Builders looking for all-in-one, back-office software faced a major disappointment last summer when i4Synergy put development of i4Builder on hold and said it would not be delivering product this year.

The company's process-oriented approach held broad appeal. Leading builders Hovnanian Enterprises and John Wieland Homes were among i4's seven early adopters.

i4Synergy promised the next generation in back-office software. The goal was to deliver a Web-based product that let customers, builders, and trade partners work collaboratively across every home building process.

An i4 employee who requested anonymity said the company planned to get the early adopters running by fourth-quarter 2003 and start delivering product industrywide by first-quarter 2004. But when it became clear that i4 would not meet its deadline, the company halted development, started discussing options with the early adopters, and gave back cash deposits to a handful of other companies that were on a waiting list. At press time, the early adopters were deciding whether to continue development work independently or collaboratively among themselves.

Officially, i4 is still in business, but it's unlikely the company can deliver product for at least a year--if ever.