International research, development, and implementation programmes
for e-Business technologies are difficult to design. Effective
implementation requires that the transferring and receiving organisations
be integrated as a single team. This paper discusses a successful
approach for transferring complex e-Business technologies to
Asia to support the development of an aerospace e-Hub. The approach
involves joint laboratory development with private companies,
universities, and government organisations. The hands-on laboratory
work is supplemented with training workshops. The objective is
to build relationships and generate ideas in the workshops and
follow that with hands-on laboratory-related research and development,
and eventually implementation.
The economy of Taiwan is in transition. Manufacturing industries
are moving to other Asian countries and Taiwan is rapidly becoming
a "Design and Engineering" headquarters for managing
complex supply and demand chains that span international boundaries.
Throughout most of the 1990s Taiwan's industrial development
policies were focused on industrial automation. Since 1998 there
has been a major shift in policy, with many new Industrial Development
programmes being focused on e-Business and Global Logistics.
The technology transfer project and the implementation approach
described in this paper is one that is sponsored under the current
Industrial Automation and e-Business Development plan [http://www.jaeb.gov.tw].
The project helps to enable and accelerate Taiwan's transition
into a global hub for managing an extended enterprise that spans
the world. In accordance with internal e-Business objectives,
the Taiwan government is sponsoring the Boeing Company to build
an e-Business Laboratory (for technology transfer) and to organise
five workshops (for training) on the following topics:
- B2B Standards and Dynamic Content Management,
- Application Service Provision,
- Enterprise Application Integration,
- Supply Chain Management and Advanced Planning & Scheduling,
- e-Business to Enable Global Logistics.
Boeing has assembled a Team (1) to help with the design and
implementation of the laboratory and with workshop organisation
and management. The laboratory environment is implemented at
National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), the leading technical university
in Taiwan, located in the science park city of Hsinchu. The laboratory
is designed to foster partnering for technology transfer (or
other relationships) between international companies and Taiwan
companies. The details of the laboratory, the technology transfer
approach, and the workshops are presented in this paper.
The outlook for e-Business in Asia is improving. A recent
Gartner study suggests that e-Commerce growth in the west will
slow, but Asia will continue to grow.
Though North America accounted for 59 percent, or $255 billion,
of the $433.3 billion in global B2B Internet transactions in
2000, the continent's share is forecast to slip to 52 percent,
or $480 billion, this year as the total market reaches an estimated
$919 billion. By 2005, North America's grip on world-wide B2B
Internet commerce will slip further to 42 percent of the estimated
$8.5 trillion world-wide market.
Meanwhile, as the U.S. endures a diminished command over the
sector, the Asia-Pacific region (including Japan) will apparently
enjoy a rise. B2B e-commerce in the Orient reached $96.8 billion
last year, or 22 percent of the world-wide market and Gartner
estimates that by 2005 its share of B2B e-commerce will hit $2.4
trillion, or 28 percent of the world-wide total. That's a 6 percent
rise over the same period that the U.S. will suffer a 17 percent
fall in global market share. This year, Asia-Pacific will generate
$220 billion, or 24 percent, of total online inter-company trade
"The key to success of Taiwan's IT industry is the surroundings.
The government has emphasised the importance of IT education,
human resource cultivation, training, and technology development
in spite of economic depression. Were it not for the capital
that Taiwan's government has continuously been pouring into the
IT industry, the IT industry on this island would not be such
a success" .
In general, the outlook for Asia is good, and Taiwan holds
a special place in the Asian market: It is the "window to
Mainland China." Taiwan has excelled in the IT industries,
and much of the success has been a direct result of government
investment, as noted by Yang Shih-chien, the former Minister
for Private Enterprise in the Executive Yuan . The semi-conductor
industry in Taiwan is a good example of how this kind of capital
investment has paid off. There are other examples, but the point
of this discussion is that the Taiwanese government is approaching
e-Business with the same type of investment strategy.
