The organic model is also likely to repeat in ecosystems that allow buyers and sellers to align, and business processes between and among them to flourish. The business-to-business (B2B) commerce cloud is now being built. Recent acquisitions, like IBM's buy of Cast Iron and intent to buy Sterling Commerce, point up the "business garden" goals of Big Blue. Cast Iron allows the cultivation of hybrid clouds, clouds of clouds and rich services integration. Sterling brings EDI-based networks into the fold.
IBM clearly likes the idea of playing match-maker between traditional and new business models. And this cloud garden party effect aligns perfectly with IBM's tendency to avoid providing packaged business applications in favor of the platforms, middleware, process enablement and collaboration capabilities that support others' discrete applications.
Last week's announcement then of a cloud collaboration partnership between IBM and Ariba furthers the emerging prominence of cloud commerce ecosystems. To encourage more ecommerce, the IBM-Ariba deal matches B2B buyers and sellers via LotusLive collaboration and social networking services, all through cloud delivery models.
The announcement came as a capstone to the Ariba Live 2010 conference in Orlando. [Disclosure: Ariba is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.] I had fun at the conference spouting off on cloud benefits, and tweeting up some of the mainstage events under #AribaLive.
Ariba plans to integrate its Ariba Commerce Cloud with IBM LotusLive to help buyers and sellers communicate and share information more fluidly and effectively, leading to faster, more confident business decisions, the companies said. Ariba plans to integrate IBM's LotusLive with Ariba Discovery, a web-based service that helps buyers and sellers find each other quickly and automatically helps match buyers' requirements to seller capabilities.
Both Ariba and IBM are recognizing the power and huge opportunity of being at the center of cloud-based commerce. And being at the center means allowing the participants to do the actual driving, to enable the community to seek and find natural partners via social interactions. We're likely to see the equivalent of app stores and social networks well up for B2B commerce, scaling both down and up, in the coming months and years.
"The successful combination of LotusLive and the Ariba Commerce Cloud will provide such a matchmaking comfort zone in which networks of partners, suppliers and customers can easily work together across company boundaries to help do their jobs more efficiently and cost-effectively, and perhaps even develop lasting relationships," said Sean Poulley, Vice President, IBM Cloud Collaboration, in a release.