AFEI unveils e-business plans

AFEI unveils e-business plans


Special to GCN

OCT. 26'The Association for Enterprise Integration announced a plan to refocus its attention on e-business at its 21st Century Commerce International Expo 2000 in Albuquerque, N.M., this week.

The group is organizing four 'enterprise integration domains,' special-interest communities within the group that will hold online meetings, maintain Web-based forums and conduct other online activities to supplement annual AFEI meetings.

'Our association will no longer have just an annual meeting,' said Tom Murphy, incoming AFEI board chairman and vice president of Information Manufacturing Corp. of Rocket Center, W.Va. 'We will have ways to post and share information anytime.'

The groups will concentrate on enterprise design and performance; information integration technologies; enterprise market trends; and leadership and enterprise change management.

The issue of change management encompasses an evolutionary process, said D. Brent Pope, Ph.D., of PriceWaterhouseCoopers consulting firm in Washington. It is also capital-intensive: The Defense Logistics Agency just approved a $407 million contract for enterprise resource planning software involving SAP products, and such large projects are not uncommon when trying to change an enterprise into an e-business focus, he said.

According to Dick Engwall, a consultant who is heading the design and performance domain, other shifts are required in understanding e-business. Total quality management, for example, now involves 'the quality of our relationships' as opposed to only product quality, he said.

Enterprises and organizations must 'work on this as a team process,' Engwall said.

With regard to the Internet, Ken Hamm, president of NetIdeas Inc. of Mt. Laurel, N.J., said AFEI will 'look at technologies that are here and try to take a crystal ball look at the future.'

Hamm said the group would press organizations to make more of their knowledge base digitally available.

'Only 12 percent of corporate knowledge resides in structured information systems,' he said. 'We need to shift from vertical organizations to commercial communities.'

In a keynote address, Stan Liebowitz, professor of managerial economics at the University of Texas at Dallas, said that while lower costs from Internet businesses will benefit society, pioneering firms might not last.

'Markets with network effects have the characteristics of winner-takes-all,' Liebowitz said in describing Internet firms, 'but those winners are often succeeded by other winners.'

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