UW E-Business Consortium Celebrates 10 years

by Liz Ahlberg, UW-Madison Communications

A decade ago, many Wisconsin business executives began looking for ways to best position their companies as players in the powerful, multi-billion-dollar global marketplace.

They found answers — and each other — through the University of Wisconsin-Madison E-Business Consortium (UWEBC) , a unique university-industry partnership that enables Wisconsin companies to collaborate on e-business solutions that benefit all parties.

“The UWEBC serves as a unique resource for industry-leading Wisconsin companies to tap into each other’s collective wisdom,” says UWEBC director Raj Veeramani, a professor of industrial and systems engineering and business. “The cross-pollination of best practices among companies and across industries spurs innovation, which gives our members competitive advantage.”

Today-just 10 years after Veeramani founded the consortium-the 60 UWEBC member companies include such Wisconsin heavyweights as Alliant Energy, Lands’ End, Harley-Davidson, American Family Insurance, CUNA Mutual and others. Through conferences, peer groups, workshops and sponsored research projects with UW-Madison faculty, staff and students, these and other state businesses can address and share e-business and information technology challenges, best practices and strategies for success.

Former Wisconsin Govs. Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum and current Gov. Jim Doyle each have cited Veeramani and the UWEBC role in advancing Wisconsin’s economic interests.

“The UWEBC should be viewed as a valuable think tank,” says Michael Pettit, global transportation manager for Lands’ End. “The consortium generates ideas and practical solutions to solve very real problems.”

On Oct. 9, 2008, the UWEBC will celebrate 10 years of leadership and service to Wisconsin companies. The consortium is hosting its 10th annual E-Business Best Practices & Emerging Technologies Conference at the Madison Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Experts and executives from 35 companies will participate in conference panel discussions on marketing and customer experience, IT strategy and information security, and supply-chain management.

UW-Madison alumnus Dale Nitschke, president of Target.com from 2000 until mid-2008, will deliver the conference keynote address. During the conference, he also will receive the 2008 Distinguished Fellow Award, presented annually to recognize visionary leadership and significant achievement in e-business.