Call for Participation: OASIS Field Force Management (FFM) TC

OASIS members & interested parties,

A new OASIS technical committee is being formed. The OASIS Field Force Management (FFM) Technical Committee has been proposed by the members of OASIS listed in the charter below. The TC name, statement of purpose, scope, list of deliverables, audience, IPR mode and language specified in the proposal will constitute the TC's official charter. Submissions of technology for consideration by the TC, and the beginning of technical discussions, may occur no sooner than the TC's first meeting.

The eligibility requirements for becoming a participant in the TC at the first meeting are:

(a) you must be an employee of an OASIS member organization or an individual member of OASIS, and
(b) you must join the Technical Committee, which members may do by using the "Join this TC" button on the TC's home page at [a].

To be considered a voting member at the first meeting, you must:

(a) join the Technical Committee at least 7 days prior to the first meeting (on or before 13 June 2011); and
(b) you must attend the first meeting of the TC, at the time and date fixed below (20 June 2011).

Participants also may join the TC at a later time. OASIS and the TC welcomes all interested parties.

Non-OASIS members who wish to participate may contact us about joining OASIS [b]. In addition, the public may access the information resources maintained for each TC: a mail list archive, document repository and public comments facility, which will be linked from the TC's public home page at [c].

Please feel free to forward this announcement to any other appropriate lists. OASIS is an open standards organization; we encourage your participation.

Best Regards,

/chet
----------------
Chet Ensign
Director of Standards Development and TC Administration
OASIS: Advancing open standards for the information society
http://www.oasis-open.org

Primary: +1 973-378-3472
Mobile: +1 201-341-1393

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[a] http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=ffm
[b] See http://www.oasis-open.org/join/
[c] http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=ffm

Additional info: 

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
OASIS Field Force Management (FFM) TC

Name of the TC:
OASIS Field Force Management (FFM) Technical Committee

Statement of Purpose:
Enterprises that deploy large field staffs to deliver services to their customers face a host of data use and integration challenges. As the on-site representatives of the enterprise, their field force serve as remote nodes for the entire organization, offering and delivering services, delivering information, committing the enterprise to future actions, and so on. Each of those "field work" operations may touch multiple central data stores, including:

-- the contact data in a CRM,
-- job ticketing (task tracking and completion) systems,
-- the enterprises's inventory and accounting systems, whether integrated into an ERP system or not,
-- records of completed installations, for purposes of product life cycle service and future customer relationship purposes,
-- sales, management and human resources systems tracking the field agents, and so on.

In addition to the challenge of connecting and coordinating multiple enterprise data systems, field force management also heavily depends on the ability to carry data across to the field staff, who often are at the other end of loosely-coupled, heterogeneous networks composed of many disparate nodes. The devices expected to work together and share meaningful data include mobile phones (enterprise and personal), smartphones, personal PIMs, laptops, company mainframes, and other special purpose devices, and are used in a highly mobile fashion requiring robust abilities to represent and reuse location data.

The term "Field Work" in this context refers to a unit of work that is expected to be conducted by an individual (or group of closely co-operating individuals) without need for strong supervisory guidance at each step. Specification of such units of work contains sufficient amount of information necessary for accomplishing expected activity in self-guided way, within the expected time window and resulting in the desired outcome. Such a task may be completely independent of other activities, or be part of a larger project where number of activities are planned for and scheduled in relation to each other.

In the context of FFM TC effort, field work is not limited to particular industry segment or activity type. For example, field works in telecom, utility, facility maintenance, community services, construction, and others would be valid subject for FFM TC effort, as well as certain types of activities regardless of business segment (e.g. sales or field surveys).

The FFM TC will develop an integration interface that can be used between systems responsible for work planning and systems responsible for field request communication towards the addressable field force. In such scenario, a standardized, semantically rich and problem-domain-neutral interface is required. In order to enable fast delivery of fully integrated software solutions addressing the needs of both types of system.

Due to fast-changing business requirements typical for field service value chains that interface should be able to accommodate desired changes in content and interaction patterns without need for extensive customization of already deployed systems. The common data structures must be capable of rapid, flexible revision and extension, without disruption, to maintain the systems' ability to faithfully represent changes in business models, plans, and support structures.

Scope of work of the TC:
The TC will specify a generic, extensible, vendor-neutral integration interface, based on open standards, for relaying field work requests between one or more work planning and one or more field communication systems. Principal use cases for the interface include:

-- field work request dispatching (including request updates and cancellations), and
-- collection of status and input data from the field in a reliable and scalable manner.

The TC may identify additional use cases for inclusion.

The FFM interface shall specify at least one protocol bindings. And the TC may specify bindings (or provide guidance) for use of multiple alternative protocols, such as a variety of messaging systems or formats, or different degrees of information security.

Out of scope:
The FFM TC will not address implementation aspects of the systems generating field work requests, nor of the systems accepting and making those available to field personnel. FFM's projects is to provide an interface and data specifications permitting those two classes of black box to interoperate, generally without perturbing the behaviors inside those boxes. However, the protocol bindings, shared data models, and related interface requirements that the FFM Interface provides may impose some requirements on systems that employ it.

