Fees are unlikely to go online

Covisint has no plans to post its fees, says Mark Duhaime, Covisint's vice president of product management.

Though Duhaime admits that fees always are mentioned during the first conversation with a prospective supplier customer, Covisint contends that suppliers looking to compare Covisint's prices with those of other software vendors would have a difficult time making an apples-to-apples comparison.

Suppliers must take into account other factors, including the software's reliability, the company's level of service, availability of its help desk, availability in multiple languages and the schedule of software upgrades.

"You're buying into a relationship instead of just buying the CD to install on your PC," Duhaime said.

"We want to have personal relationships with most of the suppliers," he said. "Especially the big ones. So treating the products like they are on the shelf at Wal-Mart doesn't give us the opportunity to sit down and really explain what the true value of the products is."

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