3. Managing the Transition
3. 1 The Situation
The Taiwanese business model is extremely complex. The primary
customers are in Europe and the United States. Manufacturing
is moving off shore to other Asian countries, and in particular,
Mainland China. Assembly could also occur by a third party, and
in an international location. The logistics model is complicated.
There is direct shipment from source to customer, and there is
also transhipment. Financial relationships are direct and indirect,
with Hong Kong (for all practical purposes) being treated as
separate from Mainland China. Taiwan's objective is to position
itself as a design and engineering headquarters while managing
this complex extended enterprise using e-Business solutions.
The ROC government has responded to this challenge by investing
significantly in e-Business solutions and technologies.
3.2 Government Support for e-Business in Taiwan
The government has an aggressive e-Business Programme that
is guided by the Industrial Automation and e-Business Steering
Committee. The organisation and strategic goals of the programme
are presented at http://www.jaeb.gov.tw. The strategies of the
1. Private sector companies will lead the development of automation
and B2B e-Commerce. The government's role will be to assist by
fostering the creation of a good network environment and actively
work to establish the necessary legal and communications infrastructure.
2. The IT industry will serve as an implementation benchmark
for automation and B2B e-Commerce in other industries. Practical
implementation of the completed plan will provide an opportunity
to uncover and resolve problems within the supply chain. After
this implementation model has been established it will be used
for promotion of automation and acquisition of B2B e-Commerce
in other industries. Related hardware facilities, legal structures,
financing, taxing centres, and other matters will be dealt with
in accordance with a schedule based on the implementation model.
3. The government will work in co-operation with major local
and international firms in providing technical support, personnel
training and incentive measures to encourage the participation
of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the plan.
4. The government will establish a mechanism for online procurement
and information dissemination in order to lead the way for other
The e-Business Co-operation Project presented in this paper
is consistent with these strategies. The project provides the
latest state-of-the art training, and the laboratory includes
local IT companies working jointly with international organisations
to solve supply-side problems that are very important for SMEs.
4. The e-Business Technology Transfer Project and its Benefits
Taiwan Service Providers are defining their competitive position
in the e-Business market space. The transformation of the Taiwanese
economy is underway, and the Service Providers are adjusting
to the requirements of B2B e-Commerce. The e-Business Co-operation
Project is focused on accelerating the adjustment process, in
accordance with the strategies established by the government.
To understand the importance of the immediate benefits, one
must understand the structure of the Taiwanese economy. The "engine"
of the economy is a broad base of SMEs that are primarily suppliers
to domestic and international companies. Hence, Supplier Relationship
Management (SRM), as it is enabled by e-Business, is an important
topic in Taiwan.
Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) is the utilisation
of the latest technologies to build networks of collaborative
relationships that bring joint benefits to large companies and
their suppliers. Unlike eProcurement, the focus is on joint benefits
with suppliers; hence, providing the incentives for suppliers
to participate in supply chain relationships. SRM takes Supply
Chain Management to the next level, allowing supply chain partners
to act as a single business entity in a virtually linked supply
chain. Since the Taiwanese economy is comprised mainly of SMEs,
these issues are critical to the business base.
But, how should Taiwan's companies proceed with the collaboration
aspects of SRM when many of their customers and suppliers are
international companies? And, does a "one size fits all"
model meet the complex needs of SRM in Taiwan? While no one knows
the answers to these questions, they must be investigated and
addressed in a logical and structured fashion. The e-Business
Co-operation Project is one attempt to address these questions
- Training: An investigation of the latest management and technology
techniques as presented in a sequence of workshops, and
- Technology Transfer: A supplier-side service provider laboratory
that allows local companies the opportunity to design, develop,
and test new solutions in a neutral environment.
Given this context, the e-Business Co-operation Project provides
many benefits to Taiwan. The following obvious benefits are a
subset of the total benefits:
- Build partnerships and establish business relationships with
international e-Business solution providers.
- Learn to develop and implement Enterprise Application Integration
(EAI) solutions that are compatible with ERP solutions, including
those that are designed and developed in Taiwan.
