A Collaboration Model: A Service Selection Mechanism to Support Companies' Interoperability

A Collaboration Model: A Service Selection Mechanism to Support Companies' Interoperability

Meriem Kermani (Faculty of New Technologies of Information and Communication, University Constantine 2, Constantine, Algeria) and Mahmoud Boufaida (Faculty of New Technologies of Information and Communication, University Constantine 2, Constantine, Algeria)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/IJeC.2016010102
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The dynamic formation of a consortium, combining the most adequate set of competencies and resources to satisfy the needs of each new situation sounds indeed as a very appealing approach. However, reaching a rapid ‘alignment' among a diverse group of heterogeneous entities is not simple and may require a considerable time to achieve. In this collaborative context, the integration of industrial partners depends strongly on the ability to use a collaborative model to interact efficiently. In this paper, the authors propose a model to tackle this point according to the fact that the partners of the collaboration may change. They propose the development of an approach to achieve a dynamic inter-company collaboration. In this cooperation mode, many companies share their resources, data services and processes. These companies have their own mechanisms and applications, which are heterogeneous. First, the authors define a framework to establish this kind of collaboration. The purpose of this solution is to keep the company architecture and to ask the mediator for playing an intermediary role between companies. Then, the authors propose a service selection mechanism based on the agent technology and on the decision tree paradigm. They present an offline composition service process. Finally, they illustrate their solution with an example of treating an emergency case to show the feasibility of the proposed model.
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The markets openness, the variability of customer requirements, the communication performances and the constant search for innovation are all emerging phenomena, which are associated with globalization that the companies must face. Therefore, the companies seek continuously to improve their response and adaptation ability in order to stay in tune with their customers. One of the solutions is to develop a collaboration mechanism in order to become able to answer eventually to complex commercial opportunities that a single company can’t face alone. This partnership operation mode allows companies to focus on their job core and to optimize the use of their resources and often to avoid the potential distribution of their competencies. Thus, they agree to provide the necessary goods and services to cover a part of the demand, in a trust and sharing spirit with their partners, which have to build and improve themselves sometimes for periods more or less long. In this context, several characteristics of the partnership must be taken into account. Today the concept of interoperability is considered as one of the major challenges to be considered and mastered in any attempt of an inter-company collaboration, even within a company. Indeed, a failure of interoperability can induce the appearance of problems, dysfunctions and of slowdowns. More generally, a performance loss can induce a confidence loss between the partners. Thus, the analysis and the search for appropriate solutions for each partner, has now a strategic importance for every separate company, when it is involved in a collaborative process.

This research work attempts to answer to the on-demand cooperation problem or the dynamic cooperation defined as an occasional cooperation, without structural constraints in which the involved partners and their number are not predefined (Boukadi, Vincent, Ghedira, & Maamar, 2010). This definition is similar to the definition of virtual companies which are “formed within the context of a VBE (Virtual organizationsBreedingEnvironment), and they are dissolved once the triggering business opportunity is achieved. But, in this company category, we can also find long term networks, reflecting some of continuity in production or servicing, such as supply chains, collaborative transportation networks, collaborative smart grids, and so on. In this case, given the long life cycle, it is affordable to invest some time in the initial preparation phase and thus the existence of a VBE is not a pre-requisite for them.“ (Camarinha-Matos, 2014, p. 6).

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