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Authors: Irene Lehto, Jan Hermes, Petri Ahokangas, Jenni Myllykoski

Category: research article

Keywords: Business Ecosystems, Value Networks, Organizational Collaboration, Cloud Computing Business.

Abstract: Cloud computing businesses are coined by broad and intense company collaboration. There is a growing need for clarification of the types of collaborative structures. In this conceptual paper, we draw on existing scientific discussions from the fields of value networks and business ecosystems and provide a typology of organisational collaboration concepts for the cloud computing business. By suggesting a distinction between Cloud Value Networks and Cloud Ecosystems this paper lays the foundation for a more precise scholarly discussion on organisational collaboration.

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Slinger Jansen
Slinger Jansen says:
Nov 20, 2013 08:03 AM

Associate Editor

The authors of the work must more clearly state its goals, the problem statement, and the research question. A more defined research plan makes it easier to establish a validation method for the end-products of the research as well.

The authors must specify their research method in more detail.

There is a systematic mapping study in the book mentioned by reviewer 2 that may serve as a source for inspiration as well.

Overall the paper is highly relevant, but the authors do make the mistake of not respecting the journal in full: a journal submission such as this one should be of a certain quality, which, with a small time investment into proof reading, is relatively low. We hope the authors take this into consideration and grow the paper in both size and quality.

We recommend that the authors process the comments and resubmit.

Reviewer 1

This paper aims to provide a typology of organizational collaboration concepts for cloud computing businesses. The paper suggests to distinguish between cloud value networks and cloud ecosystems, in order to lay the foundation for a more accurate academic discussion on organizational collaboration in cloud computing. A literature review on value networks and ecosystem is first provided, followed by a discussion and elaboration on the proposed cloud business typology. Finally, future research opportunities are discussed.


(+) The topic addressed is interesting, as a foundation for a more precise scholarly discussion on organizational collaboration within cloud businesses is needed.

(+) The authors present a clear distinction between cloud ecosystems and cloud value networks. The typology proposed in Table 2 is well described and easy to understand.

(-) The contribution of this paper is not clearly stated and remains vague. For instance, the authors state in the abstract that "There is a growing need for clarification of the types of collaborative structures." I agree with this statement and a typology for cloud businesses has hitherto been lacking. However, "A growing need" does not tell the reader in any way why this is necessary. In other words: the paper proposes a typology and elaborates upon the differences between value networks and ecosystems, but fails to explain why making such a distinction is so important. Why exactly do we need “a more precise scholarly discussion on organizational collaboration?” What are we doing wrong? Although to some readers this may be obvious, it is not explained and in my opinion it should be.

(-) The process on how the authors performed their literature review is insufficiently described. For instance: “An extent literature … and/or ‘business ecosystem’.” Where did the authors perform their searches? Google Scholar, Mendeley, or any others? Also, what do the authors consider to be a ‘seminal paper’ or contributions with ‘fundamental influence’? What makes something influential (e.g. citation count, date, …)? A thorough description of how literature review was conducted is most welcome. The same holds for the typology proposed. Was the typology reviewed or evaluated by experts? Were multiple academics, apart from just the authors, involved in refining the typology? Furthermore, what literature review method was used? Snowballing? Systematic literature review?

(-) Related to the point made above, no attention in the discussion section is paid to threats to validity of this research, in particular of the literature reviewing process. Did the authors encounter any hurdles while performing the literature review? Are there any limitations of the proposed typology?

(-) In multiple instances I had to read sentences two to three times to actually understand what the authors tried to convey. I also noticed multiple spelling mistakes and unnatural sentence constructions (e.g. “Unfortunately, the usage of the usage of the term has remained …”, “… have been based based on …”, “… the literature reveals …” ? literature review revealed?. In addition, although I really like the examples given by the authors of Content Cloud and FinnCloud, I recommend to try and embed them a bit more within the text. Right now it seems as if they are randomly placed in the text, without any announcement. They show up rather unexpectedly.


Overall, the above points have caused me to give the paper a neutral rating (i.e. neither positive or negative). As already elaborated upon in the points in favor or against described above, I welcome a typology for cloud businesses and underwrite the need for such a typology. However, the authors do not clearly explain why exactly this is necessary. In addition, the research approach is insufficiently explained. What technique is used during the literature review? How was the typology created (e.g. were any experts or other academics involved)? What are the limitations of this model? If the authors are able to address these issues, I think the paper will make a big step forward in terms of quality and contribution – leading to a positive rating.

I wish the authors best of luck with improving their paper and additional research efforts in the interesting domain of cloud software!

Reviewer 2

The paper presents a classification of organizational collaboration for cloud computing based on concepts from value networks and business ecosystems fields. The authors compare and contrast main concepts from value networks and business ecosystems to build a cloud business typology.

The paper addresses a very interesting topic - cloud computing business. The goal to draw a conceptual classification of cloud computing inspired on value networks and business ecosystems literature seems quite ambitious. However, the contribution is not well presented and clearly discussed. For instance, the authors should mention what procedure was adopted to conduct the literature review (systematic, ad-hoc?).In fact, it is not clear why the authors chose these two theoretical backgrounds. In this regard, I am very concerned that software ecosystem, which is a very relevant field that investigate technologies such as cloud computing, was not mentioned at all in the paper. I strongly recommend that the authors have a look on papers such as:

Jansen, S., Cusumano, M., Brinkkemper, S. Software Ecosystems: Analyzing and Managing Business Networks in the Software Industry. Edward Elgar Publishers, 350 pages, 2013.

Konstantinos Manikas, Klaus Marius Hansen, Software ecosystems – A systematic literature review, Journal of Systems and Software, Volume 86, Issue 5, May 2013

Lucassen, G., van Rooij, K., & Jansen, S. (2013) Ecosystem Health of Cloud PaaS Providers. Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Business. Berlin.

In the abstract, the authors state that "this paper lays the foundation for a more precise scholarly discussion on organizational collaboration". However, I do not believe that this rather ambitious promise was satisfactorily achieve by the paper. I recommend that simpler goals should be more appropriate here. In fact, I missed a more detailed discussion regarding the collaboration in cloud computing.

In Table 1, the comparison between concepts from business ecosystems and value networks seems very superficial. The arguments are not strongly discussed in the paper. The authors should provide a more precise and mature discussion of concepts from these fields as well as software ecosystems.

Section 3 presents the main contribution of the paper. However, it needs serious improvement. It is not clear what is the link between the description of Content Cloud, Finn Cloud and the rest of the text. This whole section is somehow disconnected. In addition, Table 2 is rather confusing and it does not express the concepts appropriately to draw any kind of conclusion.

Section 4 also needs improvement. Since this is supposed to be a conceptual paper, the authors should provide a more mature discussion. Future works should also be described.


- English needs some polishing. There are several sentences with problems such as: Page 2 "with a discussion on and exemplification of" " The extent literature",

- In Page 4, words are repeated in many sentences. The sentence "Exemplified by the content..." is quite confusing. There are several other sentences that could be rewritten in a more elegant and simpler way.

- A careful proof-reading is needed to improve the overall style of the text.

- Some references are incomplete. I also advise that papers from software ecosystems should be included.

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