- Obtain a comprehensive understanding of electronic catalogue
and content management, allowing Taiwan supply chain-oriented
organisations to manage catalogues and content at the exchange
- Obtain a B2B demonstration capability, allowing local service
providers to understand how their offerings integrate with other
- Develop a comprehensive understanding of current supply chain
and advanced planning & scheduling systems, allowing Taiwan
Service Providers to extend their product offerings and consulting
- Establish the capability for obtaining unbiased assessments
of international technologies, including strategies for localising
or developing similar B2B technologies for the Taiwan market.
- Develop an unbiased consulting source for B2B technologies,
including how these technologies interact with local technologies.
- Develop a better understanding of Taiwan's competitive positioning
in the B2B marketplace.
- Establish a direct link to international organisations for
identifying appropriate technologies to transfer quickly to Taiwan
- Develop a capability to participate in the international
aerospace market via international experience in leading the
development in such exchanges.
- Develop the capability for developing a Taiwan Aerospace
Exchange that will allow Taiwan suppliers to participate in global
- Obtain direct training and consultation on B2B applications
that are directly related to the aerospace and other industries.
- Establish an unbiased source for demonstrating B2B technologies,
including how these technologies interact with local technologies.
5. Main Components of the e-Business Co-operation Project
The project is divided into two parts:
- The delivery of five e-Business workshops, and
- The design and implementation of the e-Business Laboratory
These components are related, since some of the workshops
leverage the laboratory infrastructure for their delivery. The
Taiwan government defined this structure, with a focus on using
these mechanisms to add value to local Service Providers through
partnering and the development of new business relationships.
An overview of the workshops and the laboratory is described
in the following sections, and the details of all aspects of
the project are located at http://boeingicp.eep.gmu.edu/.
5.1 Workshop Purpose and Organisation
These workshops are organised to provide benefits to Taiwan
Service Providers(2). The state of e-Business technology is rather
advanced in Taiwan; hence, the workshop material must be cutting
edge in order to be of benefit; i.e., routine training (or a
well known concept) or marketing material is not appropriate
for this type of training workshop. Hence, invited speakers were
given specific instructions that the topics must represent new
concepts and ideas that are appropriate for the Taiwan economic
environment. Special consideration was given to speakers who
could provide solutions that are appropriate for SMEs, the engine
of Taiwan's economy. These are the companies that must operate
in supply chains that distribute across international boundaries.
As previously mentioned, the workshops were required to have
a technical focus to support effective training, with marketing
presentations always discouraged. Significant networking opportunities
were designed into the schedule so the Taiwan Service Providers
could interact with the speakers (or representatives from their
organisations) so that partnering or other business opportunities
could be discussed. The idea was to understand the technical
aspects of the opportunities in an open forum that allows Taiwan
Service Providers (as opposed to some government agency) to make
their own decisions about what is appropriate for their business
environment. The e-Business Co-operation Project Team facilitates
follow-on meetings as appropriate, but our primary focus was
to provide the best possible technical programme, while not interfering
in relationships that are purely commercial.
5.2 Workshop Topics and Timing
The workshop topics were selected through interviews with
Taiwan Service Providers. The project team interviewed many companies,
and while the requested topics covered many areas, agreement
was reached on five topic areas.
It is important to note the following about the workshop topic
selection process. Since the local solution providers were the
beneficiaries of the training, they were encouraged by the ROC
government to select the topics. The service providers knew which
topics were most important for Taiwan; hence, the project team
respected the topics as recommended in the survey. After the
survey was completed, the Industrial Development Bureau hosted
a service provider workshop. The service providers reviewed the
survey results and made additional changes and recommendations
for the delivery of the workshops.
While the workshops were designed only for training (not technology
transfer), the selected topics had a significant impact on the
design of the technology transfer laboratory. Since the laboratory
was designed for service providers, and since the survey indicated
the topics that were most interesting to service providers, it
only made sense to design the laboratory around these topics.
