Contract Driven Creation and Operation of Virtual Enterprises


Hoffner, Yigal and Field, Simon and Grefen, Paul and Ludwig, Heiko (2001) Contract Driven Creation and Operation of Virtual Enterprises. Computer Networks, 37 (2). pp. 111-136. ISSN 1389-1286

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Abstract:This paper examines the support needed for dynamically creating and managing contract-driven virtual enterprises. Our approach to virtual enterprises views contracts as the central theme that runs throughout the enterprises' life cycle and touches upon all major aspects thereof.
A Contract Framework integrates the concepts and entities necessary for the contract-centred support. A combination of Virtual Market technology and an advanced Matchmaking Engine (MME) facilitates the creation of service markets where matching business partners can find each other. The market facilitates the deferment of business partner selection and contract signing to the point when the need for the service arises. A set of pre-prepared Internal Enactment Specifications (IESs) provides the mapping of the contract to an organisational blueprint, specified in terms of the internal language, resources and infrastructure of each organisation. The blueprint provides a way of automating the configuration of the Contract Enactment Infrastructure (CEI) for the respective organisations. This complements the deferred selection of a business partner. Advanced CEI technology allows business processes to cross organisational boundaries while providing the consumer with a considerable degree of monitoring and control capability over the contracted service.
The integration of our proposed framework and approach supports the creation and management of highly dynamic service markets with automated, fine-grained interaction between organisations, thereby fulfilling the flexibility and efficiency requirements of modern e-business. The approach was used to implement a number of example scenarios and the conclusions drawn from this experience are presented.
Item Type:Article
Copyright:© 2001 Elsevier
Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS)
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