Value Network Software (NRP)

This has been our focus and priority. Still working with Sensorica, now also with Driftless Herbal Exchange Network, with other networks getting ready to go. This version of the software came from the open hardware arena, but is becoming more generalized for other types of networks. It has had several names, but people have been calling it NRP, for Network Resource Planning, or VAS for Value Accounting System.

You could compare it to an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system except that it is not for enterprises nor is it focused on planning. Or you could compare it to an SCM (supply chain management system) except that it is not really focused on management, either.

It includes:

You can find more information here:

Local/Regional Economic Development Software

This one is waiting for the next interested user groups, but the underlying model is pretty much the same as the Value Network Software. It includes:

This software could also be a higher level view of one or more Value Networks. That idea was proposed by a group in Nova Scotia that, unfortunately, fell apart. They did use it to analyze the fisheries situation, but had plans for much more.

Food Network Software

We haven't worked on this one for awhile. Two food networks are still using it. A couple of others are looking at it. If they want it, it's open source, they can use it. But if they want a lot of changes, we would be better off making our new Value Network software work for food networks, which it could do.

REA: the model behind all our software

REA stands for Resources, Events and Agents. It is the ISO economic and accounting standard. It can handle any economic relationships in Internet commerce. We've extended it to handle Value Networks and ecological requirements.

You can read about the concepts here. And here's an earlier article about Accounting for a new economy. And here are a bunch of links if you want to get deeper into the history of REA.

Why traditional ERP and accounting software won't work for networks

The problems we've seen include:

Solutions to the administrative and coordination problems are necessary for an economic group to work at all. Solutions to the transparency and trust problems are necessary for the group to survive and prosper, or often to get organized in the first place. Solutions to the income distribution and resource sharing problems are necessary to avoid losing contributors. And if you are focused only on yourself, you are not even a network.

We wrote a much longer article about these problems in the context of food networks in 2009: Problems of group accounting.

And the big dogs have figured this out, too: GT Nexus Network of Networks. (Might want to mute your sound before you click that link, but you should peek: they'll tell you how far we got to go with this stuff.)