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Covisint Reaches For The Ignition

Pilot testing will begin Friday on giant auto-industry exchange Covisint, and it's is expected to go live Monday after receiving formal approval this week from the German regulatory agency Bundeskartellamt. Covisint exec Dan Jankowski says that approval is the last hurdle. The European Union continues to review plans for the exchange, but it hasn't moved to stop Covisint, says Jankowski. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission dropped its investigation of Covisint two weeks ago without taking action

In its first week, Covisint will offer what Jankowski calls "rudimentary capabilities," including limited auctions. Participants also will be able to preview and use the first stages of what will become Covisint's supply-chain collaboration tools, says Jankowski. "The value of Covisint is going to come from some of the more sophisticated supply-chain applications, and participants will be able to use those in limited ways."

Jankowski says Covisint execs have selected the software vendors who will provide Covisint's core capabilities--transparent, real-time, two-way supply-chain connections between the auto companies and all tiers of suppliers. Jankowski refused to name the vendor, saying an announcement would come later. Other key capabilities--including the ability for engineers and designers at the suppliers' and manufacturers' sites to collaborate online and in real time on the creation of an automobile--will be available in later phases, according to Covisint execs.

The search for a CEO to run Covisint is nearing the end, Jankowski says. He would not say when a CEO would be named, but says executive teams handling the search for Covisint's founders (DaimlerChrysler, Ford, and General Motors) expect an announcement "shortly." Covisint has signed up two additional automakers, Renault S.A. and Nissan Motor Co. Those partners, along with primary technology partners Oracle and Commerce One Inc., are taking an equity stake in Covisint.

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