Coming down the pike are more collaborative integration options, including Web services and solutions based on standards such as ebXML (e-business XML) and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration), which are already supported in SCM applications from CrossWorlds Software and others.
Developing best-practice collaborative "standards" will help bridge the information divide and enable SCM to reduce capacity forecasting errors, take the guesswork out of addressing customer expectations, and ultimately increase profitability.
Although SCM and collaborative commerce might build seemingly cozy relationships between the enterprise and its partners, the primary responsibility of the enterprise is still to its shareholders. Exchanging information with current trading partners is good, but your company should continue to keep an eye out for new partners down the road. By embracing open standards and maintaining flexibility, your enterprise stands the greatest chance of evolving to meet the demands of a rapidly changing marketplace.