Breze Doubles

ProtoView Merges

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the

September 5, 2001 edition of U.S. Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane: Real Soft, Breze, ProtoView

Not every information technology firm is laying off

workers; some fortunate ones are expanding — Real Soft, Breze,

and ProtoView for example. Real Soft has expanded to 11,200 square

feet on Route 130. Breze has doubled its space to nearly 2,200 square

feet on Quakerbridge Road. And ProtoView has merged with another

company

and is moving from 5,000 feet on Route 130 to 15,000 feet at Windsor

Corporate Park.

Real Soft is surviving the current telecom downturn by providing

contract

services, and it has expanded to Crestan Associates’ Cranbury Campus,

a space found by Paul Goldman of Commercial Property Networks. With

450 employees in the United States plus 70 in Bangalore, it has about

24 people at this new headquarters.

A prime vendor for AT&T since 1997, Real Soft is also doing work for

Lucent and IBM — all in networking and development, everything

from C++ to voice over (IVR) support, development, and networking

testing — and it supplies staff through 26 subcontracting

companies.

Rajan Desai, president of Real Soft Inc., has a bachelor’s degree

in chemical engineering from the University of Baroda in India (Class

of ’82) and a master’s in computer science from Texas Tech. In 1991,

after stints with AT&T, Lehman Brothers, and Paine Webber, he started

his business. "I saw the need that there were major corporations

that wanted contract workers," he says.

Often Real Soft is asked to "provision" a new system. This

involves determining what the client needs — cables, power,

access,

satellite license, for instance — and whether the proposed system

will be compatible with existing and contemplated technology, whether

the host country can support the technology, and whether it can handle

anticipated loads. Then it builds a mini-system for the client and

tests it in a micro environment.

Careful attention to team building is one element of Real Soft’s

success.

"Because the technology is constantly evolving the good people

are hard to find," says Sharon Paulmier, account manager.

"Right

now, IVR is hot, and we have had a resurgence of a need for Unix Java

people. We are spread out all over the country, and I spend a great

deal of time on the road, visiting people and managers. I am available

24 hours a day because our people work here 24 hours a day."

"Most of our people are working in a team format and the dynamics

of the team, strengths and weaknesses, are very important," says

Paulmier. "Certainly keeping client managers happy is part of

my job but so is making sure our employees are feeling appreciated

and resolving any issues they may have. We have an inhouse attorney,

Inderjit Sidhu, to handle not only the contracts and subcontractor

agreements, but also immigration issues."

About half the workers are Asian, many from China but also from other

areas of the Pacific Rim, and there are also contingents from the

Middle East, eastern Europe, and South America. Last year’s winter

party brought together nearly 400 people at Chutney Mary’s on Route

1 in Monmouth Junction.

Real Soft Inc., 2540 Route 130, Cranbury Campus

Suite 118, Cranbury 08512. Rajan Desai, president. 609-436-3636; fax,

609-436-3637. Home page: www.realsoftinc.com

Top Of Page
Breze Doubles

Breze Inc. has doubled in size with a move from

Princeton

Meadows Office Center to 2,200 square feet in the Mercadien Group’s

building on Quakerbridge Road. Counting its contractors, this computer

consulting and software development firm employs 25 people. For

Fortune

500 firms it focuses on electronic commerce and decision support,

as well as on direct marketing.

Both Samir Patel and Rita Patel had had significant careers before

they founded Breze Inc. in 1991. Samir had worked at Digital Equipment

and Hewlett Packard, and Rita had worked at Allied Signal and

Bloomberg.

They cater to a niche market, doing large scale systems for decision

support — data warehousing and data mining. "Breze looks at

a client’s existing data and focuses on maximizing the profit through

efficient and effective analysis, and then presents the results via

web interfaces or other media in a meaningful way," says Jerry

Konecny, vice president of professional services at Breze.

The Patels’ growth strategy is one that many consulting firms try

— but fail — to emulate. Start off with one major client,

a dependable one that preferably is in the Fortune 100 category, and

but don’t depend on that client. Energetically look elsewhere for

new clients. It’s the "don’t put your eggs in one basket"

principle, says Konecny, and many a company has learned this the hard

way. Konecny, a graduate of Honeywell Institute for Information

Sciences

in New York, joined the company last year after 17 years with AT&T

and extensive work for General Electric in Piscataway.

For instance, Breze’s initial major client was Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Until a year ago, the B-MS business was responsible for more than

50 percent of revenues. Now B-MS represents just one-third of the

business — an achievement of which Konecny can be proud.

"Since

last year we have acquired sufficient numbers of new clients so that

Bristol-Myers Squibb no longer makes up more than half of the

business,"

says Konecny.

"For any business to succeed, you need to diversify your client

base," he cautions. He points out that you become more valuable

to other clients if you have a variety of solutions in your portfolio.

And you are investing in the leading edge technologies when you train

or hire people with those skills to meet new customer needs.

