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InfoQ Homepage News Article: Will Cloud-based Multi-Enterprise Information Systems Replace Extranets?

Article: Will Cloud-based Multi-Enterprise Information Systems Replace Extranets?

In this latest article, Matthieu Hug, CEO of the BPM-as-a-Service startup, provides his views on Cloud Computing, focusing on the Platform-as-a-Service layer.

He explains that for the most part:

[…] Cloud Computing is about making usually “painful” problems someone else’s problems

In addition, Cloud-based development platforms enable a new Development paradigm:

One of the core innovations behind PaaS is the emergence of a Dev 2.0 paradigm with the utilization of Web 2.0 technologies for developer tools, agile methodologies and massive use of domain specific languages (DSL) rather than multi-purpose programming languages. Dev 2.0 makes developers a lot more productive and enables non-developers to participate in the definition and validation of key elements of the business logic, such as a business process, a business rule or a form definition.

These characteristics are disruptive enough. Yet he sees another emerging disruption in partner relationship management. He explains how Cloud Computing Development Platform can be used to deliver a new kind of Enterprise Information systems: the Multi-Enterprise Information Systems (MEIS).

Up until today, multi-enterprise information systems have often been implemented using a portal hosted by one of the parties collaborating on particular activities, be it, for instance, an OEM portal for suppliers, or a distributor portal for retailers.

The problem is:

This approach has lead to significant inefficiencies, risks and inflexibilities as one of the parties is bearing all the costs of building, maintaining and operating the portal.

PaaS, and in particular BPM-as-a-Service can:

[…] deliver Multi-Enterprise Information Systems where each party can contribute to the development of the system, in essence mutualizing the development costs while offering superior integration capabilities with any party’s legacy systems and web based intranets applications.

In this new type of information system architecture, services exposed by the different parties become key elements of the new multi-enterprise solution.

He concludes:

"Cloud computing" takes its entire dimension when SaaS is also read as "Services-as-a-Software". Multi-Enterprise Information Systems is about making these services useful and valuable to any business, big or small.

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