Vendors Form New Services Standards Body

The group, the Technology Professional Services Association (TPSA), launched Tuesday with member companies that include BEA Systems, Computer Associates, Convergys, Genesys Telecomm Labs, GlassHouse Technologies, Hitachi Data Systems, Hyperion Solutions, IKON Office Solutions, Mercury Interactive, Parametric Technology Corporation, Peregrine Systems, Progress Software, QuickArrow,, SBI Group and Sterling Commerce.

Key to the group's mission is developing a common set of guideposts and standards for companies that provide information technology services, said Thomas Lah, a services industry consultant. Lah has been tapped to be executive director of TPSA.

"This is an incredibly underserved management community," Lah said. "These guys are starving to get better data, better information."

Initially, Lah and several technology executives approached a group of 30 technology vendors in discussions that lasted several months about the organization's mission. One of the first companies to sign on was IKON Office Solutions, the Malvern, Pa.-based document imaging solution provider, with several other companies jumping into the effort shortly thereafter. Twenty of the companies were on board for the official launch and several more are expected on board shortly, Lah said.

Sponsored post

"We said, 'Let's go out and get to the top of the service food chain and see if they'd be interested in us incubating an association," Lah said.

Other companies will be permitted to become dues-paying members of the organization over time, said Lah, an author who was also a top services executive at Silicon Graphics.

"We said, let's found an organization that will bring leaders together into this space so we can talk about the dynamics in this particular market segment and, even more important, publish what we think are best practices relative to what it takes to successfully start and run a professional services organization," said Michael Kohlsdorf, senior vice president for IKON Enterprise Services and Information Systems.

TPSA will appoint an advisory board, which will guide the group's first-year agenda, executives said. It will hold its first conference April 10 and April 11 next year in San Diego.