Integrating business and production data
Our competencies cover ICT enabled methodologies and tools for integrating business and product related information in an industrial environment. Our aim is to support management of heterogeneous information from disparate sources based on information semantics (i.e., its meaning). By further processing the integrated information we can provide essential information for the right user in due course despite the heterogeneous software environment.
Today, business processes must be managed and modified more effectively than ever before. Processes need to adapt quickly to consolidation, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and divestitures. Successful management of enterprises requires overall management of all processes and information connected to them and therefore all changes in business processes have influence on several information systems. Seamless communication and integration of data and information as well as synchronisation of inter-organisational business processes are complex problems that require efficient and cost-effective ICT solutions.
ICT enabled enterprise interoperability needs to solve the process by which enterprises can interoperate with other enterprises, organisations, or with other business units of the same enterprise in order to conduct their business efficiently. This requires both technical integration and information integration. Technical integration enables the interoperability of different systems and data sources by providing means for data transportation and communication. Information integration is focused on preserving the meaning of information while transforming the context.
Integrating enterprise information requires both technical and information integration. At the moment, the research challenge is in information integration, while technical integration is enabled by commercial products. Information integration is enabled by semantic interoperability that emphasises the importance of information inside enterprises and focuses on enabling content, data, and information to interoperate with software systems outside their origin.
Semantic integration solutions are based on modelling the key concepts and mapping them together based on their intended meaning. Semantic interoperability processes use ontology, mediation and inference tools. Semantic interoperability must also be supported by proprietary ontology development and management process.
Methods for stakeholder communication: ontologies provide a common abstraction
of the concepts/entities of the software systems that most of the system’s
stakeholders can use as a basis for mutual understanding, negotiation,
consensus and communication
New methods and technologies for decreasing the amount of time and money
required in information acquisition and integration
Improvements in management of information by providing the right information
at the right time to the right user, i.e., to the user who needs that specific
Better possibilities for the integration of business automation and process
automation and making the overall process performance tangible
References and merits
The research group has been researching information integration for several years. Previous projects include Sebi (Semantic Business Interoperability), SteelNet (Software agent solutions in steel product industry's logistic processes) and SteelNet2 (Supply Chain Management in Value Networks by Multiagent Systems). The group has published several publications relating to the research area.