BRE Systems, run by former Palm Chief Technology Officer Bill Maggs, released its "Liaison" bundle this week. The product is a collection of Java servlets that can run on any standard hardware or software platform.
It's meant to help teams keep track of various aspects of product development, including code reviews and tests, bug fixes and general project management. Several companies are testing Liaison now, and customer announcements are expected in the coming months.
Maggs said that afterhandheld maker Palm early last year, he realized that one of the company's ailments--common among big businesses--was the time it took to create products.
"There are only so many human and organizational improvements that a company can do to develop products faster," Maggs said. "Cycles are twice as long as they need to be, because companies don't have the tools they need."
One of the chief problems is collaboration, Maggs said. Product-development team members aren't always in the same office, so working together can be a major hurdle. And although companies often develop customized tools to address this issue, the tools usually aren't easy to use or aren't accessible to everyone.
Shawn Willett, an analyst with research firm Current Analysis, agreed, saying that the market for collaboration tools is fragmented and that bringing them together could improve the development process. But acceptance will depend on the markets BRE targets, because the needs of companies vary widely.
BRE Systems will try to license Liaison to application-development, consumer-electronics, financial-services and consulting companies.
Santa Barbara, Calif.-based BRE received its first round of funding from its founders: Maggs, COO Suzanne Kaljian and CTO Jonathan Siegel. The 20-employee company is beginning to look for its second round of funding.
Maggs is alsoas chairman of Los Altos, Calif.-based start-up MobileWise, which aims to provide mobile-device owners with wire-free electrical power.