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Designing a Hybrid Cloud for a Supply Chain Network of Industry 4.0: A Theoretical Framework


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Purpose Supply chain is the area that requires effective and integrated means of communication, shared risk, collaboration and orchestration in order to work successfully and the cloud computing has lot to offer to this domain. Cloud computing has appeared as a modern paradigm in supply chain networks for creating intelligent industries of future. The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework that can transform supply chain stakeholders toward Industry 4.0. Design/methodology/approach Cloud computing is attributed with increasing competitiveness by focusing on cost reduction, greater elasticity, flexibility and maximum utilization of resources which results in successfully achieving business goals. This paper proposes a Hybrid Supply Chain Cloud model, which integrates the infrastructure, the resources and the configurations of platforms. Findings This research paper is aimed at proposing a hybrid cloud that essentially helps in integrating the supply chain network with the flexibility and efficiency. It is important that a supply chain network adds value to ensure customer satisfaction and this can be best achieved by collaborating it with hybrid cloud. Research limitations/implications This research provides a consistent central management and comprehensive view of all computing resources, which gives organizations the knowledge they need to optimize workload placement. Practical implications The findings derived from this research aim to facilitate policy makers and practitioners to develop effective courses of action in current and future supply chain management. Therefore, upon implementation, this model can provide long-term benefits for the organizations by improving the overall efficiency of its supply chain network. Originality/value The proposed hybrid cloud will provide deep level of integration in Industry 4.0 situation and thereby brought up portable comprehensive infrastructure based on resources and required configuration in real-time environment.
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Benchmarking: An International Journal
Designing a hybrid cloud for a supply chain network of Industry 4.0: a theoretical
Balan Sundarakani, Rukshanda Kamran, Piyush Maheshwari, Vipul Jain,
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Balan Sundarakani, Rukshanda Kamran, Piyush Maheshwari, Vipul Jain, (2019) "Designing a
hybrid cloud for a supply chain network of Industry 4.0: a theoretical framework", Benchmarking: An
International Journal,
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Designing a hybrid cloud for a
supply chain network of Industry
4.0: a theoretical framework
Balan Sundarakani
Faculty of Business, University of Wollongong Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Rukshanda Kamran
Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology University,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Piyush Maheshwari
Department of Engineering, Amity University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and
Vipul Jain
Victoria Business School, Victoria University of Wellington,
Wellington, New Zealand
Purpose Supply chain is the area that requires effective and integrated means of communication, shared
risk, collaboration and orchestration in order to work successfully and the cloud computing has lot to offer to
this domain. Cloud computing has appeared as a modern paradigm in supply chain networks for creating
intelligent industries of future. The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework that can transform
supply chain stakeholders toward Industry 4.0.
Design/methodology/approach Cloud computing is attributed with increasing competitiveness by
focusing on cost reduction, greater elasticity, flexibility and maximum utilization of resources which results in
successfully achieving business goals. This paper proposes a Hybrid Supply Chain Cloud model, which
integrates the infrastructure, the resources and the configurations of platforms.
Findings This research paper is aimed at proposing a hybrid cloud that essentially helps in integrating the
supply chain network with the flexibility and efficiency. It is important that a supply chain network adds
value to ensure customer satisfaction and this can be best achieved by collaborating it with hybrid cloud.
Research limitations/implications This research provides a consistent central management and
comprehensive view of all computing resources, which gives organizations the knowledge they need to
optimize workload placement.
Practical implications The findings derived from this research aim to facilitate policy makers and
practitioners to develop effective courses of action in current and future supply chain management.
Therefore, upon implementation, this model can provide long-term benefits for the organizations by
improving the overall efficiency of its supply chain network.
Originality/value The proposed hybrid cloud will provide deep level of integration in Industry 4.0
situation and thereby brought up portable comprehensive infrastructure based on resources and required
configuration in real-time environment.
Keywords Supply chain network, Industry 4.0, Hybrid Supply Chain Cloud, Public cloud, Private cloud
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Cloud computing is an inventive view that empowers the conveyance of nimble, financially
savvy and versatile solutions to business associations and people. It encourages the
customers to execute their applications and store information at third-party possessed
servers (Bayramusta and Nasir, 2016). Business associations are quickly receiving the idea
of cloud computing because of its critical focal points, for example, versatility, universal
openness, accessibility, sensibility and savvy pay-per-utilize charging models.
Cloud service providers (CSPs) offer heterogeneous administrations using variety of
service models and deployment models. The most popular three service models are Software
Benchmarking: An International
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/BIJ-04-2018-0109
Received 26 April 2018
Revised 12 June 2018
12 November 2018
Accepted 18 November 2018
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Supply chain
network of
Industry 4.0
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as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) that
use deployment models such as public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud and community
cloud as reported by Satapathy et al. (2016) and (2018). Open cloud
foundation is overseen and worked by the CSP. It is offered to an extensive variety of
enlisted clients. The public cloud allows systems and services to be easily accessible to the
general public, while a private cloud allows systems and services to be accessible within an
organization. It offers increased security because of its private nature (Orabona, 2016).
Different from the public cloud, the private cloud has a place solely with a solitary customer.
The community cloud allows systems and services to be accessible by group of
organizations. Hybrid cloud is the blend of various deployment models (private, public or
community) to make a tweaked arrangement in light of the necessities of a business; the
critical activities are performed using private cloud while the non-critical activities are
performed using public cloud. Aral et al. (2010) reported that to try different things, and send
outer specialized arrangements without trading off cloud-based services offer good degree
of operational proficiency. As a result, using pay-per-use model and interoperability models,
all cloud-based solutions are picking up prevalence in businesses.
A hybrid cloud is the blend of public and private mists that are modified to suit
particular business prerequisites. Insignificantly, a hybrid cloud computing system
consists of at least a private cloud and a public cloud. In the meantime, numerous private
and public clouds can be joined to match with business goals (, 2018).
The most appropriate cloud organization shows for supply chain networks is a crossover
cloud that gives the best benefits of privateandopenclouds.Asrightlypredictedby
Gartner Inc., 2016 turned out to be a defining year for cloud, as private clouds made way
for hybrid clouds, and many large enterprises have now moved to hybrid cloud
deployments in 2017.
