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About this Blog

As enterprise supply chains and consumer demand chains have beome globalized, they continue to inefficiently share information “one-up/one-down”. Profound "bullwhip effects" in the chains cause managers to scramble with inventory shortages and consumers attempting to understand product recalls, especially food safety recalls. Add to this the increasing usage of personal mobile devices by managers and consumers seeking real-time information about products, materials and ingredient sources. The popularity of mobile devices with consumers is inexorably tugging at enterprise IT departments to shifting to apps and services. But both consumer and enterprise data is a proprietary asset that must be selectively shared to be efficiently shared.

About Steve Holcombe

Unless otherwise noted, all content on this company blog site is authored by Steve Holcombe as President & CEO of Pardalis, Inc. More profile information: View Steve Holcombe's profile on LinkedIn

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Entries in enterprise (4)


The Roots of Common Point Authoring (CPA)

Common Point Authoring (CPA) is timely and relevant for amerliorating the fear factors revolving around data ownership. Those fears are multiplying from the every increasing usage of unique identification on the Internet as applied to both people (e.g., social security numbers) and products (e.g., unique electronic product numbers and RFID tags).

Q&A: What is an informational object?

Consider the electronic form of this document (the one you are reading right now) as an example of a informational object. Imagine that you are the author and owner of this informational object. Imagine that each paragraph of this object has a granular on/off switch that you control. Imagine being able to granularly control who sees which paragraph even as your informational object is electronically shared one-step, two-steps, three-steps, etc., down a supply chain with people or businesses you have never even heard of. Now further imagine being able to control the access to individual data elements within each of those paragraphs.

The methods for CPA were first envisioned in regards to transforming the authoring of paper-based material safety data sheets (MSDSs) in the chemical industry into a market-driven, electronic service provided by chemical manufacturers for their supply chain customers. You may think of MSDSs as a type of chemical pedigree document authored by chemical manufacturers and then handed down a multi-party supply chain as it follows the trading of the chemical.

At the time, we crunched some numbers and found that MSDSs offered as a globally accessible software service could be provided to downstream users for significantly less than what it cost them to handle paper MSDSs. But we further recognized that our business model for global software services wouldn’t work very well unless the fear factors revolving around MSDSs offered as a service were technologically addressed.

That is, we asked the question, “How can electronic information be granularly controlled by the original author (i.e., creator) as it is shared down a supply chain?”

When it comes to information sharing in multi-tenancies, the prior art (i.e., the prior patents and other published materials) to CPA at best refers to collaborative document editing systems where multiple parties share in the authoring of a single document. A good example of the prior art is found in a 1993 Xerox patent entitled 'Updating local copy of shared data in a collaborative system' (US Patent 5,220,657 - Xerox) covering:

“A multi-user collaborative system in which the contents as well as the current status of other user activity of a shared structured data object representing one or more related structured data objects in the form of data entries can be concurrently accessed by different users respectively at different workstations connected to a common link.”

By contrast, CPA's methods provide for the selective sharing of informational objects (and their respective data elements) without the necessity of any collaboration. More specifically, CPA provides the foundational methods for the creation and versioning of immutable data elements at a single location by an end-user (or a machine). Those data elements are accessible, linkable and otherwise usable with meta-data authorizations. This is especially important when it comes to overcoming the fear factors to the sharing of enterprise data, or allowing for the semantic search of enterprise data. To the right is a representation from Pardalis' parent patent, "Informational object authoring and distribution system" (US Patent 6,671,696), of a granular, author-controlled, structured informational object around which CPA's methods revolve.

That is, the critical means and functions of the Common Point Authoring™ system provide for user-centric authoring and registration of radically identified, immutable objects for further granular publication, by the choice of each author, among networked systems. The benefits of CPA include minimal, precise disclosures of personal and product identity data to networks fragmented by information silos and concerns over 'data ownership'.

When it comes to "electronic rights and transaction management", CPA's methods have further been distinguished from a significant patent held by Intertrust Technologies. See Methods for matching, selecting, narrowcasting, and/or classifying based on rights management and/or other information (US Patent 7,092,914 - Intertrust Technologies). By the way, in a 2004 announcement Microsoft Corp. agreed to take a comprehensive license to InterTrust's patent portfolio for a one-time payment of $440 million.

CPA's methods have been further distinguished worldwide from object-oriented, runtime efficiency IP held by these leaders in back-end, enterprise application integration: Method and system for network marshalling of interface pointers for remote procedure calls (US Patent 5,511,197 - Microsoft), Reuse of immutable objects during object creation (US Patent 6,438,560 - IBM), Method and software for processing data objects in business applications (US Patent 7,225,302 - SAP), and Method and system to protect electronic data objects from unauthorized access (US Patent 7,761,382 - Siemens).

