Liapis, A., Christiaens, S., De Leenheer, P. (2008) Collaboration across the Enterprise: an Approach for Enterprise Interoperability, In Proc. of ICEIS 2008 (Barcelona, Spain)
In the current competitive industrial context, enterprises must react swiftly to market changes. In order to face this problem, enterprises must increase their collaborative activities. This implies at one hand high communication between their information systems and at the other hand the compatibility of their practices. An important amount of work must be performed towards proper practices of standardization and harmonization. This is the concept of Interoperability. Interoperability of enterprises is a strategic issue, caused as well as enabled by the continuously growing ability of integration of new legacy and evolving systems, in particular in the context of networked organisations. of the reconciliation of the communicated business semantics is crucial to success. For this, non-disruptive re-use of existing business data stored in “legacy” production information systems is an evident prerequisite. In addition the integration of a methodology as well as the scalability of any proposed semantic technological solution are equally evident prerequisites. Yet on all accounts current semantic technologies as researched and developed for the so-called Semantic Web may be found lacking. Still, semantic technology is claimed about to become mainstream, as it is pused by enterprise interoperation needs and increasing availability of domain specific content (for example ontologies) rather than pulled by basic technology (for example OWL) providers. In this paper we present a methodology which has resulted in the implementation of a highly customizable collaborative environment focussed to support ontology-based enterprise interoperability. The main benefit of this environment is its ability to integrate with legacy systems, rescuing enterprises from having to adapt or upgrade their existing systems in order to interoperate with their partners.