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TrustCoM - an environment for trust, security and contract management in B2B collaborations

Many large European companies now use <acronym title="Enterprise Resource Planning">ERP</acronym> systems to manage not only their finances but also their relations with both the customers and suppliers. Electronic marketplaces are developing for the provision of goods and services by small and large companies. The rise of <acronym title="Service Oriented Architectures">SOA</acronym> using the technology of Web Services and the Grid provide a standard set of ICT tools that will open up these technologies to competitive and interoperating provision at the ICT level, and open competition between suppliers and consumers throughout business value chains. These open electronic marketplaces will support not only the establishment of long term joint ventures and business partnerships along supply chains, but more dynamic virtual organisations between SMEs and large corporations to flexibly create supply and value chains that recruit the required resources to quickly respond to market opportunities ahead of competition that does not such infrastructure.In order to automate supply chain management to take advantage of dynamic business opportunities it is necessary to mitigate the business risks to which all parties are exposed by providing:

  • supplier qualification information as a basis for selecting suppliers or business partners;
  • documented and transparent contractual relationships that define what all parties in the chain should do;
  • a secure infrastructure that both provides all required access to information and services between business partners, but also ensures that access is limited only to that required for the contracted business;
  • monitor the dynamic operation of the business processes in the value chain against those contracts to identify any failure to meet obligations as soon as they occur;
  • implement contractual terms and conditions as policies within the SOA infrastructure to act on such events to modify or reconfigure the interoperation of the organisations in the value chain in order to overcome problems.

TrustCoM has developed a framework for trust, security and contract management in dynamically evolving virtual organisations that will meet the needs of this situation and provide the basis of products and services. The provision of such a business infrastructure in the ICT market could be as an extension of existing ERP products, or as a service provided by network providers and telecoms companies. The TrustCoM framework will be delivered as an open source reference implementation building on public specifications. Validation will take place within industrial strength test-beds in the areas of collaborative design engineering (CE) and provision of ad-hoc, dynamic processes (ADP) for the on-demand provision aggregate electronic services. The TrustCoM team is formed as a consortium of end-users, technology and service providers, and experts in computing, economics and law, from industry, government and academia, who are actively involved in the development of technology and frameworks related to Virtual Organisations. The TrustCoM consortium is organised in two levels:

  • developers who have broad knowledge of both technological and research state-of-the art and are capable of blending together research innovation and materialising it into innovative ICT solutions. These are: ATOS ORIGIN sae, BAE SYSTEMS, BT, CCLRC, HLRS, IBM, Microsoft (EMIC), SAP, and SICS;
  • technical experts who are Academics and Research Institutes with sector specific expertise and will drive research innovation. These are: ETH, Imperial College, King’s College London, NRCCL, SINTEF, the University of Milano, and the University of Kent;