The following training schedule was established by agreement
with Boeing and the Taiwan government sponsor:
- B2B Standards and Dynamic Content Management - 05/2l-05/22
- Application Service Provision - 06/1l-06/12 2001
- Enterprise Application Integration - 07/23-07/24 2001
- Supply Chain Management and APS -07/31-08/01 2001
- B2B Solutions for Global Logistics -09/1l-09/12 2001
The in-country partners developed the workshop invitation
list. Preference was given to local companies that were providing
solutions and had expressed an interest in partnering with international
companies or implementing international solutions. The workshops
received significant marketing in Taiwan, with all of the marketing
being handled by the Corporate Synergy Development Centre (CSD),
a Taiwanese non-profit organisation that is charged by the government
to provide support (training, catalogue hosting, etc.) to large
industrial supply chains. CSD also handled all local logistics,
but the Enterprise Engineering Laboratory at George Mason University
managed the interaction with the speakers.
5.3 The e-Business Demonstration Laboratory
The e-Business Laboratory was designed to allow Taiwanese
Service Providers to configure their product offerings so that
they can interact in a modern trading exchange environment. To
meet this objective, a prototype hub was configured, using existing
commercial solutions that were provided to National Tsing Hua
University's (NTHU's) e- Business Excellency Centre. The focus
of the laboratory is EAI offerings that allow Service Provider
interoperability with an exchange environment. The prototype
exchange is only used as a demonstration device for supporting
these Service Provider EAI experiments.
The laboratory is focused on the interaction between local
software solutions and modern B2B hubs. The local solutions,
in US terminology, are Mid-Range ERP solutions. Some leading
Taiwanese solution providers were identified, and their products
were implemented in the laboratory. International solution providers
were also identified, and their products were implemented as
well. In short, the laboratory focuses on supplier-side integration
issues, a key component of Supplier Relationship Management (SRM).
International and Taiwan solution providers worked together
to design trading exchange scenarios, or to propose and design
EAI solutions for enabling Taiwan products to interact in the
modern B2B space. This is the key to the technology transfer.
When all parties are working side-by-side, meaningful technology
The laboratory infrastructure was completed in April 2000.
The EAI technologies to support scenario execution were configured
and tested in the early summer, and the laboratory was opened
in July of 2001 (3). The laboratory was also used to support
the workshops (through demonstrations) whenever appropriate.
5.4 Execution Scenario Details
Consider the following hypothetical scenario. Local Service
Provider Solutions are implemented in aerospace supplier organisations.
These suppliers are executing business transactions with a global
mega-exchange through a regional hub. The laboratory-based scenario
simulates the interactions among the local suppliers and the
The hub was built using packaged software, and the interaction
with the hub was managed using a modern workflow-based EAI solution.
The business process logic that is configured within the EAI
solution manages business document flow, including purchase order
receipt, purchase order response, and verification for financial
The scenario was tailored to the requirements of a large aerospace
first-tier Taiwan supplier, Aerospace Industrial Development
Corporation (AIDC), and will be continually relined to align
with their B2B vision. This vision locates the hub at a major
first-tier supplier. The location is important, since supply
chain leads do not have incentives to maintain hubs for suppliers.
However, first tier suppliers do have the proper incentives.
Since first-tier suppliers must do business with many customers
as well as suppliers, they are better positioned to maintain
a hub. In fact, their position in the supply chain requires that
they be able to do business with many large companies as well
as their many suppliers. Large supply chain leads usually mandate
their business models and have little incentive to maintain hubs.
Since suppliers dominate the Taiwanese economy, the three-tiered
supply chain scenario makes perfect sense for the Taiwan economy.
The laboratory will eventually be "open," allowing
participation from those providers who are willing to support
the environments. To initialise the laboratory, five companies
- Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation http://www.aidc.com.tw
- Data Systems, Ltd. http://www.dsc.com.tw
- Proyoung Business Information System Company, Ltd. http://www.proyoung.com.tw/
- Goldsun Computer and Communication http://www.gsnet.com.tw
- PROMATIS, GmbH http://www.promatis.de
Other companies will be considered at the completion of the
first phase of the laboratory implementation. Hence, at the highest
level, the laboratory demonstrates the management of B2B transactions,
primarily in flavours of XML, in a multi-tier supply chain relationship.
