Spurred by increasing globalization and strong market dynamics, more and more companies are seeking new ways of collaborating in order to boost their ability to compete and get ahead of the competition. As a cost-effective and efficient alternative to the standard internal and cross-enterprise forms of cooperation (e.g. project groups, joint ventures or networks) the focus is increasingly shifting to virtual collaborations. Virtual collaboration is a form of working together which is based on modern information and communication technology applications which eliminate physical access and availability barriers. There are three basic variants of virtual collaboration: first, internal collaboration within the company; second, external collaboration with upstream or downstream value creation stages; and third, the collaboration with competitors.14
14 In the following the terms virtual cooperation and virtual collaboration are used as synonyms.