It's time for real time


... development paradigm. In the future, you won't be managing a significant software development project that doesn't involve programmers strewn about the planet. So why use tools that were designed for people working side by side? asks Bill Portelli, CEO of CollabNet Inc. in Brisbane, Calif. That's why his firm has become the primary sponsor of Subversion, an open-source version-control tool designed for developers working together over the Web. This week, Collab-Net unveils its Sub-version On-Demand service, which adds collaboration, life-cycle management and other features on a subscription basis. CollabNet charges $33,000 per year for 50 development team members.

On-demand software can be pricey ...

... compared with perpetual license approaches. "There's a little bit of sticker shock when you look long term," says Benjamin Holtz, CEO of Green Beacon LLC in Watertown, Mass. For example, to get "true costs," he suggests that you compare on-demand software with licensed applications over a period of three to five years. The licensed approach wins every time, Holtz claims. Still, his company, which customizes packaged CRM and ERP apps, faces competitive pressure from the likes of Inc. because price isn't the only reason users like the on-demand model. Letting someone else manage the software is another. So Green Beacon has devised a hosted alternative for CRM users, starting at $6,000 per month. In the fall, Green Beacon will offer ERP software in a hosted environment, Holtz says.

Federal foot-dragging on data privacy ...

... legislation hurts businesses. Without a national privacy protection law to abide by, U.S. IT vendors are at a disadvantage against their European and Japanese competitors. That's the assertion of Phil Dunkelberger, CEO of PGP Corp. in Palo Alto, Calif. He says the fragmented, state-driven privacy policies in the U.S. give pause to European and Japanese governments and businesses that are evaluating U.S. technologies and services. "They wonder whether our government is serious about protecting private information," Dunkelberger says. "The perception is that here in the U.S., we are not diligent about protecting data." He adds that PGP, which offers data security tools to IT users, doesn't have a preference among any of the dozen or so privacy bills circulating in Congress. "We just need to get one to the floor for a vote," says Dunkelberger, who testified this month on the urgency for passing such legislation. But congressional staffers tell him that any privacy bill "is a long shot for 2006," he says. Election year and all that. So when your representative is campaigning locally instead of doing the people's business in Washington, give him an earful about the need for a federal data-privacy bill -- now.