Members of Rosettanet have started piloting the consortium's ecommerce standards for IT supply chain and are dubbing this implementation phase, eConcert.
Rosettanet was formed about a year ago (see VNU Newswire, 19 June, 1998) with the aim of developing a common language and common interfaces based on XML that would define a standard way for organisations' business processes to work when dealing with supply chain issues.
The goal was to enable manufacturers in the IT industry to communicate more effectively with their ISVs, distributors, resellers, systems integrators and customers - and so reduce costs. Honorio Padron, CompUSA's chief information officer, claimed that implementing eConcert could shave as much as 20 per cent off a company's bottom line.
But Fadi Chehade, Rosettanet's chief executive, said: "eConcert is about putting together partners in the supply chain to orchestrate the global implementation of PIPs [partner interface processes], which are standards for supply chain processes. We formed the concept of partner dances or pilots, and eight dances are now taking place between 16 partners, engaging in real PIPs and building their infrastructure around it."
Partners that are currently working together to implement one or more interoperable PIPs include Ingram Micro, IBM, Microsoft and Insight, and IBM, Microage, American Express, Ingram Micro and CHS.
Three of the eight partnerships are expected to complete their pilot phase by 25 June, five more are scheduled to follow by 9 August, and the rest of the Rosettanet membership has committed to implement the consortium's standards by 2 February, 2000.
As part of the undertaking, organisations agree to align their business processes with at least one published PIP such as product exchange and prepare their internal systems to exchange one or more PIPs with another supply chain partner.
They must also agree to use global trade identification number (GTIN) product part numbering scheme, adopt Duns numbering to uniquely identify their companies, and adopt the newly approved Rosettanet taxonomy at least for exchanging PIPs, although not necessarily for internal use across the board. The aim is to provide customers with a clearer way to compare products from rival manufacturers.
Rosettanet is also setting up a coordination centre for its members, providing 24 x 7 support and will introduce a test bed so vendors can check their eConcert implementations against a centralised test environment.
But Cheharde said that Rosettanet had no current plans to expand into other industries than IT, although it had received enquiries from other sectors such as healthcare and auto exchange, But the eConcert specifications were freely available from the organisation's Web site, if companies were interested in implementing them, he added.
The organisation was, however, looking to broaden its remit into the computer components space in a related project sponsored by Arrow Electronics, Marshall Electronics and Avenet. This would be based on eConcert, but modified slightly to handle the unique requirements of the components industry, although the two efforts would be integrated.
While Rosettanet has already defined about 33 processes, it expects to have 75 in place by June 2000. Cheharde said that after this time, the consortium's main role would be to maintain existing PIPs and ensure that they do not become out of date.
He also said Rosettanet was currently in discussions with Gateway about joining the organisation and had agreed that Dell should be on board too, although it had not made any overtures to the direct PC vendor as yet.
Oracle was also noticeable by its absence from the lineup - despite the presence of arch rival in the applications space SAP - but Cheharde said that while the database supplier had agreed to join, the executive it had been working with had since left the company, leaving any such agreement in limbo. Oracle refused to comment.
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