This paper proceeds in the following manner. The next section reviews the literature on
supply chain leading to identify the researchgapanddefiningtheproblemstatement.
The third section presents the proposed Hybrid Supply Chain Cloud (HSCC) model with
the discussion on the key benefits of adopting this model; the fourth section presents a
brief look on cloud integration tools and platform. The model application based on a
healthcare supply chain case study is discussed in the fifth section, and the final section
presents the conclusions.
2. Literature review
2.1 Cloud platform for supply chain management
Supply chains and information systems (IS) both depict the stream and development of
materials and data by connecting businesses together to serve the end-client. As indicated
by Singh and Teng (2016), systemdepicts a more perplexing structure, where businesses
can be cross-connected and there are two-route trades between them, whereas chain
portrays a less difficult, consecutive arrangement of connections. Inventory network
arrange encourages associations to recognize the benefit of cooperating to guarantee the
fulfillment of the end-client as characterized by Slack et al. (1997).
The notion of applying cloud computing to supply chain network environment of both
B2B and B2C cases has been growing due to surge in demand as reported by Wu et al. (2013)
and Mishra et al. (2018). Theoretically, supply chain network integrated on cloud will be
facilitating the critical processes such as supply chain planning, purchase orders, tracking
and monitoring, delivery, etc., and at the same time the overall efficiency of the processes
will also be enhanced (, 2015). Cloud-based technology is more
effective in comparison to the traditional means of data as it facilitates sharing of
information much easier and faster (Ross et al., 2012).
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Literature in the field of cloud in SCNs is still in nascent stage. One of the early research
studies on cloud computing in operational performance was reported by Cámara et al. (2015),
which suggested that significant relationship exists between supply chain integration and
operational performance among Spanish firms. However, the study was empirical in nature.
Although Jede and Teuteberg (2015) reported a review paper on cloud integration in supply
chain processes, significant articles of the paper were based on IS in supply chain rather
than focusing on specifically cloud-based implementation. Interestingly in the same year,
Singh et al. (2015) conducted a study of cloud impact in beef supply chain in order to reduce
the carbon footprint across the SCNs.
From theory point of view, much debated innovation diffusion theory seemed to have
more influence on cloud computing application in SCNs (Wu et al., 2013); however, the
results vary of findings. In reality firms desire to adopt certain information technology is
often financial driven. Hence, cloud services are expected to provide exponential benefits
toward its adoption level along with other modern technologies, as per MacDougall (2014).
However, for SMEs, benefits of in-house developed best-in-class systems preferred as their
competitive pressure are lesser (Tarhini et al., 2018). As highlighted by Singh and Teng
(2016) in their research, trust plays vital role for technology integration in a collaborative
supply chain network environment. Because SMEs are more vulnerable to risks and
competition, their adoption toward seemingly integrated cloud computing aspects is less
influenced. Nevertheless, for multi-national companies these cloud-based solutions are boon
because of global integration and service offering. Hence, the following section discusses the
merits of the hybrid cloud solutions in detail (Figure 1).
2.2 Cloud in Industry 4.0
Tjahjono et al. (2017) defined that The term Industry 4.0was used to create a paradigm
shift in manufacturing and supply processes with the aid of all soft of Internet of Things
(IOT) in order to enable the fourth industrial revolution(pp. 1175). Therefore, the vision of
Industry 4.0 highlights networks of machines in a smart factory setting capable of
autonomously exchanging information and controlling each other in a smart way for that
cloud computing and Big Data aid for greater efficiency and responsiveness(Zhong et al.,
2017). Recent developments in the field of Industry 4.0 have led to a renewed interest in
exploring the impact new business models have on supply chain transformation for
unparalleled performance. So far, however, there has been little discussion about how
digitization makes supply chain more efficient (Schrauf and Berttram, 2016; Tjahjono et al.,
2017; Zhong et al., 2017), none of the articles reviewed here examined how would a hybrid
cloud be beneficial to supply chain networks.
Supplier Customer
Cloud in Supply Chain
Figure 1.
Cloud in supply chain
networks environment
Supply chain
network of
Industry 4.0
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2.3 Research gap
Despite all these benefits, literature showing integration and incorporation of cloud in an
integrated supply chain networks found to be minimal. Table I captures some key research
articles that are published in the field of engineering, management and businesses.
However, much of the research studies up to now have been descriptive, qualitative and
empirical-based studies (Alshahrani et al., 2018; Tjahjono et al., 2017; Salam and Salam,
2017; Bayramusta and Nasir, 2016; Mishra et al., 2018).
In the current scenario the use of cloud-based technology in the manufacturing
operations is limited to fewer functions, such as production planning and scheduling,
quality management, safety and health, environmental and operations intelligence (Tu,
2018). One of the main challenges of cloud-based technology in relation to global supply
chain is black holealso known as information gaps (Supply and Demand Chain Executive,
2015). As reported by Bayramusta and Nasir (2016) and Doherty et al. (2015), there exists
lack of research and therefore warrant for framework-based design to transform businesses
in fourth-generation industrial processes.
2.4 Problem statement
Hybrid cloud based arrangements give solid combination between the procedures associated
within the network system of any businesses. However, unearthing any concealed supply
chain processes of supply, manufacturing, distribution, warehousing and customer order
replenishment would warrant for a smarter, transparent, digitized supply chain execution for
effective and efficient outcome. This modernization requires more control on information
administration arrangements, in order to realize much anticipated fourth industrial revolution.
While then again a few applications do not require any abnormal state of security safeguard.
By seamlessly integrating the public and private cloud, modern organizations associations
can get the flexibility to create competitive advantage in order to sustain future businesses. In
this roadmap, this research proposes a novel HSCC model and implements the proposed
model in a healthcare supply chain environment as follows.
3. The proposed Hybrid Supply Chain Cloud model
The researchers develop and propose a novel hybrid cloud based model addressing
the supply chain issues for the successful implementation in the modern corporate
world (Figure 2).
