* Adapt and create predictability within large populations — Beyond adaptive integration is the visibility, management and measurement of the effectiveness of the ecosystem. Trading partner management, for instance, is a good first step.
* Adapt to virtual community diversity — The final element of adaptation is related specifically to the diversity, rather than size, of the community. The ecosystem as a multi-enterprise environment creates a very diverse community where a specific destination (partner) may, in fact, identify itself with a completely separate ecosystem. The ability to effectively interact with that partner around areas of commonality (typically order-to-cash sales and fulfillment) is critical to success. To do so, the vendor partner must have the ability to provide seamless adaptation to the rules and governance of multiple ecosystems simultaneously. This means robust protocols, translation, security strategies, standards compliance and multiple approaches to solution distribution, community development excellence and business process management with effective levels of persistence.
To understand the elements of the multi-enterprise supply chain ecosystem is to understand the complex web of many-to-many that the business world has become. There is great value in harnessing the power of these ecosystems to drive growth and efficiency in a business. Applying ecosystem principles will help the business master this "chain of chains" rather than be part of a "chain of fools."
About the Author: Jim Hendrickson is vice president of Corporate Development for Sterling Commerce, a subsidiary of SBC Communications and a global provider of business integration solutions. Hendrickson is responsible for strategy, business development, corporate intelligence, and standards and strategic technology. During his tenure at Sterling Commerce, he also has held positions running Product Management and one of Sterling Commerce's product lines.
Prior to joining Sterling Commerce, Hendrickson was a senior managing director, Strategic Initiatives for one of the top five financial institutions in the United States. Working with the investment management company of the bank, he worked closely with the business units to provide technology strategy and planning in support of corporate growth.
Hendrickson also has been a professional services consultant focusing on supply chain management, integrated inventory management and large enterprise application integration. In addition, he has worked in the defense and aerospace industry where he focused on large, integrated, worldwide systems integration and served as a medical service officer in the Army attaining the rank of captain.
Hendrickson is on the curriculum advisory board of Columbus State Community College, in Columbus, Ohio, and has served on the business advisory boards of Intraware Corporation of Orinda, Calif., Document Finishing, LLC of Indianapolis, and the Armada Group in Columbus, Ohio.