Tech Industry

Changepoint joins rent-an-app trend

The software company's product, involv Team Intranet, provides users with a private intranet environment with a secure Web site.

One day after Lotus Developmentand its business partners unveiled a series of user-initiated groupware applications at a technology conference in Florida, a software company across the country in California rolled out its own rental groupware offering.

At Internet Showcase in San Diego, California, Changepoint International today debuted its involv Team Intranet product that provides users with a private intranet environment with a secure Web site, featuring user home pages and a series of groupware applications such as project management, document management, event planning, discussion and chat.

By using a standard Web browser, users can rent involv Team Intranet for $12.95 per user per month, by navigating to the company's product Web site and filing a subscription form. Users then have access to an intranet with a dedicated URL. The rented home page can be customized and new team members can be added, the company said.

"Even temporary work teams typically need more than one collaborative application to be optimally productive, Gerry Smith, president and chief executive of Changepoint International, said in a statement. "We're packaging this set of critical capabilities together, accessible from a single site for a single fee, so that users will no longer have to log in and out of multiple Web sites when renting more than one involv application."

The new product comes a day after Lotus debuted a bunch of similar applications at Lotusphere '98 in Orlando, Florida, building on the success of its Instant! Teamroom--a rentable, Domino-based, user-initiated groupware application that enables anyone with an Internet-ready PC to set up a secure collaboration site.

Observers say there is a growing market for the new rentable intranet packages. Also in the consumer space, Throw will debut rental "private spaces" next month. Epicon offers a service to rent Windows business applications without downloading all the code, while Intermark rents apps by the minute, month, or individual use.

Changepoint's involv Team Intranet is now available for rent, but customers can try the new package free of charge for 30 days. If a team site is closed down within 30 days of creation, no billing will occur, the company said.