The ACORD Transaction Working Group met recently to tackle the necessary infrastructure and protocol needed to effectively transport XML transactions. Participating in the working group are Microsoft, Travelers, PMSC, SAFECO, NCFocus, National Grange Mutual, Symmetry Technology Labs, Progressive, APT, Ontos, ISO, Hartford, Applied Systems, Kemper, Delphi, IVANS, CGU, AMS, St. Paul, Docucorp, and others. Concurrently, the Data Requirements Working Group is analyzing the AL3 and ObjX standards in order to assure that all lines, including Personal, Commercial, Surety, Claims, and Accounting, are included in the initial dictionary. This group was formed out of the recently announced joint initiative between ACORD and the Independent Insurance Agents of America’s (IIAA) Agent’s Council for Technology (ACT). Working toward an August 31, 1999 deliverable, the groups plan to complete the ACORD Insurance XML Dictionary. The objective, introduced by IIAA/ACT, is to prevent industry fragmentation by providing a base dictionary for the production of all future insurance XML transactions. IIAA/ACT is an advisory board of agent and industry representatives, formed by the IIAA to foster understanding and better utilization of technology in the independent agency system. ACT also helps to provide technology education, acts as a catalyst for the research and practical implementation of technology, and monitors related legislative developments. www.acord.org
Open Market, Inc. announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire FutureTense, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, Open Market expects to issue approximately 7,226,000 shares of its common stock to the holders of outstanding FutureTense stock. In addition, Open Market will assume options to acquire FutureTense stock, which will convert into options to acquire approximately 1,118,000 shares of Open Market common stock. A portion of these options will be exercisable immediately upon the closing of the transaction. As of the close of trading yesterday, these shares had an aggregate market value of approximately $125 million. The companies expect that the transaction will be accounted for as a pooling of interests. The transaction is subject to shareholder approval and is expected to close in Q4 1999. Open Market believes that the combination of its products and those from FutureTense will provide customers with the potential to: Deploy e-business solutions more quickly and reduce the cost of vendor selection, integration and ongoing support, Create e-business Web sites with increased revenue potential because integrating content and commerce management helps maximize the value of on-line customer relationships, Extend and expand systems more easily because of FutureTense’s open application server architecture. Upon closing the transaction, Gary Eichhorn will continue as CEO of Open Market. Ron Matros, president and CEO of FutureTense, will join Open Market as president and chief operating officer. BC Krishna, co-founder and chief technology officer of FutureTense, will join as Open Market’s chief technology officer. A demonstration showing what a dynamic, personalized web site created with the two integrated products looks like is available on the Web at www.openmarket.com/futuretense
Intraspect Software announced full support for Microsoft Office 2000 and the WebDAV protocol in Intraspect Knowledge Server (IKS). Intraspect’s Knowledge Server, coupled with Internet Explorer 5.0, allows users to drag-and-drop any file from their desktop to the IKS repository. Microsoft Office and other documents are immediately indexed and locatable through IKS’ Browser User Interface. Office 2000 users can open a document directly from an Intraspect WebDAV server, modify it, and save the updated version back to the server — all from within the Office 2000 applications. www.intraspect.com
EXE Technologies, Inc. announced its commitment to support Microsoft’s BizTalk Framework by developing industry-specific schemas that will enable the seamless exchange of business information for EXE’s customers. EXE Technologies will support Microsoft’s advocacy of XML and industry standards for sharing business information by using BizTalk schemas and developing industry-specific schemas for EXE applications. EXE customers will execute BizTalk schemas as the default business-to-business communication language and EXE-developed schemas for industry-specific functionality. Industry-specific schemas developed by EXE will be submitted to the BizTalk.org schema repository. In addition to committing to develop and use BizTalk XML schemas, EXE is participating in the beta program for Microsoft BizTalk Server and is working to ensure that BizTalk Server and schemas will seamlessly integrate with EXE’s application suite, EXceed. The BizTalk-enabled solutions will allow businesses to easily and uniformly exchange data with ERP, APS, Order Management, and other applications. EXE will deliver the first BizTalk schemas later this year. www.exe.com.