3.1 Key components of the Hybrid Supply Chain Cloud (HSCC) model
3.1.1 Hybrid SaaS. According to Armbrust et al. (2015), SaaS is software that is deployed
over the internet. A SaaS vendor licenses an application to customers either by subscription
or as a service on demand following pay-as-you-gomodel. Figure 3 exhibits the proposed
hybrid SaaS architecture which provides an integrated module with the flexibility of
offering customized solutions. Security aspects are always kept in view as they form the
most integral component of the hybrid SaaS processes. Because of the integrated approach,
the storage and network resources provide evidences those may be accessed across public
and private clouds (Dominy and Jacobson, 2012).
The hybrid SaaS enables the following business processes seamlessly:
administrative module will provide control panel which consists of tenant
provisioning, licensing, metering, billing, data backup, exception handling, event
notification, load balancing and work flow management services to the consumers;
security module will allow consumer to manage user management, role or privilege
management, logging, application monitoring;
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Author Title
method Research objectives Major research findings Identified research gaps
Tu (2018) An exploratory study of
Internet of Things (IoT)
adoption intention in logistics
and supply chain management:
a mixed research approach
method of
The study aimed to explore the
recent development and
technological adoption happened
in the field of logistics and supply
chain across industries of
Taiwanese firms
The key findings reported are
perceived benefits, perceived
costs and external pressure that
are significant determinants to
IoT adoption
However, these results were
based on data obtained from over
317 Taiwanese firms
Around 130 responses were
considered for the analysis; such
sample size affects the parameter
estimates of the research model
et al. (2018)
Hospitalsupplier integration
and hospital performance:
evidence from Saudi Arabia
Case study The research develops a
comprehensive conceptual model
for the impact of hospital
supplier integration to measure
the performance of healthcare
Results collected from 498 public
and private hospitals in Saudi
Arabia indicate that the hospital
supplier integration has a positive
impact on the hospital
The research calls for future
research to validate the model in a
different context which may have
different healthcare
characteristics with the
governance model
et al. (2017)
What does Industry 4.0 mean
to supply chain?
It studies the implementation of
technologies involved in Industry
4.0 within the supply chain
framework, particularly the
warehouse, transport logistics,
procurement and fulfillment
Industry 4.0 shows that 71.43% of
opportunities are expected in the
near future for the Big Data
analytics, cloud technology, cyber
security, the IoT and drones-like
The research calls for further
examination based on empirical
research and implementation
Salam and
Salam (2017)
The mediating role of supply
chain collaboration on the
relationship between
technology, trust and
operational performance: an
empirical investigation
An empirical study on SEM to
understand the link between trust,
technology and supply chain
collaboration and their impact on
firmsoperational performances
Around 181 completed survey
results were collected from across
the fast-moving consumer goods
(FMCG) companies represented in
Thailand. SEM analysis was
carried out to test the results
The research was limited to the
data obtained from a single
economy, which restricts its
generalizability across other
economies. Thus, the research
suggests for a longitudinal case
study in future
Mishra et al.
Big Data and supply chain
management: a review and
bibliometric analysis
review +
The research aims to review Big
Data related cloud application in
supply chain management and
thus conducted citation analysis
A comprehensive review
performed over 286 articles
published in the last decade was
evaluated by using a
bibliographic-based meta-analysis
The research suggests for better
conceptualization and
architectural design for the Big
Data environment
(continued )
Table I.
Identification of the
research gap
Supply chain
network of
Industry 4.0
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Author Title
method Research objectives Major research findings Identified research gaps
and Nasir
A fad or future of IT?: a
comprehensive literature
review on the cloud computing
The research aims to examine the
evolution of cloud computing
literature through a content
analysis of articles, which were
published between 2009 and 2014.
So there exists a need for research
after 2014
Theme analysis is performed to
understand the cloud application
in various engineering and
technical journals and it was
found to be around 19% in them
The research highlights that
majority of the existing cloud
research studies were in
engineering and information
systems journals and thus calls
for the research in business and
management journals
et al. (2015)
Migrating to the cloud:
examining the drivers and
barriers to adoption of cloud
computing by SMEs in Ireland:
an exploratory study
The purpose of this research is to
examine the drivers and barriers
of cloud computing adoption
among the SMEs in Ireland
The research was based on an
online questionnaire, distributed
by e-mail to 1,500 SMEs in Ireland
and has a sample of 95 usable
responses which were analyzed
for findings
Identified gaps in this research
are the qualitative research
suggestion and call for larger
sample collection and thus to
have a deeper analysis by an
architectural framework
Table I.
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integration module will provide consumers with the ability to switch the applications
from private to public cloud depending on the business requirements;
data access module will control more secure data flow from data storage to the
applications as per authentication level; and
configuration and application management module will provide an interface to
control configuration and application instances where a consumer can add or update
modules on fly.
3.1.2 Hybrid PaaS layer for both the public and private clouds. According to Youseff et al.
(2008), the standard architecture of a cloud, PaaS, carries out its function beneath SaaS layer
and on top of contemporary technologies based on virtualization technology and IaaS layer.
Hybrid PaaS shown in Figure 4 provides developer a self-service portal for managing
computing infrastructure from centralized API operations to the platforms that are installed
on top of the hardware.
The following are the main functions provided by hybrid PaaS layer:
Hybrid PaaS will provide an integrated development environment to develop, test,
deploy, host and maintain applications. This will help the enterprise to focus more on
Data Access
Hybrid SaaS Architecture
Module Figure 3.
Hybrid SaaS
Hybrid Supply Chain Cloud (HSCC) Model
Hybrid Cloud Management Platform
Public Cloud Private Cloud
Hybrid SaaS
Hybrid PaaS
Hybrid IaaS
Figure 2.
The Hybrid Supply
Chain Cloud model
Supply chain
network of
Industry 4.0
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the business development rather than looking for best hybrid integration vendors to
meet their business models.
Process from creation, modification, testing to deployment will become easier to
handle by providing web-based user interface creation tools.
Hybrid PaaS will provide a true multitenant architecture which will offer a strong
platform to multiple concurrent users to keep them constantly evolving and updated
with the latest developments.
