Heard & overheard: Covisint follows the road less traveled by

Remember Covisint, the failed attempt by the Big Three automakers to launch an online trading exchange for the entire automotive supply chain? As Thomas Stallkamp, former president of Chrysler Corp., recently told Logistics Today, "Covisint was a horrible idea. Nobody thought it through. Data exchanges are fine, but Covisint and the way it was done was an absolute failure — it never got off the ground."

The basic problem was suppliers already felt like they were getting squeezed by the major OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), so trying to get them to participate in an online marketplace that would further commoditize their products was an effort that just wasn't going to happen.

But lest you think Covisint completely fell off the roadmap, think again. Purchased in 2004 by Compuware Corp., Covisint has been reinvented as a healthcare portal for the state of Michigan. Working with healthcare provider Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Covisint will design a portal that will feature such services as benefits information, claim submissions, medical records, electronic reporting and e-prescribing.

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