In an effort to promote more communication between open source users and vendors, the nonprofit Open Solutions Alliance, Inc. (OSA) is opening up its membership to customers.
The OSA differs from other open source advocacy groups in that it focuses on the technical concerns of the business community -- mainly vendor-neutral standards that facilitate application integration -- rather than on such things as licensing and legal issues.
Along with the new "customer-level membership class" announced yesterday, the organization comprises Product ISV's, systems integrators, value-added resellers, and community organizations, including non-profits. Potential members must be nominated by an existing member and approved by the board of directors. Redmayne-Bentley, a UK brokerage firm, is the initial customer-level member.
The group's initial major project, the Common Customer View Prototype, "includes several business applications integrated to provide a single '360-degree' view of a customer's interactions with a retail business," explained OSA president Dominic Sartorio, in an interview with IT Business Edge in April.
OSA anticipates the project will be done in time for a demonstration at the August LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco. The demonstration scenario explores a negative customer experience with an electronics retailer, in which several integrated applications are used to examine the complete customer transaction, including help desk interactions and supply chain analysis.