Scalability is one of the important features of the hybrid PaaS which will help in load
balancing and disaster recovery.
Hybrid PaaS will provide a standard integration platform to manage a secure
on-demand communication between web services and databases.
System developers usually work in the form of teams and carry different level of
controls as per provided tasks. Hybrid PaaS will provide a role-based control starting
from early development, testing, staging and to finally production deployment of an
Hybrid PaaS component will have ability to continuously monitor the system to
check the status of the application. This will help to secure and manage the system
more efficiently.
Hybrid PaaS will be beneficial as it automates the business policies, and helps
migrate apps to hybrid model.
3.1.3 Hybrid IaaS layer for both the public and private clouds. IaaS is a self-service-based
virtual model meant for delivering cloud computing resources such as remote storage,
servers, the integral parts and various other services based on the network, virtualization
and operating systems. Instead of purchasing cloud computing resources, clients rent these
resources depending on their business demand.
Figure 5 illustrates a hybrid IaaS, which integrates the IaaS layers of both public and
private clouds in order to provide the best of both the worlds. The following key
functionalities will be achieved by Hybrid IaaS.
Major functions of such hybrid IaaS are listed as follows:
hybrid IaaS is a self-service provisioning or cloud self-service that provides
consumers to set up and launch applications and services without direct intervention
of the service provider;
with the help of remote geographical support consumers can get and manage
services easily;
Hybrid PaaS Manager API (Connector)
Standard API for
the development and
Application state
Web-based UI
Role-Based Access
and Team
Security and policy-based
Figure 4.
Hybrid PaaS manager
API (connector)
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one of the major benefits provided by hybrid IaaS is that resources such as hardware,
the operating system and automation can be automatically scaled up or down to
support a huge number of workloads; and
single platform will allow easy resource monitoring and security issues.
3.1.4 Hybrid cloud management platform. Hybrid cloud management platform has the
capability of managing all the activities including the environments to monitor,
control and share the necessary information seamlessly through a central console as
shown in Figure 6. In a complex supply chain network, such platform provides enormous
benefits as they trigger alerts, enables billing, monitors authentication and assesses
performance monitoring.
Due to the surge in data and information, Industry 4.0 makes future supply chain processes
far more complex and thus the need for such hybrid platform. Other major actions are:
the platform will facilitate the consumer through smart backup recovery option
which will automatically take the backup of the applications running in the cloud as
per business requirements;
the consumer can take necessary prevention or correction actions along with on-time
allocation of the server management with the help of system alerts;
the tool of performance monitoring will timely monitor and manage applications
running to ensure the success of the model;
billing management tool will specify the consumer with the information regarding the
usage, costs and a revoking alert when the allocated budget is 98 percent consumed; and
restricted application and sensitive data in hybrid environment must be controlled
using a centralized authentication management tool to ensure the security concerns.
Hybrid IaaS Manager API (Connector)
Monitoring Security Load balancing Figure 5.
Hybrid IaaS manager
API (connector)
Hybrid Cloud Management Platform
Smart Backup
governance Figure 6.
Hybrid cloud
management platform
Supply chain
network of
Industry 4.0
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3.2 Key benefits of the Hybrid Supply Chain Cloud
Potential benefits of the proposed framework in a dynamic supply chain are multifold. An
economic step change is a result of the integration of resources and technology. The fourth
industrial revolution is gathering steam with the development in the Internet of Things (IoT)
such as automation and the robotics. When combined with the Big Data and analytics, these
technologies are the key elements in the new industrial revolution which is commonly
known as Industry 4.0 as debated by Zhong et al. (2017).
According to Schrauf and Berttram (2016), Industry 4.0 does not only change the way in
which we manage and produce the supply chain, but also opens the gate of creating new value
chains. Implementation of cloud technology allows the persistent data flow, which is
fundamental aspect of Industry 4.0. Cloud-based technologies employ the analytical
capabilities which are the key to utilize the immense amount of data of the value drivers of
Industry 4.0 (MacDougall, 2014). With the advancement in the technology, the connected
supply chain will be the focus of operational excellence in any of the Industry 4.0 strategies.
Immense increase in the complexity of supply chain requires the incessant management of
physical data flow on the digital platforms due to which the concept of orchestration, which is
the coordination, automated arrangement and management of complex systems, is applied to
the supply chain. Implementations of proposed HSCC model enables supply chain structure to
be more flexible and scalable, and provides the better and healthy resources in order to handle
the dynamics, therefore, making it ideal and sustainable for growth. Moreover, it will help in
creating the unified global networks as a response to the needs of consumers as follows.
4. Cloud integration tools and platform
Based on verities of integration technologies available, different patterns of integrations are
created providing strength and adding new dimension toward hybrid cloud based solutions.
The following are the different types of integration patterns:
(1) application integration based on an enterprise service bus;
(2) B2B integration based on a B2B service; and
(3) data integration technologies.
4.1 Cloud-based integration (CBI)
CBI also called as IPaaS is identified as a multitenant integration service which runs in the
cloud and delivers services like data mapping, data synchronization, service-oriented
architecture (SOA) and application integration between cloud to cloud or cloud and on-premises
business applications. Integration between the clouds can be achieved by cloud integration
stack. Technologies such as cloud computing, IoT, SOA, cyber-physical systems and Big Data
analytics form together intelligent supply chain service systems in the context of Industry 4.0
(Zhong et al., 2017). According to Zhong et al. (2017), future implementation of effective
cloud-based solutions can scale-up on demand-based B2B services in the Industry 4.0 era.
4.2 The cloud integration stack
4.2.1 IaaS layer integration hybrid IaaS. IaaS layer is the lowest layer in the cloud
integration stack, which controls the integrations of resources such as storage servers,
networks and virtual machines. Hybrid IaaS layer provides standardized environment by
provisioning resources for the services to be delivered at PaaS and SaaS in a hybrid cloud
based solution. The integration can be achieved by the usage of technologies like cloud
bridges, cloud gateways and cloud brokers.
