This chapter is devoted to automated support for interorganizational business process management, that is, formation and enactment of business processes that span multiple autonomous organizations. A treatment of intra- and interorganizational business processes is included to provide a conceptual background. It describes a number of research approaches in this area, including the context of these approaches and the design of the systems proposed by them. The approaches are described from early developments in the field relying on dedicated technology to current designs based on standardized technology from the service-oriented context. The chapter thereby provides an overview of developments in the area of interorganizational business process management.
In the past, many organizations operated their business processes in
a rather stand-alone mode. Although cooperation scenarios with other
organizations obviously existed, these scenarios were mostly based
on the exchange of physical goods and information (e.g., on the
basis of electronic data interchange) – not on the
execution of integrated business processes by the collaborating
partners. A number of developments has changed the context in which
organizations collaborate, however. In the first place, products and
services produced have become far more complex, thus requiring more
business capabilities and hence larger networks of collaborating
organizations. The fact that competition forces organizations to
retract to core business activities only amplifies this development.
Secondly, both product specifications and market circumstances have
become much more dynamic, thereby requiring business networks to
become more dynamic too. Thirdly, market paradigm changes like mass
customization and demand chain orientation require much tighter
synchronized business processes across individual organizations in a
business chain. Fourthly, time pressure has become much greater in
the setup and execution of collaborations between organizations.
These four developments are forcing organizations to pay much more
attention to how they cooperate, not only to
what they exchange. In other words:
organizations are forced to operate in business processes that span
business chains and take part in the design and management of these
interorganizational business processes.
To deal with the complexity of interorganizational business processes
and obtain the required efficiency in setting them up and executing
them, automated systems are required for interorganizational
business process management. These automated systems should support
a number of tasks. They should provide support for the design or
configuration of interorganizational business processes. As we will
see in the sequel of this chapter, support may be in the form of
interactive design tools, but may also go into the direction of
fully automatic configuration of interorganizational business
processes, based on predefined subprocesses within participating
organizations. These automated systems should support the automated
management of the execution of interorganizational business
processes, i.e., that process logic that actually links the internal
business processes of multiple autonomous organizations. Then, these
systems should support the synchronization of interorganizational
business processes with the internal business processes of the
Key Terms in this Chapter
Instant Virtual Enterprise: Dynamic virtual enterprise.
Virtual Enterprise: Formalized collaboration between two or more autonomous organizations for the achievement of a specific business goal.
Dynamic Virtual Enterprise: Formalized collaboration between two or more autonomous organizations with a well-defined temporary character for the achievement of a specific business goal.
Interorganizational Business Process: Business process the process logic of which is enacted by two or more autonomous organizations, of which at least one organization exposes a non-black box projection of the explicit control flow structure of a process to the other organization(s).
Intraorganizational Business Process: Business process the process logic of which is enacted by one single organization, but which may call black-box business services of other autonomous organizations.
Dynamic Service Outsourcing: The replacement of a part of an internal business process by a business process that is enacted by an external service provider, where the external service provider is selected dynamically, i.e., in a just-in-time fashion.
Business Network Process: Interorganizational business process established to specify and enact the collaboration of a number of autonomous parties in a peer-to-peer fashion.
Dynamic Interorganizational Business Process: Interorganizational business process that is formed dynamically by (automatically) integrating two or more external processes provided by the involved organizations, where dynamically means that collaborator organizations are found at or just before process run-time by searching business process market places based on the characteristics of (a set of) business process cases and market conditions.
Dynamic Business Network Process: Dynamic interorganizational business process established to specify and enact the collaboration of a number of autonomous parties in a peer-to-peer fashion.