Covisint users want collaboration tools

Covisint LLC customers in Europe and Asia-Pacific want the automotive exchange to provide more collaboration tools on the exchange.

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"I would say we've seen incredible interest in Europe and in Asia-Pacific," said Alice Miles, Covisint senior vice president of global customer collaboration. "They are particularly interested in collaborative product development."

Suppliers in Europe and Asia-Pacific have begun using Covisint auction tools for procurement, an easy way to get started on Covisint, Miles said at the Management Briefing Seminars.

"We have a lot of pressure on us to bring forward collaborative product design, and I see Europe driving that as well as Asia-Pacific," she said.

Covisint has a Virtual Project Workspace where suppliers and automakers can share and revise project documents and engineering drawings. So far, 500 subscriptions to the service have been sold to suppliers and automakers, mostly in North America.

Miles also discussed how two Tier 1 suppliers, John-son Controls Inc. and Dana Corp., have developed their own private Internet exchanges.

Both Johnson Controls and Dana are involved actively in Covisint on the exchange's customer advisory council, she said.

Johnson Controls is developing three portals, one each for employees, customers and the supply base. Dana was the first Tier 1 supplier to begin developing its own supplier portal.

"We strongly believe that no exchange, no matter how good, just like Coke and Pepsi, will have 100 percent of all that industry's business," said John Waraniak, director of e-business speed at Johnson Controls. "You also will never have 100 percent of your data all in one place or one exchange. You will need a minimum of two."

Johnson Controls has automaker customers that probably will not use Covisint, or if they do, it will be minimal, Waraniak said. But the supplier also has customers that will use Covisint extensively, he said. So Johnson Controls has adopted a dual strategy, Waraniak said.

Steve Hanley, vice president of the System Integration Group at Dana, said Covisint at this point is not the catchall.

"But certainly it's something we will participate in," Hanley said. "We have other customers on a global basis that we want to make sure that we attend to. As long as that exists, we will use Covisint."

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