Arena News Unveils Sweeping Vision for Managing Product Changes

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Foster City, Calif., Feb 6 -, the first company to provide web-native software that enables collaborative product development around a bill-of-materials (BOM) framework, today unveiled its product change management strategy and announced its roadmap for integrating the new functionality into its application. The solution leverages the architecture and application design to let customers manage changing data during the design and production stages of the development lifecycle and integrate their supply chain partners at every point in the process. Functionality for version control, announced today as the first component of the release, is available immediately to existing customers (see related announcement dated Feb. 6, 2002). The second set of features will be introduced as an add-on module in Q2 2002.

“Collaboration is not optional for companies that wish to be competitive — it’s imperative,” said Michael Topolovac, chief executive officer and co-founder of “Increasingly this requires effective communication around changes to product data throughout development. This presents two challenges: communicating with a complex supply chain that may be scattered around the world, and structuring that communication according to the requirements of each phase of development. That’s why any solution for managing changes has to do more than just allow collaboration — it has to enhance it. And only a solution that’s built on a web-native platform — with an understanding of the complete development process — can enable true collaboration around changing data.”

The approach to change management offers key advantages over existing alternatives that range from conventional paper- and spreadsheet-based systems to expensive client-server solutions. Sharing information when using any of these systems generally forces users to replicate data, and whether the data is a single specification or an entire database, the existence of duplicate information creates the potential for costly errors. Complex communication about approvals, change tracking, and version history is handled in a manual, ad-hoc fashion with emails, phone calls, faxes and file transfers that add more confusion to the process. Even when client-server applications do offer a way to give suppliers direct access to a company’s internal system, the process requires significant IT overhead, making it nearly impossible to give all members of a complex supply chain adequate access to information.

By building change management functionality in a centralized, web-native environment, offers significant advantages over its competitors. Centralized product data eliminates data duplication and ensures that all users are working with the same up-to-date information; the web-native application platform makes sharing data with geographically dispersed supply chain partners a fast and simple process. Furthermore, the application is designed for all stages of the development process, from initial design to hand-off to manufacturing to full production and end of life. The product change management strategy capitalizes on these core features to offer the following benefits:

  • The ability to establish a degree of control over product data that is appropriate to each stage in the development process.
  • Automated systems for change notification and approvals that route information to the right people at the right time and in the right order.
  • Integration of a complex supply chain into the change process.
  • Visibility into and metrics about a product’s full evolution from concept to production.

The product change management solution is being implemented in two phases. The first set of features, version control, is available immediately to existing customers. Version control includes tools for locking down product data and controlling version release privileges at the different stages of development. Other features, including BOM redlining, provide clear visibility into the changes from one version to another. A system for notifications enables users to “subscribe” themselves and their suppliers to an item to receive automatic alerts when changes are released. The second phase of the change management solution will be available as an add-on module that includes features for creating change objects, automating workflow and building change boards.

Pricing and Availability
The new version control functionality is offered as part of the application and is available immediately at no additional cost to customers. The add-on change management module will be priced as a separate license and will be available in Q2 2002. is available for an annual prepaid subscription of $1000 per user with no set-up or installation fees. Customers can access from any computer with a web browser; there is no traditional software to buy, install, maintain or upgrade. New customers can sign up by visiting the company's web site at or by calling the sales department toll-free at 866.937.1438.

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