Umbrella solution sets out dot-com architecture

Companies pondering a move to the dot-com realm can test and develop the environment by becoming Web-enabled at an iForce Ready Centre.

Sun Microsystems has partnered with several companies world-wide to give business leaders an opportunity to try Sun’s dot-com products, brought together under an umbrella called iForce.

Raj Dosaj, director of global competency centres for Sun Microsystems, called iForce a synthesis of the best practices delivering the best platform of Sun’s dot-com architecture.

“It’s a methodology. How do you do it?” Dosaj asked. “Proof, solutions and service platforms, all this has to be tied together.”

He added Sun worked on the concept of iForce for about a year. The iForce initiative includes such software as SunStartup Accelerator, Start-Up Essentials, iForce Education Service Provider, iForce Initiative Customer Program, SunReady Methodology, SunTone Certification and Branding and SunReady Availability Assessment Service for SunTone.

The initiative also includes the iForce Ready Centres, sites opened by businesses partnered with Sun. Sierra Systems Consultants hopes to have their first centre in Toronto up and running this month.

Phil Ferguson of Sierra called the centre a logical extension for the company.

“This gives us the ability to allow clients to come in and feel and see what the possibilities for dot-comming their companies are,” Ferguson said. “At the end of the day we’ve created a nice place for clients to come in and run demos.”

He added the best feature of the centre is that a customer can come in and do a proof of concept.

“They can try changes until it is something they are comfortable with, then they can go back to their Web site and initiate those changes. It’s like going in to kick the tires.”

Ferguson said the use of a centre like this can help minimalize risks involved in e-commerce.

Markus Luft, vice-president of the Eastern North American Business Centre for Burntsand, said a centre like this will help companies create a more complete story for their dot-com solution.

Burntsand will open a centre in Calgary this year. “When the iForce was sent out, we got interested right away,” Luft said.

Sun Microsystems’ dot-com architecture is popular because the people at Sun have a vision, according to Gail Smith, vice-president of front office development at Scotiabank.

“These guys believe they are changing the world. They’re not alone in that, but they have a mission, a purpose, and they’re passionate about it.”

Smith noted the iForce initiative is their way of fostering the industry’s evolution in e-commerce. “The dot-com start ups and the competency centres that they’ve been opening up, that’s all for the good of this industry,” Smith said. “I think you see a lot of people trying to copy that model.”

Smith, through Scotiabank, first became involved with Sun eight years ago, working in the trading environment on a Unix system.

“Their philosophy in network computing and in open standards was very consistent with our objectives.”

She called Sun’s Internet hardware network aware, mature, functional and open. “It’s really the whole suite of things that allows you to build applications appropriate for a network in a real-time, on-line way.”

Dosaj hopes iForce helps companies to answer the questions: “Why are you dot-comming? How are you dot-comming your business? How do you mass customize while keeping customers distinct?”