Analytical software industry vendors created the Analytical Solutions Forum (ASF), a nonprofit industry consortium designed to establish solution-oriented performance criteria and interoperability requirements within and between classes of decision support tools, including OLAP, data mining, data visualization, text processing, and decision analysis. ASF founding members are Applix, Brio, Business Objects, Chroma, Gepetto’s Workshop, Hyperion, IBM, Informix, Intel, Knosys, Maximal, Microsoft, NCR, OLAP@Work, Oracle, Simba Technologies, SPSS, Sun Microsystems, Visual Insights, and Whitelight Systems. “Corporations can no longer survive on traditional transaction data-based reports,” says Erik Thomsen, ASF chairman. “There clearly needs to exist an industry body with participation of the end-user community to ensure that the analytical applications provide the level of interoperability and performance required for enterprisewide deployment.” ASF helps vendors enhance integration between their offerings to deliver streamlined solutions that lower maintenance costs and allow quicker deployment, according to Bruce Press, IMS Health’s vice president of systems integration operations. ASF’s key initiatives will be accomplished through special interest groups (SIGs) open to ASF members. Current SIGs include: Benchmark SIG, to create solution-oriented analytical benchmarks that reflect real-world problem-solving needs; Conformance SIG, to establish conformance levels and provide conformance testing; and DSS Interoperability SIG, to identify for each ASF tool type or category the area where the tool-type should connect with other tool types in the DSS space. For general information about ASF, refer to http://www.tasf.org. Submit membership inquiries to admin@tasf.org or call 888-818-6527.