However, the delivery mechanism does not have to be limited to
XML. In fact, the laboratory design supports "any-to-any"
document swap, and additional options will be explored in later
The scenario can be extended in a number of ways, allowing
service providers to adjust their requirements and realign their
The e-Business Co-operation Project is a good example of how
organisations can work together to add value to private organisations.
The Taiwan government sponsors this project, but the focus is
building e-Business partnerships in private organisations. In
that sense, this project has tremendous value in terms of technology
transfer. As opposed to spending large sums of money on public
development projects, this approach brings organisations together
who can partner to open new markets and add value to society.
The e-Business Co-operation Project is a new model for Industrial
Co-operation, transferring private sector technologies and solutions
to the organisations that can implement them on value-adding
(1) The e-Business Co-operation Project Team is comprised
of the Boeing Company (USA), Corporate Synergy Development Corporation
(ROC), Devco, Inc. (USA), National Tsing Hua University (ROC),
and George Mason University (USA).
(2) The term "Service Provider," is a somewhat generic
term. In terms of US terminology, it includes software solution
providers (including mid-range ERP and extended enterprise solutions),
Application Service Providers, and System Integrators.
(3) The press release for the laboratory grand opening is presented
as Appendix A
[l] Brown Richard, Gartner: Asia-Pacific Set to Surge, Line56,
April 2, 2001 [http://www.line56.com/articles/default.asp?NewsID=2327&ml=2].
 Ho Chi-yu, Wang Ying-shun, and Li Chung-wei, Interview with
Yang Shih-chien, Taiwan
Formula, December, 2000, pp. 68-71.
 AIDC, provided by AIDC EC Division, 2001.
9. Appendix A - Laboratory Opening Press Release
FAIRFAX, Va.---George Mason University and Devco Inc. announce
the opening of the E-Business Demonstration Laboratory in Taiwan.
The laboratory, sponsored by the Boeing Company and hosted by
National Tsing Hua University in the Science Park City of Hsinchu,
focuses on enabling small suppliers with supplier-side solutions
to participate in supply chain relationships.
The companies participating in the laboratory are Aerospace
Industrial Development Corp. of Taichung, Taiwan; Data Systems
Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan; Goldsun Computer & Communication
Ltd. of Taipei, Taiwan; Promatis Corp. of San Ramon, Calif.;
and Proyoung Business Information System Company Ltd. of Taipei,
Taiwan. These companies, working under the guidance of the Devco-George
Mason University project team, have developed and implemented
a solution for multitiered supply chain integration using commercially
"The bottleneck in supply chain integration and management
is supplier integration," says project technical lead Thomas
Gulledge of the Policy Analysis Centre in George Mason's School
of Public Policy. "Without willing supplier participation,
collaboration along the supply chain is impossible. The E-Business
Demonstration Laboratory is focused on solving the supplier-side
integration problem using local Taiwanese service provider solutions."
The laboratory is housed in the engineering school at National
Tsing Hua University and allows qualified solution providers
to test their products in the national demonstration environment.
The laboratory design, development and implementation were funded
by the Boeing Company as part of an industrial co-operation programme
with Taiwan, the Republic of China. The project was developed
and is managed by Devco Inc., a company that specialises in technology-oriented
industrial co-operation programmes.
"The opening of the laboratory exemplifies a significant
accomplishment in fostering industrial co-operation on an international
basis, and showcases the talents of highly skilled professionals
on the George Mason technical team," says James Grzella,
senior vice president of Devco and E-Business Demonstration Laboratory
The laboratory was opened with a live demonstration of a supply
chain scenario and an associated workshop programme that included
participants from the laboratory partner organisations -- the
Boeing Company of, Seattle; Timogen Systems of Mountain View,
Calif.; IONA Technologies of Tokyo; GE Global Exchange Services
of Hong Kong; Exostar LLP of Reston; and St. Joseph's University