The way of life has changed with the introduction of information and communication technologies (ICT) in every one’s day to day activities and the business. As ICT technologies are constantly evolving, many people attribute the success of enterprises to the ways they deploy and take advantage of new technologies, not only to make their operations more efficient but most importantly to refine and adopt new effective and adaptive business models. Since the advent of the Internet and the very first Internet service providers (ISP) in operation, the traditional ISP market has been in constant evolution due to the gradual globalisation and commoditisation of ISP services. Deregulation and ICT policies have fostered competition (e.g., unbundling of the local loop and so forth) as well. The Internet is as an important channel of interaction inside and/or outside enterprises. The essence of the Internet is conducting business and running of business processes over data communication networks based on nonproprietary standards (Porter, 2001). The World Wide Web as a portal represents a major electronic business (e-business) platform accessed through communication channels provisioned by network and service providers (such as ISDN, DSL, WLAN, UMTS, etc.). There are many challenging aspects of the e-Business that must be considered for a sustainable business of an ISP (Petrie et al., 2004).
Key Terms in this Chapter
VISP Enterprise Operating Mode (VE-Mode): In the VISP VE-mode, the cluster has a trade existence, that is, it is a registered trade organization with for instance a registration number, a VAT number, and so forth. All partners who are part of this virtual enterprise share the revenues of the enterprise based on the terms defined in the agreement. Partners are typically shareholders of the virtual enterprise.
VISP: (Virtual Internet Service Provider): A virtual enterprise constituting a consortium of partners, which are independent organizations to provide Internet services. Partners are independent because they have their own business objectives, and they run in separate administrative domains.
VISP Community Operating Mode (C-Mode): In VISP C-mode, each partner is the front-end towards its own customers and serves these customers with the help of other partners. The partner is the interface between the customer and the cluster that is used as a pool of resources for sub-contracting.
Cluster: A collaborative group of interdependent entities functioning as a single virtual business enterprise.
Ally: An entity whose products and/or services help to enhance the demand of the VISP business.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): ERP software attempts to integrate all functions of a company onto a single business process by automating the workflows so that the various different partners can more easily share information and communicates with each other. The ERP in the context of VISP is a virtual ERP with data sharing across ERPs of individual partners of VISP and is closed internally.
Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA): The SOA defines the concept and methodology for design, development, deployment, and management of a loosely-coupled business application infrastructure. In the context of VISP, SOA can be good framework to realise the virtual ERP, involving multiple independent ERP systems communicating across them in the form of service modules.