Work in today’s economic organisations is either performed through the execution of continuous operations or through the implementation of one-off projects; hence one can distinguish between “operation-centric” and “project-centric” business environments. New information and communication technologies facilitate the introduction of innovative organisational structures in both environments. Based on the term “virtual organisation”, which is used for describing the new organisational structures in operation-centric environments, we introduce the term “virtual consortium” for project-centric ones and provide an analysis of the business processes of a virtual consortium. We concentrate in the construction sector, as one of the most suitable application domains to test the new concept and related systems. Focusing on one of the most critical processes of a virtual consortium, the bidding/tendering process, we review the existing information systems over the Internet that support this process for construction projects. Our results show that although there are a substantial number of systems that support searching for call for tenders, few of them provide support for other vital items of the bidding/tendering process, such as robust collaboration facilities for the virtual consortium formation and for the management of the bid. We then present the SupplyPoint system, which has been developed in order to electronically support and automate the whole tendering/bidding process of virtual consortia. Supplypoint provides - in addition to what existing systems already do - a collaboration platform that facilitates, in a virtual manner, the formation of consortia.
Halaris, Christos; Bafoutsou, Georgia; Papavassiliou, George; and Mentzas, Gregory, "The Virtual Consortium: Processes and Systems in the Construction Sector" (2001). ECIS 2001 Proceedings. 44.