As relationships form, their collaborative nature should be built into the governance structures used to formalize those relationships. Exostar is an independently incorporated enterprise formed to govern c-commerce activities among its members. Its stated mission is "to create an improved way of doing business through an Internet-enabled, secure marketplace that increases the efficiency of transactions and enhances collaboration across the supply chain and product life cycle." The creation of a legal entity to govern c-commerce efforts allowed members to build collaboration into Exostar's bylaws.
Numerous industries have launched other efforts to deploy shared software, sourcing services and e-commerce standards. For example, several companies, including IBM, formed Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) to create a directory of services and to help accelerate the acceptance of B2B e-commerce. UDDI hasn't formed a legal entity to institutionalize collaborative behavior, and with no governing structure in place, relationships among members could become less cohesive and destabilize.
For c-commerce to truly succeed on a grand scale, companies may need to rethink how they view their business partners, customers and competitors. Past reluctance to collaborate with competitors could stymie c-commerce efforts. In this new landscape, everyone is your partner. Formalizing these relationships takes time and commitment, but they will benefit entire industries beyond what any one company could accomplish.