Interwork Alliance in 2021

I can’t say I thought it was a great idea to start a new open standards organization during a pandemic, or that I knew how much effort it would take to convince a diverse set of organizations to join our efforts to undertake something very new.  But then again we had been working for months to line up our initial participants, set up the legal and financial infrastructures for this new open standards body, etc. So, in many ways we just had to pull the trigger and launch.

Turns out, it was a good idea. The progress we have made in our first Business Working Group — Sustainability –has been nothing short of impressive. By the end of 2020 it had contributed 2 new Behaviors, 1 Behavior Group, 12 Property Sets, and 2 Draft Token Specifications to the Token Taxonomy Framework. It also helped to bootstrap the InterWork Framework by creating the 1st Interwork Contract. This first working group isn’t slowing down, either. It is providing the template to form new Business Working Groups in Trade Finance, Supply Chain, Financial Services, and more in 2021.

Of course, we did have a couple of bumps in the road in 2021. This included the departure of Ron Resnick as our inaugural President and, more recently, Paul DiMarzio being lured away from IWA by an opportunity he just couldn’t pass up. We thank both Ron and Paul for all they contributed to the successful launch of the IWA as well as for their efforts to get us onto solid footing for future success.

That said, we remain fortunate to be supported by a small but effective staff team. At year-end 2020 we added Paul Rapino to our staff as the full time Head of Growth and Business Development.  Jackson Ross continues in his role as Technical Marketing Engineer, helping drive the framework and business working groups forward. Our membership also continues to grow, and we expect our new Business Working Groups to drive participation even further. In fact, as a Board, our near-term focus will be to engage with our members, get their feedback and observe the requirements needed as we execute across multiple business working groups and diverse membership functions. This active listening and learning engagement will give us better insight into the obstacles and opportunities in front of us, and also inform our decision making around staffing needs in the areas of marketing and executive function.

I spend a good portion of my work week with the IWA. I am humbled at how much progress we have already made. And I am truly excited to see just how far we can all go together in helping define this new multiparty, tokenized ecosystem.

By Marley Gray, Principal Architect – Azure Multiparty Engineering, Microsoft and IWA Board member