Center for IT and e-Business Management

Consortia-Based E-Business Standardization Research

Answer to Some Questions from Our Respondents

1. What are the target organizations of this survey? What makes an organization a consortium? What makes a consortium a Standards Consortium? What makes one a Vertical standards consortium?

*The target organizations are members of vertical standard consortia. We define standard consortia as “cooperative organizations that develop and/or approve standards based on formal agreements through communication, political negotiation and coordination among participants.” A vertical standard consortium develops and promotes standards in a particular industry. For example, OGC develops standards for users in the geospatial industry. There are also industry-neutral or horizontal standard consortia, whose standards can be used across industries. Examples include ASC X12 and ebXML.

2. Why did you not make a distinction between self-identified VSCs and VSCs that are sanctioned by formal standards bodies, such as IEEE or ISO?

*We do make a distinction between self-identified VSCs and VSCs sanctioned by formal standard bodies. In this survey, we focus on self-identified VSCs, who are less influential and face more uncertainties and rivalries in the market, compared to VSCs sanctioned by formal standard bodies. We are interested in understanding how these self-organizing VSCs work.

3. Why did you not clarify the nature of standards of interest to you? The survey seems to be geared for standards about data and information. There certainly are standards and VSC's that address standards for people, for processes, for hardware, etc.

*We are interested in e-business standards that delineate format of electronic data and information communication between firms within a particular industry. We choose to focus on e-business standard because: (1) they are vital to electronic commerce, which is our primary research interest; (2) standard users play a key role in the standard development and diffusion; (3) e-business standards bring less competition among standard adopters, compared to IT product standards such as DVD standards.

4. Why did you not offer a list of the VSC's of interest to you? You may well have data analysis problems due to the same VSC being identified under different names or different spellings, etc. You may have many VSCs with limited numbers of replies. Did you not have a target list of VSC's in mind to study?

*We do have a target list of VSC’s. We are contacting VSCs that develop e-business standards and have a sufficient number of members. Currently, we have contacted two VSCs, OGC in the geospatial industry and STAR in the auto retail industry. We are contacting the following VSCs to distribute our survey among their members: ACORD in the insurance industry, MISMO in the mortgage industry, RosettaNet in the high-tech industry, OTA in the travel industry, and HL7 in the healthcare industry. For any other VSC that is interested in participating our research project, we will be thrilled to collaborate with you.

5. Why did you not create more questions about the nature of the standards developed by the VSC? Standards can exist in so many varieties and dimensions and forms. Generalizing across standards, per se, is not necessarily very meaningful.

*The key research question pursued by this survey is “factors that motivate or hinder firms’ participation in e-business VSCs”. We want to help VSCs to identify ways to improve members’ involvement and satisfaction. We also hope to find ways for firms to better utilize their VSC membership. We think in general, the usefulness and importance of the standard, not the specific nature of the standard, will determine firms’ motivation to invest in the VSC. Therefore, we only ask general questions about the nature of the standards. If you have different opinions, please do share with us. It will help us better understand the standardization phenomenon.

6. Why did you not create more questions about the sponsorship of the standardization efforts and the carry through of the VSC beyond producing 'paper' specifications to initial deployment and adoption all the way to full marketplace saturation?

*The current paper focuses on the development phase of the VSC. Two years ago, we have conducted a survey asking questions about deployment and adoption of e-business standards developed by VSC. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in our previous survey results, we are more than happy to share our findings with our survey participants.

7. The site indicated that we can receive a summary of the results. Is it possible to receive more than a summary?

*Yes, if you are interested in our research project, we can share more details with you in addition to a summary. We just began our date collection process. We hope to collect sufficient replies from multiple targeted VSCs during the summer. Once we finish our research project, we will inform all survey participants. Feel free to ask any questions related to the survey. We will provide you as much information as we can.