Metastorm: Stretched Thin?By Baselinemag Print
Metastorm delivers easy-to-use software, but some say the company comes up short on customer service.
Metastorm delivers malleable, easy-to-use software for quickly creating business-process workflows, customers say. But some also believe the company, with just 110 employees, has overextended its resources.
"They just don't have the depth of support they need," says Cherie Pardue, director of application development and support at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. "Our staff knows more about the product than their staff do."
About two years ago, the hospital was running version 5.3 of the e-Work server. Over the span of two months the system regularly froze up, preventing access to it. Pardue says on-site Metastorm technicians couldn't determine the source of the problem, which "resolved itself" after a while. (Metastorm says it is "aware of some minor glitches" in version 5.3 that have been fixed in subsequent releases, including the most recent version, 6.5.)
Meanwhile, Steve Lutter, director of financial systems at Cornell University, says Metastorm's consulting group "has some very sharp guys and gals, but they're a little overloaded."
A Metastorm spokesman takes issue with such accounts, claiming that "the large majority of our clients" is satisfied with its technical support and professional services.
One of those admirers is Bob Travatello, CIO of propane gas distributor Blue Rhino. "Even when we had bugs, they've jumped on them and been receptive to our needs," he says.
Another fan is Tom Parnelle, a systems analyst at Gaston Memorial Hospital in Gastonia, N.C. "They're very good at supporting us," he says. Initially, the hospital wanted to use Sun Microsystems' iPlanet Web portal software in conjunction with e-Work to automate several human-resources processes, such as posting job listings. Parnelle's team was unable to get iPlanet to work with the Metastorm software and eventually installed Microsoft's Web server, but, he says, "The point was that Metastorm stood by us and tried to help."
Moreover, Parnelle says, Metastorm's training is excellent: After a week of advanced workshops, "I came back and knew exactly what to do. Now I can make it do whatever I want." The product, he adds, is very simple to use. "The icons mean exactly what you think they mean," he says. "I don't know the language behind e-Work, but it lets me build complex formulas super-easily."
Financial: ABN AMRO, CIT Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., Wilmington Trust
Government: Deutsche Post, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Communications Commission, National Transportation Safety Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Education: Cornell University, DePaul University
Manufacturing: American Greetings, Cooper Tire & Rubber, Fiat
Revenue: $20M in 2003
Growth: 35% to 55% year-over-year for the past three years
Customers: 720 in 37 countries
Axiom Ventures, Ironside Ventures, Riggs Capital Partners, Sandler Capital Management, 3i Group, Wall Street Technology Partners, UBS Capital
Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle
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