4.2.2 PaaS layer integration hybrid PaaS. PaaS integration layer is more like a specific
and specialized field as compared to IaaS integration of layers. PaaS has to do a lot with the
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middleware services to be offered by the server of any database. The integration in PaaS
may be acquired through using the pattern abstraction instead of servers and storage which
are not of that level.
4.2.3 SaaS layer integrationhybrid SaaS. SaaS integration layer should appear on the
upper layer of the cloud-based integration in order to offer an application setup within the
data center. Exchange of data among various services and applications of the system is the
real challenge involved in the system (Sharma, 2015). Therefore, to facilitate integration,
these SaaS vendors would offer a number of connectors or adaptors; the examples are from
Dell, Red Hat and IBM (Cast Iron) as captured in Table II (Figure 7).
5. Model application
5.1 Healthcare supply chain case study
The model has the capability of getting adopted as per the individual business requirements.
Here the model is presented specifically related to healthcare services and organization.
Modern healthcare supply chain network has enormous competence and information
communication seemed to be much more sophisticated due to application of ERP systems.
However, the aspects of end-to-end integration have been nascent, where organizations
need to keep the processes of ordering and delivering supplies as lean and as visible as
possible. According to the CEO of Aetna, the health care system wastes more than $765bn
each year thats 30 percent of our health care spending(Bertolini, 2014).
Name of the
technology Strengths Examples
Open source and easily accessible
Same API can be ordered to communicate to
different cloud providers on the IaaS layer
Majority of cloud providers support abstract
Apache jclouds
net (2018)
Interconnects clouds with the data center despite
being separated by multiple networks, switches or
even physical location
High order integration between clouds
Citrix CloudBridge Youseff et al.
(2008) and
Armbrust et al.
More collaborative features
Integrates more seamlessly with IaaS
Acts as transition point between two
Single point of control in the data center
Emulex and
Industry 4.0
(2014) and
et al. (2016)
A cloud broker provides the following capabilities:
A cloud broker provides a single interface
through which you can manage multiple clouds
and share resources across clouds
Single interface for interacting with multiple
It operates outside of the clouds it controls and
monitors those clouds
It detects cloud failures and reacts in some
appropriate way to those failures
It can move infrastructure elements from one
cloud (public or private) to another
It promotes transactional solution approach for
Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing
GXS: delivers global B2B
e-commerce integration
BOOMI: provides
solutions for Salesforce
Appregatta: offers cloud-
based technology
solutions to mid-sized
and enterprise companies
APPIRIO: a cloud
solution provider offering
solutions using, Amazon,
Google specializes in
Sharma (2015)
and Reich
Table II.
IaaS integration tools
Supply chain
network of
Industry 4.0
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Despite many vendors claiming to provide efficient healthcare solutions by streamlining
and integrating the processes, most are still unable to offer seamless integrated solution.
There are five major stakeholders in the healthcare industry, namely the producers, the
purchasers, the service providers, the financial intermediaries and the customers. Like in
many other industry verticals, the importance of cloud-based healthcare solutions is also
rising due to return on investment. In the earlier years, their adoption was held back by
regulatory initiatives and security concerns. The cloud computing market in healthcare has
grown significantly as per Reportlinker (2012). Healthcare industry is not the same what
was one decade ago; much has changed in terms of research, healthcare practices, role of
doctors in the setup and role of paramedics in their day-to-day operational efficiency.
5.2 A typical use case scenario
In Figure 8, we present a typical scenario of data flows in a cloud-based healthcare system,
where patients, doctors, pharmacists and labs are some of the key actors. The patient wears
a set of monitoring devices to collect health-related data and information on the activities
during sleep and wake-up hours. A typical monitoring device can be a smart sensor (e.g.
RFID tag, smart watch, etc.) that can be placed on the patients body. Depending on the
criticalness of the disease, such devices, sensors or tags can also be applied as tiny patches.
These patches can be implanted in the body or skin or can be easily hidden in patients
clothes. This set of wearable sensors can create a wireless network of wearable computing
devices or commonly known as a wireless body area sensor network. Through gateway
devices such as the wireless personal area network, it is now possible to connect the
wearable devices on the human body to the internet. Doctors can have online access to
patients activity data. Using the EHR system, activity data can be uploaded from the users
front end (monitoring devices) and hosted on the clouds EHR application back-end. Other
patient records such as X-rays and various scans can also be uploaded in patients medical
electronic records. These records can be easily shared via cloud technologies by the
doctors using the internet access. Saved patientsdata can be easily shared 24×7
between the doctors, specialists and hospitals on demand, enabling faster diagnosis and
recommendations. The health professionals and service providers can offer much improved
patient care and future monitoring by accessing the stored patient data.
If an overseas traveler falls ill, the concerned patient could provide local doctors real-time
access to his/her health records, and get an immediate treatment without going for
expensive repeated medical tests. The medical prescription can also be made available to a
SaaS Integrations Tools
Third-party tools –from Dell (Boomi), MuleSoft,
PathLogic, Jitterbit, Kapow, Talend, Vitria, TIBCO, Red
Hat and IBM (Cast Iron)
PaaS Integrations Tools
Azure Platform App Fabric, Boomi Atmosphere
IaaS Integrations Tools
Cloud Bridges, Cloud Gateways, Cloud Brokers
Figure 7.
The cloud integration
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pharmacist, who can now check all allergies of the patient by checking his medical profile,
and prescribe relevant drugs. In a severe accident-related scenario, a hospital can quickly
find out about patients blood type and pre-existing conditions mentioned in his stored
profile on the cloud.
5.3 The Hybrid Cloud Supply Chain model for healthcare
Now, extending the abstract HSCC model presented in Section 3 (Figure 2), we can easily
develop a model for any supply chain network in the targeted industry domain. In Figure 9,
we present the model for the healthcare domain. The variety of stakeholders such as
hospital facility providers, physicians, drug manufacturers, equipment makers, insurers,
governments, employers, individual patients, etc., can securely access the hybrid cloud
facilities based on their access rights and other privileges. Heterogeneous services offered
by software applications (e.g. HR, finance and accounting, marketing, research and
development, etc.) can be hosted at the hybrid SaaS layer, which can be easily managed and
maintained by the cloud management platform. Even if some services are outsourced, these
can be easily hosted and managed by external vendors/suppliers.
