Council to Promote Enterprise Commerce Guidelines

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AMR Research, a business and technology research firm, has formed a council to provide definitive guidelines for companies as they implement customer relationship management, supply-chain management and enterprise resource planning programs.

The Enterprise Commerce Management Advisory Council was created "to force the industry spotlight back on improved business processes and rigorous technical standards that will drive interoperability between applications," said Bob Parker, vice president of ECM at AMR Research, Boston. "The intent of the council is to provide best practices that can be universally applied by both the corporate community and software providers."

Participants include top information technology executives from corporations such as Becton Dickinson, The Boeing Co., Eastman Chemical, Honeywell, Qualcomm and Teradyne, companies that have launched successful major IT initiatives, AMR Research said.

Council members met for a two-day summit in Boston in July to discuss strategic implications of the ECM model and develop technical requirements that will be an integral part of the ECM blueprint.

The meeting produced a statement of intentions published by the council. Paramount among the council's goals, the statement said, is to develop best practices for the "deployment and governance of information technology resources." The council also will set expectations for software vendor behavior and promote these practices to all business application users.

The second ECM Advisory Council summit is planned for September, when it will discuss "governance around information technology assets within the companies -- what is the best way to select, implement and operate these applications that I buy?" Parker said.

The council plans to prepare a set of vendor expectations that "says this is what we expect you to support in your application, whether it is system management, integration or analytics," he said. "Basically, some very specific things that the corporate community want the application providers to include a part of their packages."

Parker also said the council probably would attack "specific technology requirements for how the applications are built ... and discuss the business practices of software vendors."

Much frustration exists concerning software vendors, Parker said. For example, vendors often say a new version of a software product is coming out, then don't meet their deadlines. And "when they finally get the software, there are way too many bugs in the software," he said.

AMR Research also is establishing an ECM Vendor Advisory Council, with plans for a separate meeting in September. Next month, AMR also will release information from a functionality analysis of major CRM vendors.

The council plans eventually to create special-interest groups around different business processes, such as CRM or procurement.

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