Asymetrix steps up federal sales with ToolBook II set

Asymetrix Corp. aims to increase its presence in the federal market targeting agencies with tools for creating computer-based training applications.

The Bellevue Wash.-based company markets ToolBook II a set of software tools for authoring and managing Internet-based training systems. The tool is designed for organizations interested in rolling out distributed or distance learning applications. The company began shipping ToolBook II in July.

In the federal market a number of agencies already use an earlier version of ToolBook that lacks the Internet features of the new product.

The company is looking to ramp up sales of ToolBook II. Asymetrix plans to get the product on the General Services Administration schedule through AmeriData Federal Systems. In addition the company is pursuing a role on various contracts.

Asymetrix is "actively exploring existing awards and contracts where the scope allows for the addition of technology such as ours " said Henry Clifton director of federal sales at Asymetrix. "This would include vehicles focused on distance/distributed learning via the Internet intranets local-area networks or CDs." He added that he is hoping to link with integrators such as Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc. Science Applications International Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Currently the government accounts for 10 to 20 percent of Asymetrix's sales according to David Burke senior marketing manager for distributed learning for Asymetrix. Clifton said his objective is to "increase federal sales" but did not provide specific growth targets.

Clifton said several agencies are running ToolBook II pilot projects or are evaluating the tool.

At the Naval Professional Development and Technology Center Pensacola Fla. ToolBook II is one of four authoring tools that will be used in a project to develop a training system for designers of Navy technical training courses. Nancy Perry director of instructional technology at the center said ToolBook II's "ready-for-the-Internet" nature "really appeals to us."

The product's Internet capabilities also attracted Scientific and Technical Analysis Corp. which builds computer-based training systems for federal customers.

"We wanted to move to the new version because of its World Wide Web [capability] " said Carrie Santore technical publications manager at Scientific and Technical Analysis Fairfax Va.

Another plus for ToolBook II according to Santore is its Librarian feature which manages Internet-based courses. "So far we've been very pleased with it " she said.

The ToolBook II line includes ToolBook II Instructor and ToolBook II Publisher authoring tools that run under Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 3.x 95 or NT. ToolBook II Instructor's list price is $1 995 while ToolBook II Publisher is priced at $895. ToolBook II Librarian is shipping on Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris and Windows NT platforms. The list price is $9 995.

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