity's security technology into its heralded content management system.

Dan Ryan, vice president of business development and marketing for IntraNet Solutions, said the deals were part of the company's aggressive growth plans.

"Historically, we've done little sooner and a lot more later once we proved we could deliver the numbers," Ryan told InternetNews.com this week. "What we've done is gone through critical mass stage. We're becoming more aggressive. We're up to almost 300 employees, we took in about $10 million in revenue, we filed a $130 million secondary in March. Those acquisitions we made are value-based, accretive business-to-business plays and are an indication that we believe we have identified sweet spot in the market by offering very unique business content as opposed to consumer content."

INRS' hallmark offering is the Xpedio Content Management System, of which the fourth and latest version hit the market this week. Xpedio allows clients to contribute content from desktop applications, from computer-assisted design programs with great control. It then publishes the content and frees Webmasters from routine coding and updating.

The Xpedio Content Server retails for about $150,000, which includes staging, production, development and unlimited use. The Xpedio WorkGroup sells for $30,000. INRS also offers a consulting services group and a program where clients may receive technical training. Many of the company's 1,500 customers opt for the higher-margin Xpedio Content Management package.

Andrew Warzecha, senior program director of electronic business strategies at META Group, said INRS is doing a lot right in the content management arena.

"They are a very smart and opportunistic vendor," Warzecha said. "Their niche is a broad range of functionality across a wide spectrum and they have done that inexpensively in offering easy-to-deploy solutions."

But despite the success of the content management firms, Warzecha doesn't see everything through rose-colored glasses.

"If IntraNet Solutions had a weakness I would say that it would have to improve its workflow capability," Warzecha said. "But none of the content management companies have great workflow capability."

Workflow encompasses the series of tasks within an organization to produce a final outcome. For example, in a publishing setting, a document might be automatically routed from writer to editor to proofreader to production. At each stage in the workflow, one individual or group is responsible for a specific task. Once the task is complete, the workflow software ensures that the individuals responsible for the next task are notified and receive the data they need to execute their stage of the process.

But the real tale of the tape is in th