An enterprise in the twenty-first century can seldom stand alone any longer; instead, it usually needs to collaborate with its suppliers, partners, and customers on the value chain for a common goal. As the scales of enterprises grow larger and larger under the pressure of world-wide competition, the outsourcing model becomes an irrepressible trend. Instead of hiring people to do everything in house, an enterprise tends to outsource some tasks to other business entities to be more efficient, while performing the most competitive business services by itself. Meanwhile, instead of spending time to find end customers before starting a task, an enterprise also takes predefined tasks outsourced from other enterprises. Moreover, a modern business application is typically comprehensive enough to require broad specialties. While it is difficult for every single enterprise to possess a broad range of skill sets and products, it is more feasible that a set of enterprises each hold particular specialties (i.e., special services), while they together establish a virtual enterprise to provide high-quality products or services to the market sooner than what individual parties would have accomplished by their own. This kind of collaboration is different from traditional business collaboration, because it is usually project-based and service-based. As a result, not only does such a service-based value chain become more complex, but it is also usually formed dynamically instead of statically. On-demand business collaboration in a modern service-to-service value chain thus requires a more structured yet flexible collaboration adaptability.
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