The relaunch of Peregrine

Peregrine Systems Inc., a software company that emerged from 11 months of bankruptcy last fall, has returned with new offerings. Officials are trying to overcome the stigma of bankruptcy and a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, which was settled last year, with a new strategy for the company's federal and commercial markets.

Company officials relaunched the firm last week at Synergy 2004, Peregrine's user conference in Miami.

The company, which makes software for service-desk and asset management, will take a new solutions-based approach, said Jim Zierick, Peregrine's senior vice president of strategy, marketing and corporate development.

"Solutions offerings, as opposed to product offerings, are fundamental to the new Peregrine and our new strategy," he said. "It's really returning to a focus on what Peregrine does best."

Company officials laid off numerous service employees as part of the necessary restructuring to emerge from bankruptcy, said Patricia Adams, a senior analyst at Gartner Inc. The total headcount dropped from more than 3,000 employees to about 600, company officials said last year.

"The real key that we're trying to change is to switch from being a product- and technology-focused company to being one that can help our users understand how they can use our products to solve business problems," said Craig MacDonald, vice president of product marketing.

The shift is intended to strengthen the company's damaged image and get customers to consider Peregrine a forward-moving organization, Adams said.

"There is no question that they have to rebuild their image," she said. "It has been tarnished, and they are in the process of contacting customers [to reassure them]. But they also have to be able to reach out to new customers, and part of that is putting this behind them."

"That's part of the strategy of relaunching the company," Zierick said. "We are out of bankruptcy, and we want to get that message out there. More important, we want people to know that Peregrine is once again looking forward."

Company officials unveiled ServiceCenter 6, the new version of Peregrine's flagship product, at Synergy. They also announced a new partnership with IBM Corp.'s Tivoli that would provide change request management software. Service Control and Expense Control are other new solutions offerings.

The market for service center management is still developing, MacDonald said. Company officials believe about 45 percent of organizations are in the reactive stage — they have implemented some automation but still have difficulties such as service disruptions and repair delays.

ServiceCenter, which adds new interfaces, analytical tools and support for Web services, is intended to help organizations get to the proactive stage, where they are able to anticipate and prevent problems, he said.

Peregrine also is launching asset management solutions to help officials track what they own from the time it is purchased to retirement.

"The place where our products fit best and where we can bring the most value are the largest and most complex users" of information technology, MacDonald said.

Kris Brittain,

a research director at Gartner, agreed with his assessment. Although the service center market is competitive, the asset management world is more of an open field, she said.

"We're finding very similar situations in the federal government, both on the [Defense] side and the civilian side," said Mark Gruzin, director of Peregrine's federal division. "Most of the agencies we talk to that are current customers have some sort of service management offerings — they have a help desk. But what we're trying to do is help them move from a reactive help desk to a proactive" one.

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