MatrixOne: Rolling the Dice

By Joshua Weinberger Print this article Print

Dossier: MatrixOne has bet its recovery on big promises to clients. Is the gamble paying off?

Gamblers know the house always wins—unless, when you see your one perfect hand, you bet it all. MatrixOne, trying to rebound from market-share losses and a 15% staff reduction, seems to have some of that same spirit. Promise big, when the opportunity presents itself, and try to deliver big. PDF Download

Back in 1998, when gaming-equipment maker International Game Technology (IGT) was looking to leave behind an archaic paper-based system, the company sent out RFPs to 47 vendors, eventually narrowing the field to four. IGT provided CDs sampling the files the final software would be expected to handle. Three of the finalists balked; MatrixOne delivered in 72 hours. "I was able to go live 30 days after the final purchase," IGT Director of Hardware Engineering Services Amy Monette says now. Currently running eMatrix 9.6, with over 750 named users, Monette says IGT's initial seven-figure investment showed a return in just nine months—and the software helped reduce engineering cycle time by 33%, allowing IGT to double its engineering output without increasing headcount. Subsequent license-expansion costs and consulting fees have provided less-impressive returns.

Ron Gentry, configuration data manager for wireless provider Connexion by Boeing, is using 30 concurrent licenses to support about 300 users—a typical ratio for those lucky enough to still have that license structure. (New customers are being offered only named licenses.) With PLM, Connexion has been able to streamline the tedious process of review and approval—and finds its processes "50%-60% more efficient" than they were two years ago.

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young is also upbeat about PLM—and now it's practicing what it's been preaching. Mark Heidenreich, CGE&Y's PLM Operations Leader, says that after five years of walking other companies through MatrixOne implementations, "our intention is to use the tool internally much the way we advise our clients to." While Heidenreich appreciates MatrixOne's flexibility—an oft-cited trait—other customers have found deployments taking longer than advertised. If the new partnership with IBM Global Services can't help drive new sales, MatrixOne may have to continue to subsist on what's left of the cash from its 2000 IPO.

This article was originally published on 2003-01-17
Assistant Editor
After being on staff at The New Yorker for five years, Josh later traveled the world, hitting all seven continents in a single year. At Yale University, he majored in American Studies, English, and Theatre Studies.

eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.