B2B standards body dismissed as 'talking shop with no legs'

A body designed to promote B2B technology standards has been dismissed by analysts as a 'talking shop' for vendors.
Written by Joey Gardiner, Contributor

A body designed to promote B2B technology standards has been dismissed by analysts as a 'talking shop' for vendors.

The Business Internet Consortium - launched today with backing from a host of high-tech players including Compaq, Computer Associates, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and SAP - claims it will act as a 'think tank', generating ecommerce technologies. It says it is the first group to directly consult customers on their needs, listing users such as Capital One, Charles Schwab, Ford and Reuters as members. However, analysts are sceptical about the new body. Nigel Montgomery, research director at analysts AMR, said: "The only industry to benefit from this consortium will be the hotel industry. It's a great marketing exercise for the vendors to show a common front, but that's not a standards body - it is just a group of vendors getting together." He added: "If Oracle was involved as well it might have some legs, but without their involvement this doesn't look like the finished article." Larry Acord, director of strategic business development for Computer Associates, a spokesman for the new body, admitted he had met with some scepticism. However, he insisted the consortium would be a valuable forum: "It's more a way for end-users to bring their concerns to vendors, so that we can really step up a level and get to the point where real business issues are addressed." The inauguration of the Business Internet Consortium follows a host of similar initiatives in the last few months, all professing to tackle the thorny problem of ebusiness integration. Many analysts see the increased use of open standards as key to allowing B2B ecommerce to fulfil its potential. However, Andy Tanner-Smith, analyst at Frost & Sullivan, also doubts whether this particular vehicle will actually prove useful. He said: "There doesn't seem to be any ability here to go out and form and promote standards. Many of the companies here are actually in competition with each other over technology standards, and will only cooperate as far as they feel helps their interests."
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