The potential for the emergence of digital enterprise communities enabled by one or more intermediaries, termed eClusters, has been predicted from empirical research in business communities of SMEs in the UK. The role of intermediaries, which will be pivotal to the formation of eClusters, is examined in this paper and forms part of a wider research project into the nature of digital enterprise communities. One conceptualisation of the role of intermediaries is the provision of a Trust Platform. As with IT outsourcing generally it is large companies that have been early adopter of application service providers (ASPs) services with little penetration in the SME sector. It is the notion of community and emergent properties of an eCluster that could provide the ‘key’ to this market and lead to the formation of community-centric ASPs.
Lockett, Nigel J. and Brown, David H., "eClusters and the Role of Intermediaries in Enabling Digital Enterprise Communities of SMEs" (2000). AMCIS 2000 Proceedings. 69.