First Global Commerce, an ambitious alliance that Hewlett-Packard Co. started last year, has a new name, a boldly stated agenda, and 10 new members.
The group announced last week that it is now the Global eCommerce Forum, with a membership that has doubled, to 20.
The circle is widening beyond the client lists of the principal organizers-Hewlett-Packard, its Verifone Inc. subsidiary, and their frequent marketing partner Electronic Data Systems Corp.
MasterCard, Visa, and the Discover/Novus organization are members, as are two competing digital certification companies, GTE Internetworking and Verisign Inc.
Three working groups, in effect, define the mission: infrastructure development, system interoperability, and electronic commerce adoption and education.
The goals remain ambitious, as they were when the original announcement was made in December. They include influencing the development of technical standards and coordinating collaborative activities that promote a favorable and open environment for e-commerce growth.
One key part of the mission is "to develop and leverage the financial payments infrastructure."
"The only way financial institutions will retain relationships with their customers in the next millennium is to be the primary providers and marketers of new, more convenient services," said Joe Brownsted, EDS program manager of the forum. "The results of these project groups will help guide member companies in building and deploying electronic commerce applications."
Indicating that the payments message is resonating, the 20 forum members include five banks or units of banks-Citicorp Payment Services, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Paymentech Inc., Sumitomo Credit Services, and Wells Fargo Bank-and bank-owned ventures such as MasterCard International, Mondex USA, and Visa International.
"The Commonwealth Bank of Australia will be the first to fill the role of chairing the member steering committee," said Debra Miele, the Hewlett- Packard executive who serves as Global eCommerce Forum director.
This panel "is responsible for defining and approving projects, managing working groups, and approving the group's industrywide outlook and positions."
The forum may be vying for attention with other multiparty e-commerce groups. The biggest and most prominent is CommerceNet, which like Hewlett- Packard and Verifone is based and deeply rooted in Silicon Valley.
Cathy Medich, a Verifone director of marketing and former executive director of CommerceNet, said in a recent interview that 500-member CommerceNet is "horizontal," cutting across industries.
Ms. Medich said the old First Global Commerce laid low for a few months while putting its own infrastructure and initiatives in place. Only in early March did it hold the first member meeting, and the expanding participation is seen as a vindication of the organizing principles.
The 10 new members are Commonwealth Bank, Diebold Inc., Global Payment Systems, GTE Internetworking, MasterCard, NETS of Singapore, Novus Services, Security First Technologies, Stratus Computer Inc., and Verisign.