An ontology-based approach to define and manage B2B interoperability

Nicola Gessa, Ozalp Babao, Paolo Ciancarini
2007 unpublished
Electronic business surely represents the new development perspective for worldwide trade. Together with the idea of ebusiness, and the exigency to exchange business messages between trading partners, the concept of business-to-business (B2B) integration arouse. B2B integration is becoming necessary to allow partners to communicate and exchange business documents, like catalogues, purchase orders, reports and invoices, overcoming architectural, applicative, and semantic differences, according
more » ... the business processes implemented by each enterprise. Business relationships can be very heterogeneous, and consequently there are various ways to integrate enterprises with each other. Moreover nowadays not only large enterprises, but also the small-and medium-enterprises are moving towards ebusiness: more than two-thirds of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) use the Internet as a business tool. One of the business areas which is actively facing the interoperability problem is that related with the supply chain management. In order to really allow the SMEs to improve their business and to fully exploit ICT technologies in their business transactions, there are three main players that must be considered and joined: the new emerging ICT technologies, the scenario and the requirements of the enterprises and the world of standards and standardisation bodies. This thesis presents the definition and the development of an interoperability framework (and the bounded standardisation intiatives) to provide the Textile/Clothing sector with a shared set of business documents and protocols for electronic transactions. Considering also some limitations, the thesis proposes a ontology-based approach to improve the functionalities of the developed framework and, exploiting the technologies of the semantic web, to improve the standardisation life-cycle, intended as the development, dissemination and adoption of B2B protocols for specific business domain. The use of ontologies allows the semantic modellisation of knowledge domains, upon which it is possible to develop a set of components for a better management of B2B protocols, and to ease their comprehension and adoption for the target users. iii Contents Abstract iii
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