Posted by: Christian Verstraete | March 11, 2010

Community Clouds, a different collaboration approach

I have written previously on the concept of community clouds, clouds that address the needs of a particular community. Whether it is to gain visibility across the Value Chain, to track products across the Supply Chain, to initiate processes such as a recall, community clouds are there to correlate data across an eco-system, identify events and initiate processes. However, I believe we can take community clouds one step further. They may become the basis for collaboration environments, allowing partners to share information and work together on common data.

However, in that model we have to complement the cloud platform with a number of capabilities in the area of UC&C, Unified Communication and Collaboration. By enhancing the cloud platform with voice, multi-media and chat capabilities, we now develop an environment where partners can interact. In doing so, they have the possibility to truly work together and build something jointly. We are often starting from a technology and then look at what problem it can solve, I believe we need to do things the other way round, start from a business problem and then look at how technologies can be combined to address it. This would avoid the stovepipe approach many of our IT departments have. Moving to service orientation, a pre-requisite for the development of cloud services, we make it easier to invoke services from different origins to assemble the functionality required to address the collaboration problem.

As supply chains need more collaboration than ever, the adoption of SOA (Service Oriented Architectures) should increase, allowing the partners in the supply chain to share their services assets. But, still a lot of work to do.

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