Work package 3.3 is introducing the concept of organisational interoperability on top of technical and semantic interoperability. The work is primarily based on the definition of the three types of interoperability as defined in the technical annex DoW of the QualiPSo project and on the definition of interoperability given by the European Interoperability Framework (EIF). In short, organisational interoperability is about the collaboration of organisations (companies and administrations) that wish to exchange information and to co-operate despite having different internal structures and processes.
The goal of this work package is to analyse organisational aspects that affect inter-working of processes and cross-organisational cooperation. This includes the evaluation of Free Open Source tools for the modelling and implementation of cross-organisational processes and the development of guidelines for enhanced organisational interoperability.
The work package consists of three tasks:
Task 3.3.1 identified important issues of organisational interoperability and defined requirements:
- Identify and analyze important issues like the definition of business goals, strategies and rules with respect to organisational interoperability in the Open Source context as well as between open and closed source environments. Analyze state-of-the-art of corresponding methods, languages, and notations. The results of this work are included in wd3.3.1a and wd3.3.1b.
- Evaluate Open Source tools with respect to their ability to support, model and execute business processes between different organisations considering the interoperability between different tools deployed in different organisations. The results of this work are included in wd3.3.1c.
- Identify and analyze important issues with respect to the organisational interoperability in the open source context as well as between open and closed source environments. The results of this work are included in all three working documents.
Task 3.3.2 developed guidelines for the implementation of organisational interoperability based on the results of Task 3.3.1. The guidelines present a practical top-down approach following the vision of the organizational interoperability as a business plan covering the organizational aspects of the collaboration. The approach focuses on defining the business collaboration model, clearly specifying the collaboration goals and organizational measures which need to be undertaken by partners to achieve them. The approach is intended for managers responsible for establishing and developing relationships with other organisations. The guidelines provide recommendations on how the presented approach can be implemented with help of FOSS tools.
Task 3.3.3 performed scenario-based evaluation of the guidelines for the implementation of organisational interoperability. It defined a scenario and evaluated the guidelines and FOSS tools identified in Task 3.3.2 for the implementation of organisational interoperability. The scenario demonstrates how the guidelines can be used for the
implementation of organizational interoperability between the partners establishing a new QualiPSo Competence Centre, and how this competence centre can achieve organizational interoperability with other competence centres or with members of the QualiPSo consortium to get the required consultancy from them.
State-of-the-art and important issues
Deliverable A3.D1.3.3 contains the final results of task 3.3.1. It identifies and discusses the state-of-the-art and important issues concerning organisational interoperability like the definition of business goals, strategies, rules, and processes in the open source context as well as between open and closed source environments. The deliverable concludes the results of the three working documents that have been submitted until the end of 2008. It consists of a description of important issues and requirements of organisational interoperability, the results of the corresponding workshop hold during the Berlin plenary meeting, and a summary of evaluation criteria and evaluations of tools supporting organisational interoperability.
Important issues and requirements for organisational interoperability and state-of-the-art of corresponding methods, languages, and notations
Starting with an analysis of different aspects of organisational interoperability considering the reference model for SOA provided by OASIS, four major categories of organisational interoperability are identified. Visibility is defined as the relationship between a service provider and a service user that is satisfied when they are able to interact with each other. Interaction is the activity of using a service. Interactions are defined by two concepts called information model and behaviour model. Policies represent constraints or conditions on the description and use of services, defined either by the service owner or by the service user. A contract represents an agreement between the participants about the conditions that have to be considered during the usage of a service. The deliverable discusses organisational interoperability using the four aspects contract and policy, service visibility, information model, and behavior model. For each aspect relevant concepts and standards are introduced and references to existing FOSS implementations are provided. The deliverable has been updated twice due to the evolution of the open standards that have been described.
- wd3.3.1a: Important Issues and requirements, state-of-the-art of corresponding tools, methods, languages
Workshop for the identification of issues and requirements for organisational interoperability
This deliverable contains a summary of the results of the workshop on organisational interoperability that took place at September 29th during the QualiPSo plenary meeting in Berlin. It comprises the evaluation of the questionnaires that have been distributed during the workshop. It validates the results presented in wd3.3.1a and identifies several tools that have been evaluated in wd3.3.1c.
- wd3.3.1b: Workshop for identification of important issues and requirements on organisational interoperability
Evaluation of OSS tools supporting organisational interoperability
This deliverable contains an overview of tools supporting organisational interoperability as well as guidelines for their evaluation. Evaluations of selected tools are included. The tools are grouped considering the important issues and requirements for organisational interoperability identified in deliverables wd3.3.1a and wd3.3.1b. The selection of tools has been done utilizing a set of evaluation criteria that has been derived from the results of the workshop on organisational interoperability and that are considering special aspects of Free Open Source Software.
Browsing through the Internet a huge amount of FOSS tools can be retrieved. Several projects and communities are inactive, others have changed to commercial projects, and again others have active communities and work in a professional way. Several evaluation reports, portals and overviews are available.
wd3.3.1c assembles and describes FOSS tools supporting organisational interoperability using the following categories:
- Support for business processes – BPM
- Support for service-oriented architecture
- Support for business operation
- Support for collaboration between enterprises and their employees
Organizational interoperability – Implementation guidelines
The document summarizes and concludes the work on organizational interoperability performed in tasks 3.3.2 and 3.3.3 of the QualiPSo project. The work mainly focused on the development and evaluation of guidelines for the implementation of organizational interoperability between collaborating partners.
The guidelines follow a top-down approach to define the business collaboration model consisting of key success factors for open source collaboration, including collaboration goals, objectives, strategies, tactics rules and cross-organizational business processes. Additionally, the guidelines recommend several open source tools for that.
