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Mercury Interactive to offer consulting services

To help confused users of its testing product gain better grasp of the systems

Mercury Interactive (Nasdaq:MERQ), one of Israel's leading software companies, engaged in selling software for Internet website and application testing, has begun selling consulting services.

According to Moshe Egert, the president of the company's President of European Operations and manager of its Israeli branch said that a study done by the company revealed that even though 52% of the companies and organizations doing business on the Internet buy automatic testing products, only 13% of them make regular use of them. "Most customers have no idea how to use the tools, and are often helpless in the face of their complexity," he said.

To enter the consulting market Mercury plans to launch a service called Application Risk Management Model, which will advise customers on how to make better use testing applications. "We have 12 years of experience and a lot of undocumented knowledge. We are now going to put all this knowledge in an instruction manual, on an Internet website and in professional course form and sell it to our customers," said Egert, and added that 30 consultation days, website access and a manual will be sold for $50,000.

Egert rejects the idea this knowledge was something Mercury should have given its customers in the first place. "We provide the basic instructions on how to use our products, but we have more knowledge we can share." He likens this situation to how the Israeli Tambour paint company sold paint to its customers for years, and a decade later decided to consult its customers on how to paint their homes. "This may not be highly regarded in Israel, but in places like Germany, Japan and Scandinavia long processes are highly valued, and people are willing to invest to get the most of the products they bought."

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Initially, Mercury personnel will provide the consulting, but the company later intends to train partners to do the work.