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Tech Firms Create E-Biz Solutions Consortium

The Business Internet Consortium (Portland,, a non-profit corporation withmembers including IBM Armonk, NY), Microsoft (Redmond, WA) and Hew-lett-Packard (Palo Alto, CA), has been created to solve common e-business problems. "The Business Internet Consortium differs from a standards body because we are a customer-facing organization," says Keith Miracle, senior manager, emerging markets and technologies for consortium member Compaq. "The operation is a problem-solving body, neutral in our positioning because our goal is to go out and take the problems that customers bring to us and throw together our wisdom to come up with a solution. We are finding that we all share the same issues and we realize that solutions are no longer owned by one company," adds Miracle. "We have to go outside to start incorporating new business models and technologies. We are really dedicated to solving the issues that the customers are facing and we want to try to drive some simplicity and some repeatability into the solutions."

According to Miracle, the consortium, which was established in November, was formed to address such issues as the complexity of solutions, rapidly moving technologies and, to some degree, the lack of IT resources. "It is getting more difficult for customers to weed through all of the solutions out there and find something that is applicable for their company," says Miracle. "We are really dedicated to solving the issues that the customers are facing and we want to try and drive some simplicity and repeatability into solutions that we come up with."

Although the consortium currently has no insurance company members, it has undertaken a recruiting effort covering all industries. "I can say with very high confidence that the consortium is going to see some insurance companies joining," says Miracle, who emphasizes that the effort is not focused on any one industry in particular, but rather common problems faced across industries.

"The customer advisory board is composed of companies like Charles Schwab, Ford Motor Company, and Capital One," says Miracle. "These companies are obviously looking cross industry to identify problems, because they themselves have seen firsthand that they share common problems. We are trying to be as neutral as possible. We are not going to be throwing our weight around. We want to keep ourselves in the background as a supporting role and keep our customers in the forefront."

On the education front, the Business Internet Consortium currently has one white paper under review. It is also in the process of organizing work groups, according to Miracle. "We plan to look outside of the group to find problems that will provide us with more and more recruitment opportunities," he says. "We already have companies coming to us with some good ideas and problems."

Other Business Internet Consortium members include SAP, Dell, Intel and Computer Associates.

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