Another Breze strategy worth noting is to leverage relationships with

suppliers. When Breze’s accounting firm, Druker Rahl & Fein, moved

from Farber Road to Quakerbridge Road, it set up an umbrella

organization,

the Mercadien Group, to offer additional services. Then it began

inviting

appropriate firms to come "live" under its umbrella and rent

space, Breze took the offer.

"We saw it as a win win situation," says Konecny. Rather than

purchase its own local area network and 24 by 7 server support, Breze

could use the existing set-up on Quakerbridge Road. "Before this

we have had to work those issues on our own. And when we offer these

services to our own customers, we can speak from our experience."

He compares this to tasting the menu before putting it on the table

at a restaurant. "To move ahead with any type of relationship

with Mercadien, we would want to understand what their true

capabilities

are."

Breze hopes to add Application Service Provider (ASP) types of

services

to its data mining and management services. The most common ASP

service

is providing web portals, but others might be customer relationship

management support and decision support. Konecny is particularly

enthusiastic

about out-tasking "inter-enterprise relationships." An example

of this is when a company decides to set up an E-mail correspondence

with its vendors but doesn’t have the in-house staff with the time

and skills to accomplish this.

"It’s especially useful for short-term projects," says

Konecny,

"much as if you used FedEx to pick up and deliver your packages

rather than take them to the post office."

"Mercadien and Breze offer a much larger scope of services than

we can offer independently," says Konecny, and he agrees that

referral sales between building occupants may indeed be stimulated

by propinquity.

No one company can provide all the services and solutions that clients

need, says Konecny. "If Breze and Mercadien can develop

applications

tailored to the business needs of the clients, the biggest winners

would be our customers. I don’t think there is a firm out there that

doesn’t need data mining technology."

— Barbara Fox

Breze Inc., 3625 Quakerbridge Road, Hamilton 08619.

Samir and Rita Patel, owners. 609-587-4200; fax, 609-587-7200.

www.breze.com

Top Of Page
ProtoView Merges

In January Dean Guida’s software company, ProtoView,

merged with Long Island-based Sheridan Software Systems & Trade, and

formed Infragistics Inc. ProtoView builds software components that

help build web applications on all the major platforms. Only a

development

lab remains on Long Island, and the new company’s programmers are

crammed into just 5,000 square feet on Route 130.

Guida — ProtoView’s 36-year-old founder — remains as CEO and

president. "We are negotiating a lease and moving to the old RCA

building at Windsor Corporate Park," says Guida, "where we

have about 15,000 square feet with options to acquire another 15,000.

We hope to move in the fourth quarter — we have 40 people now

and are doubled up in offices and are out in the hallway." He

expects to grow to 78 employees. Peter Dodds, of Keller Dodds

Woodworth,

found this space for Guida.

Protoview was founded in 1989 by this Jersey-born computer prodigy,

the son of a legal secretary and a restaurateur. He began his run

at 21 as a University of Miami software writer. He and his wife,

Karen,

formerly a software designer at Wave Systems, have three children

under six — two girls and a boy.

Protoview’s client list has included Delta Airlines, Merrill Lynch,

the New York Stock Exchange, UPS, FedEx, and Morgan Stanley. "We

have sold to every Fortune 2000 company out there," says Guida.

"Goldman Sachs has standardized on us."

Sheridan focused on tools for Microsoft’s Visual Studio, and ProtoView

worked on Java and ActiveX, and this combination is billed as the

"the largest privately held component vendor in that market

space."

The new company offers components and services to build web-based

applications using COM, Java and .NET environments. In January, 2000

the firm was chosen as one of 10 companies to fashion pre-built

components

for the beta version of Microsoft’s .NET platform.

The firm’s most recent hire, Anthony R. Ferrara as director of

professional

services, had been director of CRM Consulting for IntelliCorp and

has worked with such clients as the U.S. Department of Defense, IBM,

SAP, and Siemens.

Infragistics will continue to support COM products from the two former

companies outside UltraSuite, which will now be referred to as Classic

Products. Its products will continue to be sold through domestic and

international partners such as ComponentSource, Corporate Software,

Programmers Paradise, The Programmer’s Supershop, and VBXtras.

"As the CEO of Infragistics I no longer write software

applications

and I do miss doing that," says Guida. "The merger has

provided

me with the opportunity of running a leading software company. On

a daily basis I come face to face with the challenges of today’s

fast-paced

marketplace; this involves recognizing the latest technology trends

and developing new applications that deliver added value and benefits

to our customers. Working with the young and talented staff at

Infrafgistics

to develop these industry leading applications for a constantly

evolving

marketplace is what brings me great satisfaction."

"We are doing our part to make it easier for programmers to build

applications," says Guida.

Infragistics/ProtoView Development, 2540 Route

130, Cranbury 08512. Dean Guida, president. 609-655-5000; fax,

609-655-5353.

Www.infragistics.com


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