By the means of above hybrid cloud collaboration, patientse-health records, medical
histories, blood types, allergies, scan images, medical labs reports, etc., can now be easily
made available anywhere in the world. The information can be accessible via secure
authentication and can be easily interpreted by the health actors. This kind of hybrid
system allows health actors to access and review patient images almost instantly, from
anywhere, giving improved efficient diagnosis and providing speedy patient care
management. This hybrid system will significantly reduce long-term technology costs by
equally sharing the technology resources and infrastructure by different healthcare entities
across the borders. The solution can also enable private and government hospital networks
across the nations to manage referral patient image when transferring to and from other
institutions, anywhere in the country.
Uploading of Lab
Reports in Patient
Patients Hospitals
Details of the
Medicines Prescribed
Health record,
lab reports and
overall patient
in patient
Patient id
Patients for care
Retrieving Patient
Records, Accident
Storing Health
Figure 8.
Actors and data flows
in cloud-based
healthcare framework
Supply chain
network of
Industry 4.0
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5.4 Advantages to the healthcare industry by the Hybrid Cloud Supply Chain model
There was a time when medical procedures were very expensive and technology-based
procedures were out of the reach of common man. But due to the technological
advancements and commercialization of that advancement, efficient, faster and reliable
medical solutions are available now and these are in the access of a common man. Due to
technology, patient care level has gone up to a greater extent. But upon implementation this
• Insurers
• HMOs
• Pharmacy Benefit
The Hybrid Supply Chain Cloud Model
Public Cloud
Hybrid IaaS Manager (API)
Hybrid PaaS Manager (API)
Hybrid Cloud Management Platform
Production and
Research and
HR Admin Finance
Sales HR
Facility Providers
• Hospitals
• Physicians
• IDNs
• Pharmacies
End users
• Government
• Employers
• Individuals
• Employer Coalitions
• Wholesalers
• Mail-Order
• Group Purchasing
Organization (GPOs)
• Drug Manufacturer
• Device
• Medical-Surgical
• Equipment Makers
Private Cloud
Figure 9.
The Hybrid Supply
Chain Cloud model
for healthcare
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system will significantly reduce in cost of providing the service and therefore for informed
decision making. Therefore, the following are the major benefits.
5.4.1 Strong partnership. Traditionally, the healthcare supply chain was highly
fragmented. Due to the advancement of cloud-based application, seamless flow of
information between upstream and downstream happened to be better. Therefore, the
stakeholder benefits motivate the eco-system to be more collaborative through contractual
partnership in order to reduce the gap between organizational silos and increasing visibility
and agility among the business processes.
5.4.2 Control flow of information. The furthermost favorable position offered by half-
breed cloud innovation is the adaptability in working business because of end-to-end
joining and secure treatment of information. In a store network arrange associations
maintain numerous business forms that are posts separated in nature. While a few
procedures take a shot at basic information, some of them perform customary everyday
exercises. In the event that a business work does not process basic information, you can
utilize an open cloud to run the task. In the meantime, mission basic capacities can utilize a
private cloud. By enhancing business needs, organizations can use assets and conquer
security challenges also.
5.4.3 Security and privacy. As the data sets remain within the system, there are very little
chances of breach of security of the system. One of the primary worries of an open cloud is
information security. Hybrid clouds offer additional security to your information. By
keeping your information out of the general population cloud, organizations can add
additional security to business forms. In the meantime, applications can consistently work
between various situations to diminish operational expenses. The hybrid cloud bolsters a
conveyed workforce using key safety efforts, incorporated with the corporate server centers
to guarantee information trustworthiness, and scaled over different outside arrangements to
guarantee unwavering in healthcare industry.
5.4.4 Decreased costs. Another key preferred standpoint of the cloud is diminished
expenses. This is additionally valid for the hybrid cloud. Contingent upon your business
forms, you can arrange the cross-breed cloud utilizing private and open clouds. As mission
basic procedures are nearly less, the operational consumption is enormously lessened by
versatile arrangements offered by the cloud (Qadri and Quadri, 2018). Half-breed clouds
have capacity to scale rapidly and productively to appropriate cloud server farms at far less
expense than acquiring costly gear or leasing building corporate server farms
interoperability and compliance with government regulations.
5.4.5 Improved business performance. When complex supply chain information is carefully
managed, the following benefits may be achieved by businesses such as output enhanced
supply chain performance and improved metrics which thus will result in business excellence.
When Industry 4.0 is going to become the future, the elastic nature of cloud platforms makes it
possible to scale up through hybrid supply chain process architecture. Therefore, the entire
supply chain becomes more transparent and adaptive according to the industry speed.
6. Conclusions
Complex animalis the right word to address a hybrid cloud. It comes with a set of
challenges that can be addressed with systematic preparation and structured approach.
The ways in which these challenges can be resolved are mainly to have up-to-date
technology, strategic approach by the management and structured monitoring and
evaluation (Sabet et al., 2017). A hybrid cloud is best suited to meet todays organizations
requirements as it provides them with flexibility and efficiency.
The proposed hybrid cloud framework provides many levels of integration along with
automation. Physical systems and data virtualization platforms can be unified for both
Supply chain
network of
Industry 4.0
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private and public cloud to reduce cost and increase flexibility and efficiency. This
research provides a consistent central management and comprehensive view of all
computing resources, which gives organizations the knowledge they need to optimize
workload placement.
The integration of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS layers for both the public and private clouds in
the HSCC will help to achieve the following milestones:
(1) interoperability and openness across different cloud platforms;
(2) standardized infrastructure to manage different platforms;
(3) automations Industry 4.0 will extend the scope by looking into much broader set of
technologies toward automation using cyber-physical systems, the IoT, cloud
computing and Industry 4.0;
(4) the control over how and when to have or over with the IaaS and PaaS, giving a
dynamic touch to the phenomenon under study;
(5) works as a middleware to integrate with the exciting tools, applications, cloud
services and data sources;
(6) voluntary isolation is possible along with the option of sharing the environment
based on multi-tenancy whenever and wherever needed; and
(7) more secure environment, as the database will mostly be on premises and access to the
database is controlled by a standard role-based user authentication and authorization.
