Get ready to rethink Certain Software. Tomorrow, the company will release Meeting Planner Plus meeting management software, which is a lot like its Event Planner Plus product—on steroids.
After launching a single-user product, Event Planner Plus, in 1998, the company went to work almost immediately on an upgraded, networkable system. No one anticipated a four-year design and engineering process, says President and CEO Jim Pappas, who was brought on in 2000, but he’s pleased with the results. "What’s exciting about MPP is the sophistication of all these functions in one application." Those functions range from attendee registration and management, calendars, task and timeline management, and vendor quote comparisons to budgeting, room layout and seating assignments, printing badges and tent cards, and tracking vendors, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors.
"All the pieces are in the same place," agreed Jeff Rasco, CMP, senior vice president at the Austin, Texas, office of JRDaggett & Associates. Rasco beta tested the software and is one of seven meeting professionals on Certain Software’s advisory board. Typically, he says, planners have to export data into other applications—the same program doesn’t handle, say, attendee registration, seating charts, and badges. Rasco also appreciated the familiarity of the user interface, which is similar to Microsoft Outlook.
MPP is not the only product Certain is announcing. The company acquired Register123, an online registration product, last November and is building a bridge between the online and off-line systems, expected to be completed by the end of the summer. The new PowerLink product allows registration information to flow between Register123 and MPP, or between a proprietary online registration system and MPP.
Competing with products such as Peopleware Pro, Isis Gold, and MeetingTrak, Meeting Planner Plus will allow up to 10 users to access the same information simultaneously. It lists for $4,995 for the first user (ten times more than Event Planner Plus) and will be on sale for $3,995 through September. Additional users are $1,000 each ($750 through September). Powerlink costs $2,495 ($1,895 through September), and Register123 is charged on a transactional basis. For an MPP demo, visit www.certain.com.