Agile Software: Fan Appreciation Day

By Joshua Weinberger  |  Posted 2003-01-17

There's nothing quite like a fervent fan base to compensate for small market share. While Agile's tools are notably light on the design side, the company has a reputation in the electronics industry few can match. Especially popular among start-ups and in the Bay Area, Agile prides itself on good word-of-mouth, ease-of-use, and a self-supporting user community.

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At PDA maker Handspring, for example, where many of the first employees were familiar with Agile from their days at 3Com, Document Service Manager Jim Macfarlane is among the die-hard Agile devotees. By spring, he'll be on Agile 8.5, an upgrade that requires stepping up from a Windows NT server to one running Windows 2000.

Colleen Walford, engineering data management director for storage company Iomega, was not overly concerned with Agile's small size. Iomega conducted a thorough review of competing products, and decided not only to stay with Agile, but to upgrade from 6.0 to 8.5, mainly on the strength of the firm's integration and 8.5's improved architecture. Walford also was pleasantly surprised by the quality of Agile's key account reps—many of whom, she notes, have engineering degrees and backgrounds, and all of whom "have been knowledgeable and willing to share information on how other companies are setting up their processes on Agile."

Avocent, a maker of KVM switches, uses Agile for everything from bills of materials through end-of-life (though some functions, such as costing, are still outside the Agile system). Senior manager Dan Bidwell says Agile dropped support on version 6 without much notice, forcing him to upgrade to 8.5. No matter—nothing compares to the software's simplicity, he says, or the vendor's overall handling of his account. Other users are similarly pleased to be spared the headache of configuring.

Agile's move to a named-user structure is a concern—legacy users have had some wiggle room, but those days are numbered, and new users will have no choice at all.

Company Profile

Agile Software
One Almaden Blvd.
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 975-3900


Bryan D. Stolle
Chairman, CEO
Cofounded the company in 1995. Was deeply involved in marketing prior to that. Also cofounded Rexcom Systems.

Jay Fulcher
President, COO
Previous stints at SAP and PeopleSoft; was executive VP of PeopleSoft Global Services.

Chris Wong
Executive VP, Products and Strategy
Responsible for developing and marketing Agile's PLM platform. Founded SkillsVillage, which was acquired by PeopleSoft in 2001.

Tal Ball
Senior VP, Global Consulting
Until January 2002, he was VP of Engineering and CTO at online marketplace eWanted. Before that, he held development and consulting roles at Aspect Development, which was acquired by i2.

Agile's PLM suite is comprised of Product Definition, Change Collaboration, Supplier Management, Design Integration, Manufacturing Integration, Partner Synchronization, Product Collaboration, Product Cost Management, and Product Service and Improvement. Other products include Agile eHub, Agile AML Server, Agile eXpress Messenger, Agile eXpress, and My Agile iCM.

Reference Checks

Executives listed here are all users of Agile Software's products. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

Dan Bidwell
Senior Manager, Engineering Services
(800) 932-9239
Project: KVM-switch manufacturer implemented Agile 6 in 2000. Aims to upgrade to 8.5 in the next several months.

Steve Curtis
Manager, PDM Processes
(530) 889-5223
Project: Laser manufacturer went live on Agile 6.7 in 2001 to funnel high-quality front-end information into Oracle Manufacturing system, and to speed the change process and time-to-market. Now on 7.0, and looking to move to 8.5.

Jim Macfarlane
Document Service Manager
(650) 230-5079
Project: One of the first to implement Agile 6.7, the PDA manufacturer is now committed to a spring 2003 upgrade to version 8.5.

Colleen Walford
Director, Engineering Data Management
(801) 332-3101
Project: Storage solutions company is implementing Agile 8.5 this month for the infrastructure behind its collaborative outsource business model.

Mark Walcott
Director, Engineering & Quality Assistance
(734) 207-6662
Project: The result of a three-company merger, the metal-based automotive components supplier's use of Agile dates back to version 4.0. On track to complete an upgrade from 8.0 to 8.5 by the end of January.

Bill Deighton
VP, Information Technology & Services
(248) 299-2706
Project: Automotive electronics provider uses portions of 8.0 to cut procurement and product development costs.