For more information, see Pardalis' Global IP.


Membership policy announcement for the DOITCloud networking group

I initiated the Data Ownership in the Cloud™ (DOITCloud™) LinkedIn networking group in April 2009. Since that time it has grown to about 1,000 members. There have been some fantastic discussions, especially early on in 2009 and 2010. The membership has continued to grow since then but the long-threaded, multi-party discussions (see, e.g., Top Twelve Discussions: DOITCloud) have essentially ceased. Other comparatively similar forums have popped up in LinkedIn or elsewhere to provide a place for people to voice similar opinions and concerns. That's a good thing.

I come from a legal background with marketplace experiences regarding the sharing of "enterprise data" in fragmented supply chains. The Data Ownership in the Cloud group was generally begun by me to (a) learn more about the "personal data" space, and (b) find "birds of a feather". Both "data ownership" and "the Cloud" are amorphous terms by themselves. Even more so when stitched together. But I suspect that each DOITCloud member has at least a visceral feeling that the internet should be providing more choices to people and their "personal data". Or something like that. In any case, many of DOITCloud have become directly connected to me on LinkedIn. Thanks! I am so glad our paths crossed.

Again, the long-threaded discussions have ended though I almost every day post a discussion (almost always a link to blog posts or articles). I'm not posting those discussions with much of an expectation that a multi-party discussion will be sparked. I am using the group now mostly as a resource for cataloging relevant content. And that serves an important purpose for me that I am pleased to continue sharing with you.

However, I will soon be instituting a policy of a requiring a direct LinkedIn (LI) connection to me for membership in the DOITCloud group. If you are already directly connected to me then there's nothing else to do. If you are not yet directly connected to me on LI, and desire to remain a member of DOITCloud, then please send me an LI invitation to directly connect.

The content posted to the DOITCloud group will remain the same. I would characterize the content posted here at DOITCloud as mostly applicable to "personal data". I am also posting content relevant to "enterprise data" at another LI networking group I formed earlier this year called the @WholeChainCom™ networking group.

There is much rhetorical cross-over these days between "personal data" and "enterprise data" but enterprise data is - and in my opinion will long remain - different from personal data. Enterprise data is a proprietary asset that must be selectively shared to be efficiently shared. Greater trust and provenance in supply chains requires fixing (i.e., immutablizing) data elements at single locations with meta-data authorizations. (Want to know more?). So for the foreseeable future it makes sense that DOITCloud™ (addressing the sharing of personal data) and @WholeChainCom™ (addressing the sharing of enterprise data), remain separate "sister" groups.

I'll begin instituting the new membership policy on the 15th of December, 2012. If you do decide to not continue your DOITCloud membership I want to say this:

"Thank you for your time spent in the DOITCloud group. It's been fun. It's been informative. It's been relevant. I hope that we connect again later on down the road. Safe travels."

If you have any questions, comments or anything else on your mind that you think I should read, please post them here. Thanks, again.




The Tipping Point has Arrived: Trust and Provenance in Web Communications

By Steve Holcombe (@steve_holcombe) and Clive Boulton (@iC)

"The Web was originally conceived as a tool for researchers who trusted one another implicitly. We have been living with the consequences ever since." Sir Tim Berners-Lee

"One of the issues of social networking silos is that they have the data and I don't … There are no programmes that I can run on my computer which allow me to use all the data in each of the social networking systems that I use plus all the data in my calendar plus in my running map site, plus the data in my little fitness gadget and so on to really provide an excellent support to me." Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

The tipping point has arrived for trust and provenance in web communications. And it is not just because Tim Berners-Lee thinks it is a good idea. The control of immutable data in the Cloud by content providers is on the verge of moving out of research projects and into commercial platforms. The most visible, first-mover example known to us is provided by the Wikidata Project.

The rapidly emerging Wikidata Project, the next iteration of Wikipedia, will in its first phase (to be finished within the next 6 months) implement the deposit by content providers of data elements (e.g., someone's birth date) at a single, fixed location for supporting in Phase 2 (targeted to be completed by the end of 2012) the semantic relationships (i.e., ontologies) that Wikipedia users are seeking. Paul Allen's Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Google are two of the three primary benefactors of the Wikidata Project. And it is no surprise that the base of operations for this ground-breaking work is in Germany. The European Commission proposed in January, 2012 a comprehensive reform of data protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy.

This blog site exists to discuss whole chain communications between enterprises and consumers. Along that line the Wikipedia folks aren't really thinking about the Wikidata Project in terms of supply chains. But that is what they are backing into. Daniel Matuschek (@matuschd) would seem to agree in his blog post, Wikidata - some expectations. Here's an excerpt:

"Some ideas for open databases that could make our live easier or better [include] Product data: Almost every product has an EAN code. There are some companies building and selling databases for specific products (e.g. food, DVDs), sometimes generated with community support .... The Wikidata project is currently not addressing [this kind of database], but if a platform is available, there’s a good chance that users start creating databases like this."

