Merant Touts Software Development the ASP Way

Enterprise software development tools vendor Merant plc (LSE:MRN) added its weight to the growing trend towards online collaborative development with the launch yesterday of its ASP division.

MERANT ASaP provides central storage, version management and issue management for software development projects. It allows distributed development teams to share a single, managed resource where they can store the software code and track and archive all changes during the development process.

“We call it development on demand — it’s development on the Internet, for the Internet,” said Keith White, VP and general manager of the new ASP operation. “MERANT ASaP delivers predictable costs, guaranteed performance levels, and reduced resource requirements to the world of Internet application development”.

Developers use a web browser and secure user ID to access the service, which is based on products from the vendor’s Egility range of development tools. Customers sign up by filling out a set of web-based forms with the help of a Merant account manager. “The process typically takes less than an hour — we do it over the phone,” White told ASP News.

“Customers are telling us projects are taking hours rather than weeks and months to set up,” he said. “We’ve taken the complexity out from what customers have been burdened with in the past.”

He added that results from pilot projects have shown cost reductions of between 50% and 75%, as well as increased success rates for development projects.

Merant ASaP hosts the development management tools but does not host the code development itself, leaving customers free to choose their preferred development and deployment platforms. “We’re not going after hosting business here, we’re after development business,” said White.

But company CTO Andrew Weiss left open the possibility that future expansion could include hosted development. “MERANT ASaP serves as a future launching pad for a variety of application development solutions — from requirements gathering and data modeling to application development, testing, content management and distribution technologies,” he said.

Although collaborative online development is a rapidly growing phenomenon within the open source software movement, Merant ASaP is the first ASP tailored to the complex change and configuration management needs of traditional enterprise development teams.

The service is one of the first prestige ASP hosting wins for Intel Online Services, the hosting provider launched by chipmaker Intel Corp last year. Merant is also talking to other ASPs who are interested in offering its tools using the ASP model, said White.

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