Fundamental Interoperability

The evolution from mass-productions to mass-customization, and the changing of paradigms from technology and product-driven to market and customer-driven, led to an increasing need for trade, collaboration and information exchange. Reliability and rapid delivery of defect-free products to customers is no longer seen as a competitive advantage, but as a requirement. Therefore, to succeed in this collaborative but at the same time competitive environment, enterprise systems and applications need to be interoperable, sharing technical and business information seamlessly within and across organisations. In this sense, being defined by the IEEE as ‘‘the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged’’, interoperability is nowadays of utmost importance to enterprise’s competitiveness.


While in the past it was said that Enterprise Interoperability (EI) was unachievable until seamless interaction could take place at the technical, semantic and organisational layers of interoperability and at all levels of the enterprise, today this vision is extended, foreseeing that EI will be fully achieved only when the benefits brought by the new technology paradigms are harvested, including those of the Future Internet, e.g. Internet of Things, Internet of Services. Adapting the concepts from Enterprise Architecture, interoperability research should consider design principles that address every enterprise asset and the complexity of existing relationships, not only at data and applications levels but also at personal, management, and even geographical and cultural levels.