ICS to Buy, Open Source, Project.net

Integrated Computer Solutions, Inc. (ICS) plans to announce next week the acquisition of Project.net, a provider of enterprise project portfolio management (PPM) software. As part of the acquisition, ICS also plans to launch a commercial open source version of Project.net’s PPM software.

“Having the source code available gives customers what they need: the ability to customize and add new features,” Peter Winston, CEO of ICS, told internetnews.com. “We’ll also be able to grow in spaces the original Project.net didn’t have the resources to do.”

Project.net said it has about 50,000 enterprise users at companies such as Schlumberger, Amazon.com, Shopzilla.com, Cornell University, and Bankers Life insurance company.

The acquisition is the latest tools-based buy for ICS, a provider of software development tools and services for UNIX and Linux professionals. Roger Bly, Project.net founder, will continue as vice president of research and development at ICS.

“We think project portfolio management, the execution of how people work together, is the next great enterprise application,” said Winston.

ICS will continue to sell commercial licenses of the software to customers who need the support that comes with it. “We don’t think if you’re going to bring thousands of users up that you’re not going to want support,” said Winston. “If you’re a small company with ten to twenty users, have fun with it. But when you look to scale, you need support.”

Project.net emphasizes completion of projects and combines project visibility, decision support features and goal alignment capabilities in its project management tools.

“What we aim to do is help you shoot the losers and double down on the winners,” said Winston. “If we can help you shoot the bottom ten percent that’s holding you back so you can focus on what’s important, there’s tremendous upside in that.”

Operations are expected to continue in both Bedford, Mass., where Project.net is headquartered and San Diego, where ICS is based.

“We’re a Web-based project management provider so we’d better be able to eat our own dog food and work as a distributed organization,” said Winston.

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