And granular permissions (in the hands of content providers) over individual data elements are on Wikipedia's wish list to be introduced later this year during Phase 2:

  • O2.5. Add a more fine granular approach towards protecting single facts instead of merely the whole entity.
  • O2.6. Export trust and provenance information about the facts in Wikidata. Since the relevant standards are not defined yet, this should be done by closely monitoring the W3C Provenance WG.

We suspect that as the Wikidata Project begins to provide "trust and provenance" in its form of web communications, they will not just be granularizing single facts but also immutabilizing the data elements to which those facts are linked so that even the content providers of those data elements cannot change them. This is critical for trust and provenance in whole chain communications between supply chain participants who have never directly interacted.

What are the other signs of the "tipping point"?

Another sign is the shift to forecasting demand certainty directly from a consumer interest graph. Walmart purchased Kosmix in 2011 to push into social commerce and to integrate products with social identity. This ia an important new way to give shoppers information, and get information from them. Analysts at the research firm Booz and Company said in a 2010 report.

“Social media, or places where people congregate to share information and mutual understanding, are replacing broadcast media as the primary way many people learn about products and services.”

"Doc" Searls, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, and a former Fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, calls this a shift to the Intention Economy, Where Consumers Take Charge. Here is an excerpt from his May, 2012 publication:

Today, Walmart and Tesco and other global grocers have to wait for the checkout register to record a sale and pass the product sale information through a network of EDI processing to reforecast demand. Imagine the improvements when Walmart can see supply chain intent before the sale. Unlike Walmart, the FT calls Tesco tired.   

Indeed, Keith Teare on Tech Crunch posits Facebook's purchase of Instagram (and Google's falling earnings) signals the end of the Web 2.0 era. In the Web 2.0 era we consumed services on a web browser monetized by display ads. Now we are moving to a mobile app-centric world without desktop display ads. This is fertile ground for a shift into sharing at the identity and granular detail level via trust and provenance.

Does the Instagram purchase signal that Facebook will become a "trusted site" for granular information saved and shared in immutable objects? Facebook has to aggregate more and more data to build better services and makes its post IPO numbers. Will Facebook services come to provide W3C-type trust and provenance? We will see. But it is interesting to imagine that the Wikidata Project will be a "tipping point" for Facebook and other Web 2.0 providers toward granular trust and provenance in the Cloud.


What do you think? Share your conclusions and opinions by joining us at @WholeChainCom on LinkedIn at


Clive Boulton: Whole Chain Traceability, pulling a Kobayshi Maru


A little background information about how this presentation came to be ....

Clive Boulton made this timely, impressive presentation at a luncheon held in Stillwater, Oklahoma on 6 January 2012. Stillwater is where Oklahoma State University - lead research institution of the Whole Chain Traceability Consortium - is located. The pathway to Stillwater from the Seattle area began with the CCNx conference held at the Palo Alto Research Center in September, 2011. I attended CCNxCon to make one or more connections relevant to the Whole Chain Traceability Consortium. Clive wasn't physically at the conference but he was looking in from north of Seattle via a live audio/video stream. Clive heard me asking a question from the audience about possibly applying CCN to supply chain traceability needs in food safety. Like me, Cliive has a passion for food traceability and so he tweeted "Who's that?" to one of the CCNxCon managers. A Twitter introduction was made.

Clive is currently a co-organizer of the Seattle Google Technology User Group at GTUG - He has a "finger on the pulse" of technology developments in Seattle and Silicon Valley which he commonly blogs about at And Clive has specially blogged there about Pardalis' Common Point Authoring at

Clive is particularly interested in enterprise connected consumer solutions at web scale with polyglot technologies. Clive has opinions on how MSFT SQL Azure (or other "Big Data" databases) may be horizontally sharded (i.e., partitioned) with immutable informational objects for massive scalability. He is also very knowledgeable of the need to balance scalability against inherent latency issues that may result, for instance, in slow consumer access via mobile devices. And he has practical ideas about how to syngergistically leverage the resources and relationships of the Whole Chain Traceability Consortium for fostering an ecosystem of API development.

As a result of his visit to Stillwater, I am pleased announce that Clive will be serving as a consultant to the Whole Chain Traceability Consortium a/k/a @WholeChainTrace. This should make for a potent connection between the #CollabEnt (i.e., collaboration enterprise) of Clive's 20th slide and the increasingly critical need for real-time food traceability. Stay tuned.