Are B2B Standards About to Enter the Clouds?

In an earlier post about cloud computing I started to talk about the continued development of SaaS based B2B applications.  In the past two weeks there have been a couple of interesting developments in the cloud computing space. Firstly two weeks ago, an initiative was launched in Europe called EuroCloud. EuroCloud is essentially a new industry organization that aims to promote cloud and SaaS based solutions across seven European countries. At the moment EuroCloud consists of representatives from the UK, France, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain and in addition nearly thirty SaaS and Cloud vendors ranging from Amazon, Salesforce,com, Microsoft and McAfee have all signed up to the intiative. In simple terms EuroCloud represents the Cloud business in Europe. The aim of EuroCloud is to make it easier for SaaS vendors to expand their operations across different country borders and then making it easier to deal with different languages, cultures and business best practices.EuroCloud essentially creates a central hub where anyone can find out about the leading SaaS and Cloud vendors across Europe.Now inevitably as soon as you start to talk about making it easier to trade across country borders you begin to think about introducing standards to make communications easier. Now there are obviously many standards bodies in Europe but in my mind EuroCloud could offer the first platform/industry association for introducing standards in the cloud, so to speak. Some could argue whether we need yet more standards but as with any new technology trend, the subject of common standards always gets mentioned. Now I am only speculating here but I wouldn’t be surprised if new standards are introduced in the near future for Cloud related B2B transactions. Certainly a topic for another blog entry. Secondly, GXS announced today that it was helping to drive greater adoption of cloud computing based technologies in the Integration-as-a-Service (IaaS) industry. GXS has been working very closely with Microsoft and their Windows® Azure product line to provide greater business intelligence behind our B2B e-commerce services. Azure essentially provides unlimited computing power via a scalable, standardized platform. The aim of this partnership is to provide more detailed intelligence, visibility, monitoring, reporting and auditing for customers seeking greater insight into B2B transaction volumes, values and trends within specific business processes and trading partner relationships. By leveraging the cloud, GXS will be able to provide this data in an unlimited fashion, increasing the value to our global customers. Microsoft believes that cloud based B2B integration services represent a strong market opportunity that could benefit companies of any size.

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Cloud Computing may Change Outsourcing/BPO

cloud outsourcing

Recent events (economic, technological, business) may be driving the convergence of two traditionally separate sources of value in the managed services or outsourcing world, specialized knowledge, and scale. Although some organizations have traditionally applied both specialized knowledge and scale, it was far more common for smaller service providers to compete on specialized knowledge — with higher infrastructure costs, and larger firms to compete mostly on scale, with less specialized knowledge and focus than their smaller rivals. But recent research and trends, show that the advent of cloud computing, and large commodity cloud service providers, may allow specialized managed services providers to focus and still provide compelling scale in the infrastructure. Referred to as “ADAMs” by Gartner (Alternative Delivery Models), these providers leverage not just Cloud architectures, but also Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms. And there is no reason why this has to be only a two-tier model! I recently posted a link via Twitter, Facebook, etc regarding a beta-service called CloudMQ. This service, not commercialised yet, may be an indicator. It aims to offer standards based (JMS, or Java Messaging Service), business grade messaging (guaranteed delivery, etc) “in the cloud” (offered to customers via the internet). So far, this sounds normal enough, until you realize the entire service is hosted on Amazon’s EC2 and S3 services, which are themselves infrastructure services!  And we are only at the start of this. Commercial services like Amazon change the economics, and when the economics change, the models quickly follow…

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