Testing materials are out of scope. This TC shall not develop FFMII conformance test suite materials (other than the conformance clauses as may be required within a specification), nor conformance certification methods for implementations of the issued specifications. For these and similar activities, a parallel Adoption Committee may be considered for creation at a later time, if deemed desirable.

List of deliverables:
The FFM TC plans to produce several related deliverables within both the OASIS Standards Track and Non-Standards Track.

Standards Track Deliverables:
-- Field Force Management Integration Interface (FFMII) specification (primary base specification), which may be one or several related specifications as the TC deems desirable. The FFMMI may include one or more formal taxonomies or code lists for the compact and efficient re-use of recurring information. [[9] months from the first meeting.]

-- Such FFMII related technical artifacts (e.g., data models and machine-readable API) as the TC deems desirable.

Non-Standards Track Deliverables:
-- FFMII non-technical overview. [[9] months from the first meeting]
-- FFMII business drivers and design goals statements. [[9] months from the first meeting.]
-- Use case scenarios and exemplar models. [[9] months from the first meeting.]

The TC's deliverables shall re-use and leverage existing open data standards and architectures where possible.

IPR Mode under which the TC will operate:
RF on Limited Terms Mode.

The anticipated audience or users of the work:
The anticipated audience for TC deliverables produced within the OASIS Standards Track includes independent software vendors (ISVs) active in the area of work planning systems and in field communication systems. Similarly, systems integrators focusing on delivery of integrated and coherent model-driven solutions for respective customers will be candidates for using the standardized technology.

The anticipated audience for TC deliverables produced within the OASIS Non-Standards Track is business entities conducting field activities and seeking guarantees of interoperability between systems. Such businesses typically need to address different aspects of field operations and to support interaction between disparate systems.

Industry strategists, independent consultants, and device designers may benefit from the results of the FFM TC's work as well.

Language of the Technical Committee:
The business of the Technical Committee will be conducted in English.

Non-normative information regarding the startup of the TC:

The proposers are unaware of any currently published work that fulfills the interface scope described here using open data standards. The following existing specifications and documents may be relevant or of interest:

- XML (W3C) as way of data serialization for exchange
- SOAP (W3C) as one of applicable protocol bindings
- xCal (IETF) for serialization of scheduling information
- OASIS WS-Calendar (in progress)

First meeting:
Date: Monday, 20 June 2011
Time: 9:00AM EDT
Location (in person or by telephone): Telephone
Sponsor: Nokia Siemens Networks

Meeting schedule and Sponsor:
Nokia Siemens Networks is the sponsor of these meetings. It is anticipated that the initial release of the FFMII interface shall be produced through regular [biweekly] teleconference meetings, together with [semiannual] physical sessions as the TC deems appropriate, until reaching a releasable state.

The meeting schedule for subsequent maintenance releases and interface extensions will be driven by identified need for enhancements, based on experience from existing deployments.

It is anticipated that deliverables produced on the Non-Standards Track will be developed through work in regular meetings and asynchronously on the TC's mailing list, with informal rounds of TC review comments and draft revisions, until deemed completed by the appropriate TC votes.

Names, Electronic Mail Addresses, and Membership Affiliations of at least Minimum Membership Who Support This Proposal:
Timo Perala, timo.perala@nsn.com, Nokia Siemens Networks
Pertti Lounamaa; pertti.lounamaa@pajatman.com; Pajat Management.
Sami Vaskuu; sami.vaskuu@newelo.com; Newelo Oy
Juha Tuominen; juha.tuominen@rossum.fi; Rossum Oy
Juha Tiihonen; juha.tiihonen@tkk.fi; Aalto University

Primary Representative Statements of Support:
Timo Perala, Head of Services and Operations Standard, timo.perala@nsn.com, Nokia Siemens Networks. I approve the FFM TC charter.

Pertti Lounamaa, primary representative, pertti.lounamaa@pajatman.com, Pajat Management. I approve the FFM TC Charter. Providing a standardized interface between workforce scheduling systems and mobile field data collection systems will help SMEs like Pajat Management to effectively address markets in collaboration with other vendors in ways that it could not do alone.

Sami Vaskuu, CTO, Newelo Oy, sami.vaskuu@newelo.com, as the primary representative of Newelo, I approve the FFM TC Charter.

Johannes Lehtinen, Senior SW Architect, johannes.lehtinen@rossum.fi, Rossum Oy. I approve the FFM TC Charter. Having supplied mobility related data transfer services since 2000, Rossum Oy warmly welcomes all standardization effort targeted at mobile work force management and field work reporting interfaces. We are confident that the FFM TC Charter will produce a high-quality outcome that will definitely boost the co-operation and cross-fertilization of various solutions and services in the field force management area.

Juha Tiihonen, Project Manager of Product Data Management Group, juha.tiihonen@tkk.fi, Aalto University, School of Science, Department of Computer Science and Engineering. I approve the FFM TC charter.

Convener:
Thinh Nguyenphu; thinh.nguyenphu@nsn.com; Nokia Siemens Networks

Member Section:
None

Contributions of Existing Technical Work:
None

Draft Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document:
TBD

Proposed Working Title and Acronym for the Specification(s):
The base specification shall be named the Field Force Management Integration Interface (FFMII) specification.

Associated TC: 
ffm