Review – IT


IntaSoft introduces IntaChange

Published: 9th March 2004
Author: Philip Howard
Channel: Data Management

IntaSoft is one of my favourite companies. Partly this is because it espouses the “small is beautiful” approach to life rather than the delusions of grandeur that afflict some of the leading lights in our industry. As a company it has been around for nearly 20 years and although it has expanded into the United States, and has distributors in Germany and Australia, it is happy to be a small, self-funded private company with no pretensions.

If you wanted to think of IntaSoft as a furniture company then you would think of it as a family firm of specialist craftsmen as opposed to the mass-produced, anonymous giants like MFI and Ikea. The emphasis at IntaSoft is very much on the quality of its products and the service it provides to its customers.

In fact, until last month, IntaSoft only had one product, AllChange, which is a change and configuration management tool, of which version 7.0 will shortly be released. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of AllChange is its flexibility. It is sufficiently extensible, for example, that it can be used for hardware change management as well as catering for software, which is not generally the case for more well-known products in this space.

This flexibility has been carried through to the company’s new product, IntaChange. This is a (completely) web-based change management tool and it has a number of neat features. However, it is the flexibility that is, again, most obvious. If there is a field you can access then you can extend it, if there is a wizard then there is a non-wizard way of working. The company’s general approach, for both products, is that if you can imagine something being extensible or customisable then it is.

Funnily enough, this doesn’t extend to personalisation in IntaChange. The user interface comes in a standard format and with standard colours. While you can personalise it to the extent of excluding things from the screen that you are not interested in seeing, you can’t change the colours. Fortunately, this isn’t likely to be a problem. The company collaborated on the user interface design with Plymouth University and between them they have done a good job.

Apart from flexibility, probably the two best things about the product are its integration with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Project, respectively. In the case of the former this is simply a question of populating contact details from Microsoft Exchange into IntaChange so that these do not need to be re-keyed, which is useful but hardly earth shattering.

The integration with Microsoft Project, on the other hand, provides a bi-directional update (there is a synchronisation option that automatically synchronises the details in the two products) so that data from IntaChange can be used to automatically populate Project (or vice versa). This means that you can build your Gantt charts and whatever without having to re-key all the details. Anyone who works with Project will know that this is a very significant waste of time currently and this integration is something close to earth shattering. In addition, IntaSoft believes that it is the first change management vendor to release such an integration, at least at this depth.

So, don’t be put off by the small size of the company. It wouldn’t have been in business for two decades if it didn’t have something going for it.

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