The developed HSCC in this research will be validated using a real-life case example in the
future. This research can be extended further by applying the framework in another
industrial sector and thereby to validate the framework through an integrated supply chain
environment. While the supply chain Industry 4.0 seems to be the future, the research will
benefit those organizations lagging to have an end-to-end integration and as well as those
networked with cooperative information sharing. Thus, the research paves the roadmap for
HSCC toward Industry 4.0 systems and inspires researchers and practitioners to contribute
to the development of the field.
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Corresponding author
Vipul Jain can be contacted at:
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network of
Industry 4.0
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... The legal and regulatory environment in Kenya requires among others 1) Data Security: The Information Security Standard established by the ICT Authority lays out the requirements to which all public sector entities are encouraged to follow in order to safeguard information from security risks [10]. To ensure effective data security across all categorization systems, these guidelines require all public organizations to have an information security strategy, an information security plan, and the creation of an information asset register [11]. ...
... Its strengths are that it offers appropriate foundation for cost reduction and the development of a significant value chain [10]. Its weaknesses include inability to guarantee highest safety levels leading, insensitivity and cybercrime insecurity. ...
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Our next generation of industry—Industry 4.0—holds the promise of increased flexibility in manufacturing, along with mass customization, better quality, and improved productivity. It thus enables companies to cope with the challenges of producing increasingly individualized products with a short lead-time to market and higher quality. Intelligent manufacturing plays an important role in Industry 4.0. Typical resources are converted into intelligent objects so that they are able to sense, act, and behave within a smart environment. In order to fully understand intelligent manufacturing in the context of Industry 4.0, this paper provides a comprehensive review of associated topics such as intelligent manufacturing, Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled manufacturing, and cloud manufacturing. Similarities and differences in these topics are highlighted based on our analysis. We also review key technologies such as the IoT, cyber-physical systems (CPSs), cloud computing, big data analytics (BDA), and information and communications technology (ICT) that are used to enable intelligent manufacturing. Next, we describe worldwide movements in intelligent manufacturing, including governmental strategic plans from different countries and strategic plans from major international companies in the European Union, United States, Japan, and China. Finally, we present current challenges and future research directions. The concepts discussed in this paper will spark new ideas in the effort to realize the much-anticipated Fourth Industrial Revolution.
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The term ‘Industry 4.0’ was coined to mark the fourth industrial revolution, a new paradigm enabled by the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) into the production and manufacturing environment. The vision of Industry 4.0 emphasizes the global networks of machines in a smart factory setting capable of autonomously exchanging information and controlling each other. This cyber-physical system allows the smart factory to operate autonomously. For instance, a machine will know the manufacturing process that needs to be applied to a product, what variation to be made to that product etc., so that the product can be uniquely identifiable as an active entity whose configuration and route in the production line is unique. As the collaboration between suppliers, manufacturers and customers is crucial to increase the transparency of all the steps from when the order is dispatched until the end of the life cycle of the product, it is therefore necessary to analyze the impact of Industry 4.0 on the supply chain as a whole.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to understand the link between trust, technology and supply chain collaboration and their impact on firms’ operational performances. Design/methodology/approach Based on extant literature, a hypothesized model was developed and tested using structural equation modelling (i.e. AMOS). A survey was conducted to collect data from the supply chain managers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies (more precisely in the food and beverage sector) in Thailand. Findings The study findings suggest that through an ongoing relationship, trust evolves and is shaped over time and can form a competitive capability that may not be easy for competitors to replicate. Both trust and technology are found to have significant impact on supply chain collaboration and on firms’ operational performances. Research limitations/implications One of the major limitations of the study is that the data were obtained from one single economy, which restricts its generalizability across other economies. The study was a cross-sectional and descriptive sample of the FMCG industry at a given point in time. A more stringent test of the relationships between trust, technology, supply chain collaboration and operational performance requires an in-depth case study or longitudinal study. Practical implications The findings will enable supply chain managers in the FMCG industry to understand the strategic role of trust and technology in building supply chain collaboration that leads to superior operational performance. Originality/value The paper clearly confirms that trust and technological capabilities are significantly associated with supply chain collaboration and operational performance. Most of the earlier supply chain collaboration research streams are based on developed economies where supply chain collaboration challenges are predictable, while the current study conducted is based on a developing economy setting. This study facilitates the author’s understanding of the challenges in managing supply chain collaboration within a developing economy.
Purpose This paper presents an innovative agile methodology that proposes fundamental changes in managing the development of in-house information systems in SMEs and benchmarks it with one of two database technologies enabling these systems to be both efficient and competitive Design/methodology/approach The objectives are achieved by presenting an elaborated design of the agile methodology that manages the system development process by addressing three basic components: Roles played by system players, Process needed to fulfil the system development, and Artifacts to document the project. A case study is conducted as a proof of the effectiveness of the proposed methodology and measures whether the selection of the database technology affects the effectiveness of the system development process. Findings Results show that, compared with traditional methodologies, the proposed methodology reduced the cost of system development and testing by 30% and enhanced the IT – business alliance. Further, this work found that the selection of a suitable database technology is strongly related to the complexity and interrelationships between the data used Originality/value Such research did not receive the needed attention (Hunter, 2004) even in the past decade. Successful adoption of IT by companies could be in the form of customized IS which could be expensive for SMEs to adopt due to a lack in technical expertise and financial resources. The proposed methodology has the potential to promote sustainable development through helping SMEs in reducing the time and cost of IT project development.
