MatrixOne: Rolling the Dice

By Joshua Weinberger  |  Posted 2003-01-17

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.

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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.

Reference Checks

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

Jim Macfarlane
Former PDM Project Leader, Systems Manufacturing
(650) 230-5079
Project: Attempted—and, after more than two years, halted—a deployment of MatrixOne Team Central for document management.

Mark Heidenreich
PLM Operations Leader, No. America
(312) 879-3317
Project: Consulting giant recently licensed Program and Team Central to manage internal service development projects in North America.

Ron Gentry
Configuration Data Manager
(949) 790-1488
Project: In-flight wireless provider relies on four of the "Centrals" and eMatrix 9.52 to enable collaboration between engineering and product-sales division in Seattle, and services division in Irvine, Calif.

Amy Monette
Director, Hardware Engineering
(775) 448-0514
Project: Gaming-equipment manufacturer has been running data management on eMatrix since 1999, with no immediate upgrade plans.

Barbara White
PLM Manager
(920) 478-2191
Project: Bike manufacturer is currently debugging a five-seat deployment of Program Central.

David Conrad
VP, IT & Global e-Business
(734) 983-5142
Project: After cutting short a Metaphase deployment, automotive manufacturer chose several of MatrixOne's "Central" programs and eMatrix for collaborative product efforts.

Company Profile

210 Littleton Road
Westford, MA 01886
(978) 589-4000


Mark O'Connell
President, CEO
Became president in September 1996 and chief executive officer the following July. Spent a year as VP of marketing after coming over from Digital Equipment, where he'd had a heavy marketing background.

Michael Segal
Senior VP, Customer Success
Has spent nearly two decades in positions in manufacturing, quality assurance and customer service.

John Fleming
Senior VP, Worldwide Marketing
Prior to joining the company in July 2002, was CEO at software firm WorkPlaceIQ, and, before that, marketing VP for NetCentric.

eMatrix global collaboration platform, MatrixOne Value Chain Portfolio of applications, Configurator Central, DocuManagement Central, Engineering Central, Program Central, Software Central, Sourcing Central, Supplier Central, Team Central.