Magazine article Online

Maxwell Online and the Future ... InfoPro Technologies

Magazine article Online

Maxwell Online and the Future ... InfoPro Technologies

Article excerpt

Editor's Note: Over the past year Maxwell Online, and its components, BRS and ORBIT, have been the subject of frequent speculation and conjecture in the pages of our publications. It is fitting then, to share this space with Andrew Gregory and hear directly from the top, his plans and expectations for the company. We hope, along with him, that the rumors are over and that now they can "get down to business." Good luck.

As I approach the end of my first year as President of Maxwell Online, I am relieved, finally, to be able to say, "Now we can really get down to the business of running our online information and software companies." From its inception in 1989, Maxwell Online has been subjected to incessant rumor and innuendo, false start after false start, misplaced initiative, and Maxwellian entanglements. We have been distracted by these factors from the basic management fundamentals that are necessary to run a profitable business. However, those times are over and we now begin anew, under a new corporate banner, InfoPro Technologies, with a new mission to understand and serve our chosen marketplaces. (The new InfoPro Technologies is owned by parent company, Macmillan Inc., which was part of the old Maxwell group of companies.--NG)

As a result, you will see changes that will emphasize the strengths of our product lines for particular customer groups: ORBIT Search Service in the patents community, BRS Search Service and BRS/Colleague in the medical and academic marketplaces, and BRS Software Products in the text retrieval and document management arenas. Our products and services will be driven by the needs of these marketplaces, by the value our customers place on these products, and by our ability to deliver these products efficiently and affordably. We will no longer attempt to be everything to everyone; hut in the marketplaces we choose to serve, our products will be focused and responsive to user needs.

COMPANY GOALS AND STRATEGY

To stabilize our online services, we have three main goals. First, we have taken steps to rationalize our operating costs. Initiatives are in progress to streamline production, achieve larger economies of scale, and consolidate our database offerings. For many years, users of popular databases have been subsidizing usage of more peripheral, and often costly, files. We feel it is unfair to continue to ask our customers to bear this burden. Therefore, we are trimming from our product lines databases that do not fill the information requirements of our defined markets. This is no reflection on the quality of these files, but rather an attempt to more economically serve our primary customer groups, to give our marketplaces what they are asking for. Discussions about files to be eliminated are still in progress, but we can announce that BRS will drop the Predicasts group of files and Religion Index from its lineup, and ORBIT will discontinue ISTP, the ISI file on conference proceedings.

Our second goal is to improve our search softwares. Over the last year, we have come to grips with the fact that our services are used by different customers in different ways. Trying to merge the dual systems was a false goal: it was technologically appealing, but provided no real advantage to the customers who would eventually have to pay for it. …

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