Use Case: Cross-organizational collaboration
October 24, 2010 Leave a comment
The general idea
Every organisation has to collaborate with others (suppliers, vendors, partners, customers, …) in order to be successful in todays global economy. This leads to the emergence of cross organizational business processes that need to be implemented by the different participants in the value chain. Several problems arise when trying to automate these business processes.
Either every participant automates its part of the process and the different pieces are integrate with one another afterwards. This leads to significant implementation time and associated costs, as every participant will do this at different schedules. Furthermore there is a serious loss in business agility, as for every change to the process multiple participants need to change their part of the automation.
Alternatively, one of the participants could be choosen to automate the entire process, but this leads to another slew of problems. Who will pay who?, whos is dependent on who?, what kind of guarantees does your company get? Now think about it, would you like your company to be directly dependent of a specific supplier or customer? Guess not…
Why is cloud a good solution?
Cloud computing is a good solution for this problem because it is ‘Neutral Ground’, none of the participants is solely responsible for implementing or hosting it, while at the same time every participant can provide it’s own details, or customizations, to the implementation.
What cloud offering do you need?
For ad-hoc collaborations or small automated processes the partners could use an online collaboration platform like Office 365 (former BPOS) in order to quickly set up an environment. This is especially useful when occasionally collaborating on tenders and the like.
For more complicated scenario’s, where different systems from various partners need to be brought together in order to implement end to end business processes accross the entire value chain, one should look at BPMaas vendors (like cordys.com, or ibm blueworks). Microsoft used to have such an bpm engine as well in the Azure AppFabric during the beta timeframe, but I’m not sure what today’s status is?
And obviously a platform as a service, like Azure, will prove it’s value here as well in order to implement custom business logic that is not specific to any of the partners.