A Silicon Valley start up has just rolled out a family of Web based applications for large enterprises in the embryonic Professional Services Automation (PSA) market.
Niku was set up by Farzad Dibachi, who founded Diba, and means "do gooder" in his native Iranian language, Farsi. It released its first set of enterprise applications in December and has already signed up vendors such as Sybase and IT consultants, Neptune Technologies, as customers.
Dibachi, who is the firm?s chairman and chief executive, claimed: "Niku's solution will change the landscape of the professional services industry forever, in a very similar way to how Amazon.com has changed the book industry. Professional services are a huge part of the economy, and we plan on managing all of that."
He added that Niku?s aim was to enable professional services organisations of all sizes to dramatically improve the way they manage their businesses, deliver services and interact with their clients.
Peter Kastner, chief research officer of the Aberdeen Group, said: "These solutions are mission critical and will allow professional services organisations to use technology to streamline operations and improve their profitability, just as Erp solutions revolutionised the manufacturing industry."
The company's first two products are Niku for IT Consulting, which includes modules for sales and marketing, resource and engagement management, service line and practice management and knowledge management.
Niku for Internal IT includes applications for business case analysis; resource and project management, problem tracking and resolution, knowledge management and generating progress reports.
The packages are integrated using the Niku Knowledge Store or repository, which uses a data tagging system to capture information from databases, documents, emails, voice mails and video. Datalink adapters can also be used to hook into sales, billing and data warehouse applications.
In addition, Niku plans to launch a business Web portal site in early May to provide news, analyst reports, stock quotes and market research. It will also offer message, calendar, map and contact functionality.
The firm has just raised $4 million from venture capital firm, Venrock Partners, and says it is putting the final touches to a second round of financing, worth about $20 million.
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