Purpose The aim of this paper is to propose a model to map on-premise computing system of the university with cloud computing for achieving effective and reliable university e-governance (e-gov) system. Design/methodology/approach The proposed model incorporates the university’s internal e-governance system with cloud computing in order to achieve better reliability, accessibility and availability of e-governance services while keeping the recurring expenditure low. This model has been implemented (and tested on university e-governance system) in University of Kashmir (UOK), case study of this implementation has been chosen as the research methodology to discuss and demonstrate the proposed model. Findings According to the results based on practical implementation, the proposed model is ideal for e-governed systems as it provided adequate cost savings and high availability with operational ease, apart from continuing to have necessary security in place to maintain confidential information such as student details, grades, etc. Practical implications To achieve high availability and reduce the cost from using external clouds, mapping internal IT servers of the University with the external cloud computing services. Originality/value Because no established mapping model for universities has been provided for effective, low cost, highly available university e-governance system, the proposed mapping model through this paper closes this gap and provides guidelines to implement hybrid mapped e-governance model for universities while keeping the recurring expenditure on cloud computing at minimal. Also, it provides the perceptions of its adoption at University of Kashmir for achieving high reliability, accessibility and uptime of its e-governance applications while keeping the recurring expenditure on cloud computing at minimal.
Purpose The Internet of Things (IoT) envisions a global infrastructure of networked physical objects that render radical transparency to supply chain management. Despite the perceived advantages of IoT, industry has still not widely adopted IoT-enabled logistics and supply chain management. To understand the incentives and concerns behind firms’ decisions to adopt IoT, the primary purpose of this paper is to explore the determinant factors affecting IoT adoption in logistics and supply chain management. Design/methodology/approach This study uses mixed methods research to explore the determinants of IoT adoption intention in logistics and supply chain management. Qualitative analysis using the grounded theory methodology reveals the underlying perceptions regarding logistic innovation with IoT. Quantitative hypotheses are then developed based on qualitative investigation and adoption literature. Survey data were collected from the managerial staff of Taiwanese firms across various industries. Structural equation modeling with partial least square is used for data analysis. Findings The results of the qualitative study identify uncertainties and issues regarding firms’ intention to accept or reject IoT technology in logistics and supply chain management, including the benefit and cost aspects of adopting IoT, uncertainties about the trustworthiness of IoT technology, and the external motivating force to embrace IoT. The resulting quantitative model shows that perceived benefits, perceived costs, and external pressure are significant determinants of IoT adoption intention, while technology trust is not. However, technology trust does indirectly influence IoT adoption intention through perceived benefits. Practical implications The empirical findings of this study provide some guidelines for logistics and supply chain managers to evaluate IoT adoption in their firms. Likewise, IoT solution providers can also benefit from this study by improving their solutions to mitigate the IoT adoption concerns addressed herein. Originality/value This paper is among the first known to examine IoT adoption intention in logistics and supply chain management using mixed methods research. The mixed methods approach offers a better insight in understanding incentives behind firms’ decisions to adopt IoT versus the use of either a qualitative or quantitative method alone.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop a comprehensive conceptual model for the impact of hospital-supplier integration on the overall performance of healthcare organisations. It also investigates the moderating role of lean practices between hospital-supplier integration and hospital performance. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected from 498 public and private hospitals in Saudi Arabia using a survey. Structural equation modelling was used for data analysis. Findings The results indicate that hospital-supplier integration has a positive impact on the hospital performance. These effects are even more notable when adopting lean practices in the hospitals. Research limitations/implications The data were collected from one developing country, namely Saudi Arabia. Thus, the findings may be relevant to the Saudi context but not those of other developing countries. Secondly, the data were collected from the hospitals’ end but not from the suppliers, so the latter’s perspectives on the themes covered here are not known. Future research may investigate the validity of the model in various developing countries whose healthcare systems have different characteristics, and the relationships between hospitals and their suppliers may follow different governance models. Practical implications The developed model and results will help hospitals in the Saudi health system to make better decisions on managing their logistics and supply partners. Originality/value This study extends the current research by developing a model that highlights the impact of hospital-supplier integration on the overall performance of healthcare organisations and test this model to confirm its validity. To our knowledge, this study would be one of the first that uses both Lean thinking and Relational View of Competitive Advantage theory combined to examine the moderating role of Lean practices on the inter-organisational relationships in Saudi Arabia.
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to define the “fast evolving industry” (FEI) and its supply chain management (SCM) challenges. The authors review and structure the literature regarding integration strategies and implementation methods to develop a strategic decision-making framework for SCM in the FEI. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conduct a review of SCM literature, including supply chain strategy, supply chain integration (SCI), agile and responsive supply chain and SCM for innovative and fast-changing industries. The authors develop a conceptual model and a decision-making framework and use four mini cases to provide support for the model and framework. Findings: The FEI, characterised by a high level of innovation and differentiation, short products/services lifecycle and high variety, is yet to be fully defined. Inherent uncertainty in FEI supply systems makes SCM in these industries a complex but strategic task for their managers. The framework and the model offered in this study, which employ a core competency concept and provide risk management strategies, offer a strategic tool for managers and scholars in the field to optimise their integration strategies and to operationalise integration decisions. Originality/value: Little research has been published on transferable and cross-industrial SCM in FEIs. This paper defines the FEI and its resource-related concerns and then offers a conceptual model and a strategic decision-making framework for SCI in FEIs.
Purpose – There are cloud computing (CC) services available for various applications within the supply chain management (SCM). These services offer, for example, consistent global networking platforms and enable quick decision making, which may strengthen competitive advantages. The specification of the single-related elements and the coordination mechanisms between actors and information flows is complex. In this paper, the authors argue that reference models can accelerate understanding these processes. The purpose of this paper is to gain an understanding of the current state of the underlying research field and to present a reference model that supports theory and practice in adopting CC services at SCM. Design/methodology/approach – This paper provides a cross-discipline systematic literature review from the research perspectives of information systems and SCM. Based on 102 papers, the authors designed a reference model showing the interrelations between various elements of CC and SCM. Findings – The authors discover the most important chances and risks for CC implementations in supply chain (SC) processes and pay special attention to SC sustainability aspects of CC. Until now, SCM research in the realm of CC usage is still in its infancy both in theory and practice. Originality/value – To the best of the authors’ knowledge, there is no systematic literature review that consistently focusses CC usage within SC processes while integrating specific aspects of strategic theory. The obtained insights lead to the first SCM-related reference model for CC usage.