The evaluation of the guidelines demonstrated their high relevance for the QualiPSo project itself and its sustainability. In particular, it was demonstrated how the guidelines can be used to achieve organizational interoperability in the collaboration process of establishing a new QualiPSo Competence Centre.
During the practical evaluation of the guidelines a number of potential improvements have been identified. Taking into account the evaluation results, the document presents the refined and final version of the guidelines for organizational interoperability.
Development of guidelines for the implementation of organizational interoperability
The document presents a top-down approach towards achieving organizational interoperability between collaborating partners. The approach helps the partners to clarify their motivation for collaboration and define a business collaboration model step by step, clearly specifying the collaboration goals and organizational measures to address them. The preparation of the collaboration model is expected to help the partners to get to know each other, to identify and resolve potential conflicts of interests, and to establish the relationship on the basis of well-defined expectations and responsibilities. It is based on the concepts of the OMG Business Motivation Model in order to define the organisational aspects of the cooperation in an organized manner.
Evaluation of guidelines for the implementation of organizational interoperability
The document evaluates the guidelines for the implementation of organizational interoperability on a basis of a concrete scenario: It demonstrates how organizational interoperability can be implemented between the partners establishing a new QualiPSo Competence Centre and how this competence centre can achieve organizational interoperability with other competence centres or with members of the QualiPSo consortium to get the necessary consultancy from them.
The evaluation demonstrated that the approach helps partners to plan the organizational measures required for successful collaboration. In particular, it helps partners at the early stage to formulate what they want to achieve by the collaboration, how they are going to do that and what are their responsibilities in the collaboration. It helps to assess factors that can influence the collaboration and finally to describe cross-organizational processes defining the organizational aspect of the collaboration. A document produced by applying the guidelines can be considered as a handbook for organizational aspects of the collaboration. It can also be seen as an organizational plan for the collaboration. Another important conclusion of the evaluation is that the original version of the guidelines seems to be too formal in some places and it should be slightly simplified to get better acceptance by end users. The document proposes several concrete improvements for the guidelines.
The work package identified and analysed the important issues concerning organizational interoperability in the open source domain. It provided an assembly of important OSS tools supporting organizational interoperability and collaboration support.
The identified organizational interoperability issues were addressed by defining a practical approach to harmonization of organizational aspects between companies that are willing to collaborate. Various concepts used in the approach are adopted from the Business Motivation Model (BMM). BMM is an OMG standard providing the structure for defining business plans. The approach follows the vision of the organizational interoperability as a business plan covering the organizational aspects of the collaboration.
It recommends collaborating partners to formalize and harmonize the understanding of the collaboration on different levels, starting from the definition of what each of the participants wants to achieve by the collaboration, and finishing by specifying cross-organizational business processes. It is unavoidable that partners have different points of view on collaboration and their role in it. Therefore, it is important to verify that there are no contradictions between them. For every step of the proposed approach, each of the partners should specify the information relevant for collaboration from its perspective. After that, a common harmonized point of view for collaboration needs to be derived from the provided information. Collaboration arrangements should be acceptable to all participating partners and be in-line with their way of doing business.
The approach defines the organizational details of the collaboration by the top-down principle. First of all, the cooperating partners should be specified. The specification should include a short organization’s profile description and indicate a contact person involved in the collaboration. Then, the aims of collaboration need to be defined. Partners can see them differently, but the aims should not contradict each other. They can start with defining a vision – “the ultimate, possibly unattainable, state the enterprise would like to achieve.” Sometimes it is difficult to formulate a clear vision. Therefore this step should be seen as optional. Much more important is to specify which concrete goals and objectives must be attained. Usually several goals are needed to be achieved to realise a vision and correspondently several objectives can be defined for one goal.
After the partners have defined what they want to achieve individually and together, they should concentrate their efforts on defining how they want to do it. To this end the BMM proposes the “means” concept defining the capabilities which can be used to achieve the desired aims. Means can be defined as a mission, strategies, tactics, directives or a combination of them. A mission identifies a continued activity which should realise the vision. It does not specify any details of the activity. It only formulates the main idea of the activity. The concrete key elements of the plan which should help to achieve the formulated objectives and goals can be defined as a combination of strategies, planning the missions, and tactics, implementing concrete strategies. Apart from that, the business cooperation context should be described by specifying the roles the partners may play and the relations between the roles.
After that, directives defining how the tactics and strategies have to be followed should be defined. Directives can be defined as business policies and business rules. Business policies provide non-actionable governance setting the main principles of the business logic. Business rules provide concrete actionable governance implementing business policies and defining the part of the business logic. “Actionable means that a person who understands a business rule could observe a relevant situation (including his or her own behaviour) and decide directly whether or not the business was complying with the rule.”
After defining and validating means, the partners should define influencers that, as the name suggests, are any factors influencing the business processes. The influencers are simply facts that need to be taken into account. The impact of influencers has to be judged in assessments and depending on the assessments the corresponding changes can be introduced in the already defined parts of the collaboration business plan.
At the last step, the cross-organizational business processes defining the interaction between the partners need to be specified. While defining the processes, new business directives, influencers and roles of partners can be identified. Correspondingly, the parts of the business collaboration model have to be updated.
The approach does not require advanced functionalities from tools. It recommends partners to discuss the issues and prepare a written report on the decisions taken according to the recommended templates in the tabular format.
The approach is intended for managers responsible for establishing and developing relationships with other organisations. It helps the partners to clarify their motivation for collaboration and define a business collaboration model step by step, clearly specifying the collaboration goals and organizational measures to address them. The preparation of the collaboration model is expected to help the partners to get to know each other, to identify and resolve potential conflicts of interests, and to establish the relationship on the basis of well-defined expectations and responsibilities.
- Competence Centres
- Project Identity