The souped-up version of eRoom.net also carries a price tag 20% higher than its predecessor, with fees ranging from $300 a month for a small eRoom--an online workspace--to $1,200 a month for one that can support as many as 100 participants. But the approval-management capabilities alone are worth the added cost, says Bliss Kaye, CIO of International Design and Construction Online, which is testing the new service.
International Design and Construction Online provides portal-based tools for the architecture, engineering, and construction industry, including access to eRoom.net's online workplaces. Most of the company's customers have multistep approval processes that, without approval-management tools, require documents to be delivered via courier at considerable time and expense, Kaye says.
International Design and Construction Online has found that the real-time tools in eRoom.net, which include whiteboarding and document sharing, let its customers use eRooms to present computer-aided-design drawings with more visual clarity than other software the company has seen. The software also supports instant messaging. ERoom.net is so effective, Kaye says, she's planning to license the packaged version for full deployment within 18 months so that she can increase customization of the eRoom tools.
ERoom says enhanced customization also can be achieved by combining a dedicated eRoom server with the eRoom.net service, resulting in virtually the same level of functionality as the vendor's standalone product.
The only difference: In the hosted version, eRoom's staff offers IT support.