Aims And Scopes

Version: January 20th , 2008


One of the trends in the global market is the increasing collaboration among enterprises. Constant changes in inter- and intra-organisational environment will persist in the future. Organisations have to flexibly and continuously react to (imminent) changes in markets and trading partners. Large companies but also SMEs have to cope with internal changes from both a technical (e.g. new information, communication, software and hardware technologies) and an organisational point of view (e.g. merging, re-organisation, virtual organisations, etc.). In this context, the competitiveness of an enterprise depends not only on its internal performance to produce products and services but also on its ability to seamlessly interoperate with other enterprises. External and internal collaborative work needs more interoperable solutions.

Enterprise systems in many cases are not designed to interoperate with other systems. Legacy enterprise applications often hinder cooperation endeavours. Most of the problems emerge from proprietary development or extensions, unavailability or oversupply of standards, and heterogeneous hardware and software platforms. The situation becomes more critical through new business paradigms like extended enterprises and networked organisations that require businesses to work together to achieve further benefits. To keep the enterprises competitive there is a need to address the new challenge of dynamic collaborations.

The lack of interoperability is a problem that has to be addressed both from business and technological points of view. Interoperability implies support of information and communication technologies between different organisations that must be based on shared business. To achieve interoperability between organisations, reference models and associated standards must be agreed upon and take into account the co-operation needs of the organisations.

Currently the enterprise interoperability issues are not coherently addressed at organisational and technical levels as a whole.

The lack of interoperability is costly to enterprises. For example, analysts such as Gartner and AMR state that company budgets for integration and interoperability projects nowadays add up to 30-40% of companies' total IT budgets. This figure indicates that significant efforts are undertaken to achieve custom integration and general interoperability. Consequently industrial goals identified mainly concern the reduction of enterprise application integration costs, and adopt standards to achieve compliant solutions /practices, reducing development and management costs.

Generally speaking, interoperability is defined as "the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged" (IEEE Standard Computer Dictionary).

By enterprise interoperability we mean the ability of organisational entities (businesses, governments, companies, or parts thereof) to interoperate in order to achieve their business goals. The levels of interoperability should cover business interoperability, process interoperability, service interoperability and data interoperability. Interoperation may be achieved by any of the three approaches: integrated, unified and federated.



The purpose of this Special Interest Group is to progress and to disseminate research and development results in the area of Enterprise Interoperability.

The goal of this group is to bring together experts of multiple disciplines that contribute to this field.

The result of this research is to enable enterprises (networked enterprise, extended enterprise, administration, virtual organisations) or organisational units, applications to interoperate seamlessly with each other either inside an enterprise or among independent enterprises.

Specifically, the goals of this WG are:

  • G1: to identify the scientific foundation of enterprise interoperability and promote its acceptance by the scientific community and all stakeholders
  • G2: to identify and to classify the key problems of interoperability to contribute to the elaboration of roadmaps through identifying new research challenges and to facilitate the creation of research projects
  • G3: to identify practical tools, methods, architectures and solutions and promote their usage
  • G4: to promote the activities and to disseminate the vision of the SIG through organizing conferences, workshops and other related activities
  • G5: to promote education and to promote the development of the discipline interoperability
  • G6: to contribute to the standardization.