Monday, July 14, 2008

Where do I put all my VRM stuff?

Today has been fascinating at the VRM Workshop. I held a session on Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) and Healthcare but wished I could be at some of the other concurrent sessions.

Health Care has some great use cases that can demonstrate the value of VRM.

After a stimulating dinner, in which conversations continued, it was time for a walk back to the hotel and a chance to contemplate some of the discussions of the day.

It struck me that there is one question I must ask tomorrow. First, some background for those of you not familiar with the concept of VRM, to set the scene.

VRM puts the consumer at the center of transactions whereas today we are often the outsiders. This is especially true in the health care sector where we often feel like the uninformed observer, yet we are the subject of the tests and treatment.

One of the discussions that came up today was about data portability. The efforts of the collective appears to be to enable data to move between different social media sites. This is different to VRM where it is considered that the consumer owns the information. This is not putting down the essential efforts of the group because VRM depends upon data portability to allow information to be moved from data custodians.

This does raise a significant question. Let's pre-suppose that we as consumers adopt VRM and it is another "cloud" service that we use.

What are the essential characteristics of our VRM data custodian? This is a logical and important question because the average user will not want to be bothered with the information management tasks that go with managing a critical information store.

  • So how do we determine the level of trust offered by our VRM data custodian?
  • Do we need different custodians for different types of data?
  • Does our medical VRM information need to be stored with a HIPPAA certified entity?
  • If we have multiple data custodians how is that different from today's situation?

Do we need a service mark for VRM data custodians? Could this be something that pushes forward the identity and data portability agenda's too?

If we could define the characteristics of a VRM data custodian then we could establish credentials and validation programs. The benefit of this approach might be to allow the existing established data stores, whether they are Google, Microsoft or other bricks and mortar vendors, to participate in VRM without shutting off the evolution to an ideal state. The credentials could enshrine the

Another benefit of this approach would be to allow some of the forward thinking organizations to participate in VRM more actively than would be the case if the essential data stores for VRM were outside their purview.

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