*"PCMA is trying to be the broker, to bring all the parties together," said Professional Convention Management Association CEO William J. Myers, CAE, CMP, at METCON '98 in Atlanta in April. Toward that end, PCMA has announced an alliance with CEO Software, Tucson, Ariz.

The free service works in conjunction with PCMA's function space verification program, which is now online with 99 facilities listed at www.pcma.org/space. Download floor plans from the facility of your choice, and then use CEO's software package, Optimum Settings for Meeting Planners (available at www.pcma.org), to create meeting room setups on your computer screen.

* And Another Alliance: SCLM Software, Inc., in Stewartstown, Pa., has just released the Silver and SilverPlus versions of Meeting Matrix, another product that enables planners to design room setups. The next upgrade of the product is slated for a fall release. The new versions are available free to planners: Call (717) 993-5505.

SCLM and PlanSoft, in Twinsburg, Ohio, formed an alliance last year: Use PlanSoft's site selection database at www.plansoft.com to search for meeting venues. The site now lists more than 4,000 facilities, and it includes an electronic Request for Proposal function. You can download your facilities' meeting room diagrams from www.MeetingMatrix.com, and then design the room layout using Meeting Matrix.

* But Then What? The next step is for planners to take the Meeting Matrix room layout and drop it into PlanSoft's Ajenis software, which would allow planners and suppliers to electronically exchange data. But there's a catch. The much anticipated Ajenis launch has once again been postponed. Still in the beta test stage, PlanSoft execs now predict a summer launch.

* Merger Means More Products: MEI Software Systems, Inc. in Reston, Va., has acquired Phoenix Solutions, Inc. (PSI) in Fremont., Calif. The acquisition means that MEI, which had targeted products to high-end users, will now better support smaller meetings, and offer a broader product line, explained MEI Chairman and CTO Peter W. Kauffman. Visit MEI's Web site at www.meisoft.com.

* Meeting Planning Software at a Mass Market Price: That's the pitch Certain Software, a new company in San Francisco, is using to promote its premiere product, Event Planner Plus. Priced at just $495, the software is so easy to use that it does not require training, say company execs. Features include databases for address book storage, task scheduling, meeting room setup, and budgeting.

The program is not Web-enabled; so meeting information must be sent via fax to the hotel. Moreover, only one person at at time can access the program, but a multitasking version will be delivered in subsequent releases. For more information on this product, visit www.certain.com. *