Hewlett-Packard kicked off its electronic business initiative last week, announcing alliances with fellow heavyweights Microsoft, Oracle and Netscape.
The Electronic Business Framework is the fruit of HP's year-old effort to position HP's Internet products as a crucial component on corporate desktops.
According to company officials, HP's previously-announced Extended Enterprise computing strategy calls for providing Web technologies and services ranging from data management, security and messaging systems to servers, printers and scanners, all aimed at jump-starting on-line commerce and banking.
Together, the Electronic Business Framework and the Extended Enterprise strategy focus on Internet technology as "the great leveller to improve productivity internally through intranets, with business partners through 'extranets' and in the electronic marketplace," said Dick Watts, vice president and general manager of HP's computer systems organisation.
The Electronic Business Framework comprises a suite of services including customer service, process management, on-line banking, security, consulting, support and outsourcing assistance. It also includes the company's Internet Marketing framework for delivering customised product and service information on-line to customers and business partners; its Admin-Flow framework for deploying business functions on-line; and its Smart Contact telephony-based customer service offerings.
HP's alliance with Netscape calls for the companies to develop business to business and consumer electronic commerce solutions in collaboration with Actra Business Systems, Netscape's joint venture with GE Information Systems.
Oracle, HP, and Visa will work together on electronic payment solutions according to officials from the companies.
HP and Verifone will also develop and sell Internet payment services based on the Visa/Master-Card SET (Secure Electronic Transaction) protocol.
In particular, HP and Verifone will participate in worldwide SET trials and deliver secure Internet payment services for financial institutions.
HP will also work with Microsoft and Intel on the NetPC initiative.
HP will focus on bringing hardware management instrumentation, Web-based management capabilities and enterprise desktop management services to the NetPC desktop with its own device due to ship next year.
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