Walk around the EDS Agility Alliance Development Center near Detroit, and you will have a difficult time telling the EDS employees from those who work for Dell Inc. or Microsoft Corp.
Under normal circumstances, many of the 200 people who work here would be viewed as fierce competitors. But this is not your typical office.
The employees here represent almost a dozen companies. They are part of a federation of major technology vendors that make up the EDS Agility Alliance (eds.com).
EDS' thinking behind the center, which opened in Auburn Hills, Mich., in September, is that technology vendors need a neutral site to come together to provide technology solutions for their customers.
The companies in the alliance count 20 automakers and about 10 major suppliers as clients. Staff members include senior engineers, IT specialists and technical analysts.
Developing technology solutions is critical in a global industry such as automotive. As carmakers and their suppliers shift engineering work around the globe, ensuring that all of the computer hardware and software works properly takes on great importance. All it takes is one problem in one location to grind a key project to a halt.