Saturday, December 23, 2006


Response to Conor Cahill and the Liberty Alliance

Figured Conor Cahill response needed some analysis...

Here are some of his quotes along with my own thoughts:
If you have seen the use-cases I have previously shared, they contain scenarios which can be classified as business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer. I am not sure how your response classifies what I have publicly shared. I would say though that if others believe that the Liberty Alliance is in bed with enterprises then that either says that the charter for the Liberty Alliance is either not clear enough for folks at large to understand and/or Liberty Alliance isn't sticking 100% with the goals of folks who pay their bills.

Absolutely, I agree with this statement and would love to see more Fortune enterprises participate. In outlining the problem why the masses of Fortune enterprises aren't participating says that their participation should guarantee a higher return than other efforts. Simply encouraging folks to think more about this aspect.

Conor, are you saying that you would be wildly successful in convincing hundreds of CIOs in Fortune enterprises to spend money so that they will not only have a say in the definition of requirements but also get the opportunity to vote? Whether you agree with this statement, enterprises already have a say and a vote, it is called their wallet. If several large enterprises want to not only have standards but see them implemented in enterprise products then they can participate in ways that do not require a level of time commitment that is higher than the return it brings by using approaches such as I outlined in ECM and Security Curious to know if you think this approach would be more expedient, cheaper, or successful if done under the Liberty banner?

FYI. I am not sure that standards bodies need to equal closed source. Factually speaking, at work, I have recently contributed to an ISO specification in which neither myself nor my employer were a member of. Likewise, I have also been invited to contribute insight into BPM and Security at an upcoming Object Management Group meeting that will happen over the summer. So, if ISO and the OMG have figured out how to allow folks to contribute without being closed source then why can't Liberty Alliance. Voting is not an attractive value proposition, seeing vendors actually implement is.

Before folks get it twisted, this is not a one-time event as this happens to lots of enterprises of which I will outline in a future blog entry.

I will bite for a moment and agree that AOL is not a technology company. Just like the folks who pick up my garbage aren't garbage men, they are sanitation engineers. This is probably one of semantics where lots of folks will have different definitions, kinda like my definition of enterprise is probably different than yours and your is different than everyone elses. I also love how you added in the notion of "selling" which I never mentioned.

Of the thirteen members of the management board, only two don't sell technology. There is GM whose primary business model is selling automobiles and Fidelity whose primary business model is in selling financial products. The rest are sellers of technology in some form. I guess the real ratio is 6.5 to one. In terms of the sponsor members, Bank of America, American Express, GSA and the New Zealand Government State Services Commission are the ones whose primary business isn't technology making the ratio here 7 to 1. So, I guess I overshot the ratio and give Conor credit for pointing this out.

I wonder what Conor thinks an ideal demographic of standards body in this space should be? Should their be representation from retail, outsourcing firms (e.g. Cognizant), apparel & fashion, biotechnology, building materials, chemicals, real estate, construction, cosmetics, dairy, food & beverages, gambling & casinos, hospitals, hospitality, import & export, judiciary, law enforcement, luxury goods, market research, newspapers, oil & energy, package/freight delivery, paper & forest products, pharmaceuticals, plastics, railroads, religious institutions, restaurants, sports, supermarkets, tobacco, utilities, wine and spirits that are industry verticals within the Fortune 500 but not represented? Should Liberty Alliance attempt to gain more diversity in terms of its membership? Should they cross their fingers and wait for it to happen in the due course of time or become proactive in making it happen?

I suspect that lots of industry analysts will read this post and remain silent but in terms of them, how come they don't belong? I know of industry analysts that participate in OASIS, the Java Community Process and so on. Maybe part of the problem is that industry analysts are constrained to only saying positive things while I am not. Likewise, I am fine with current participants disagreeing with my perspective, but the real question they should be asking themselves is how many other folks may have slanted perspectives towards Liberty and should they simply take a stance that everyone who doesn't see the value proposition is an idiot or should they do more to demonstrate value?

For the record, I am not against standards bodies charging money. Maybe I am wrong in desiring those from Fortune enterprises whose primary business model isn't technology their return on investment in terms of membership? I know that GM and others could join Project Liberty either because their is a ROI that exists but simply hasn't been shared (which lots of folks can incorrectly speculate as to what it is) or they could also belong because it is a pet project that wasn't required to be justified in their culture. Simply asking for folks to share details on which is more correct and more importantly why.

Conor, I do find it interesting that you have decided to pull a single phrase out of my blog while not discussing the more important aspects. I wonder if this is insightful or inciteful...

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