Group members, who asked not to be named, said the consortium is driven largely by
The idea is to create a standard set of recommendations and knowledge that can tie together the confusing array of of e-business technologies and standards in place today.
"Customers have expressed a need for vision on how to connect the dots," said Larry Acord, director of strategic business alliances for CA. "They need a neutral body to share recommendations for standards and technologies that are not vendor-centric."
Added Mike Rank, who represents HP's E-speak technology: "This unifies customer education on many individual technical initiatives."
Motivated by customers
Founding members will serve as an advisory board, which at some point will submit to elections, and plan to establish "architectural directions, interoperable building blocks and common procedures" for future "e-Business Internet development."
The group claims to be motivated by customers -- who will also form an advisory board -- and will address the use of technologies such as XML, the integration of customers' existing systems with "new e-Business solutions and architectures," latency, security, and the use of new devices including mobile phones.
Work groups will be formed, and recommendations and white papers will be published.
Intel acknowledged playing a prominent role. "Third generation Internet is what got us going on this, although that's not where it ended up," said VP Will Swope. "If you assume that you're going to end up with business processes-to-business processes -- and not business processes-to-human beings -- how are those business processes going to work together?
"If you take it to a standards body it will never happen, but if you can get the key players to agree, 'This is how we exchange information' and do real work, then the developers have to figure out how to make the processes run.
Swope said the group continues to recruit members, including
"The deliverables look soft and fluffy," said Anne Thomas Manes, Sun's director of market innovation. "Are they doing design patterns? Documentation? Architectural specifications? And where are BEA, Commerce One, and Ariba? These are the guys who understand how to make systems work together, and if they're not part of it, we don't see that it's useful to join."
Customers that have joined include Charles Schwab, Capital One, Ford, ImageX.com, and Reuters. Customers will propose problems to the group, which expects to start off focusing on supply chain integration, financial applications, internal corporate networks, and the "e-enabling of processes," according to Computer Associates' Accord.
The full roster -- which includes Agency.com, Zefer, SAP, EMC, and Fujitsu -- is online.