Enterprise integration

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Concept of enterprise integration Concept of Enterprise Integration.png
Concept of enterprise integration

Enterprise integration is a technical field of enterprise architecture, which focused on the study of topics such as system interconnection, electronic data interchange, product data exchange and distributed computing environments. [1]

Enterprise architecture (EA) is "a well-defined practice for conducting enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation, using a comprehensive approach at all times, for the successful development and execution of strategy. Enterprise architecture applies architecture principles and practices to guide organizations through the business, information, process, and technology changes necessary to execute their strategies. These practices utilize the various aspects of an enterprise to identify, motivate, and achieve these changes."

Electronic data interchange (EDI) is the concept of businesses electronically communicating information that was traditionally communicated on paper, such as purchase orders and invoices. Technical standards for EDI exist to facilitate parties transacting such instruments without having to make special arrangements.

Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A distributed system is a system whose components are located on different networked computers, which communicate and coordinate their actions by passing messages to one another. The components interact with one another in order to achieve a common goal. Three significant characteristics of distributed systems are: concurrency of components, lack of a global clock, and independent failure of components. Examples of distributed systems vary from SOA-based systems to massively multiplayer online games to peer-to-peer applications.


It is a concept in enterprise engineering to provide the relevant information and thereby enable communication between people, machines and computers and their efficient co-operation and co-ordination. [2]

Enterprise engineering is defined as the body of knowledge, principles, and practices to design all or part of an enterprise. An enterprise is a complex, socio-technical system that comprises interdependent resources of people, information, and technology that must interact with each other and their environment in support of a common mission. According to Kosanke, Vernadat and Zelm, enterprise engineering is an enterprise life-cycle oriented discipline for the identification, design, and implementation of enterprises and their continuous evolution, supported by enterprise modelling. Enterprise engineering is a subdiscipline of industrial engineering / systems engineering. The discipline examines each aspect of the enterprise, including business processes, information flows, material flows, and organizational structure. Enterprise engineering may focus on the design of the enterprise as a whole, or on the design and integration of certain business components.


Requirements and principles deal with determining the business drivers and guiding principles that help in the development of the enterprise architecture. Each functional and non-functional requirement should be traceable to one or more business drivers. Organizations are beginning to become more aware of the need for capturing and managing requirements. Use-case modeling is one of the techniques that is used for doing this. Enterprise Integration, according to Brosey et al. (2001), "aims to connect and combines people, processes, systems, and technologies to ensure that the right people and the right processes have the right information and the right resources at the right time". [3]

Enterprise Integration is focused on optimizing operations in a world which could be considered full of continuous and largely unpredictable change. Changes occur in single manufacturing companies just as well as in an "everchanging set of extended or virtual enterprises". It enables the actors to make "quick and accurate decisions and adaptation of operations to respond to emerging threats and opportunities". [3]


Evolution in Enterprise Integration: This figure summarizes these developments indicating the shift of emphasis from systems integration to enterprise integration with increasing focus on inter enterprise operations or networks. Evolution in Enterprise Integration.gif
Evolution in Enterprise Integration: This figure summarizes these developments indicating the shift of emphasis from systems integration to enterprise integration with increasing focus on inter enterprise operations or networks.

Enterprise integration has been discussed since the early days of computers in industry and especially in the manufacturing industry with computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) as the acronym for operations integration. In spite of the different understandings of the scope of integration in CIM it has always stood for information integration across at least parts of the enterprise. Information integration essentially consists of providing the right information, at the right place, at the right time. [4]

Computer-integrated manufacturing manufacturing approach of using computers to control the entire production process

Computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) is the manufacturing approach of using computers to control entire production process. This integration allows individual processes to exchange information with each other and initiate actions. Although manufacturing can be faster and less error-prone by the integration of computers, the main advantage is the ability to create automated manufacturing processes. Typically CIM relies of closed-loop control processes, based on real-time input from sensors. It is also known as flexible design and manufacturing.

Information integration (II) is the merging of information from heterogeneous sources with differing conceptual, contextual and typographical representations. It is used in data mining and consolidation of data from unstructured or semi-structured resources. Typically, information integration refers to textual representations of knowledge but is sometimes applied to rich-media content. Information fusion, which is a related term, involves the combination of information into a new set of information towards reducing redundancy and uncertainty.

In the 1990s enterprise integration and enterprise engineering became a focal point of discussions with active contribution of many disciplines. The state of the art in enterprise engineering and integration by the end of the 1990s has been rather confusing, according to Jim Nell and Kurt Kosanke (1997):

Kurt Kosanke is a German engineer, retired IBM manager, director of the AMICE Consortium and consultant, known for his work in the field of enterprise engineering, Enterprise integration and CIMOSA.

Workflow modelling, business process modelling, business process reengineering (BPR), and concurrent engineering all aim toward identifying and providing the information needed in the enterprise operation. In addition, numerous integrating-platforms concepts are promoted with only marginal or no recognition or support of information identification. Tools claiming to support enterprise modelling exist in very large numbers, but the support is rather marginal, especially if models are to be used by the end user, for instance, in decision support.

Enterprise integration topics

Enterprise modeling

In his 1996 book "Enterprise Modeling and Integration: Principles and Applications" François Vernadat states, that "enterprise modeling is concerned with assessing various aspects of an enterprise in order to better understand, restructure or design enterprise operations. It is the basis of business process reengineering and the first step to achieving enterprise integration. Enterprise integration according to Vernadat is a rapidly developing technical field which has already shown proven solutions for system interconnection, electronic data interchange, product data exchange and distributed computing environments. His book combines these two methodologies and advocates a systematic engineering approach called Enterprise Engineering, for modeling, analysing, designing and implementing integrated enterprise systems". [5]

Enterprise integration needs

With this understanding the different needs in enterprise integration can be identified: [4]

Identification and use of information

Generalised Enterprise Reference Architecture and Methodology (GERAM) Framework for Enterprise Integration. GERAM Framework.jpg
Generalised Enterprise Reference Architecture and Methodology (GERAM) Framework for Enterprise Integration.
Example of Enterprise integration: the US National Business Center's Human Resources Line of Business, Innovative Future Direction. NBC Enterprise Integration.gif
Example of Enterprise integration: the US National Business Center's Human Resources Line of Business, Innovative Future Direction.

Explicit knowledge on information needs during the operation of the enterprise can be provided by a model of the operational processes. A model which identifies the operational tasks, their required information supply and removal needs as well as the point in time of required information transactions. In order to enable consistent modelling of the enterprise operation the modelling process has to be guided and supported by a reference architecture, a methodology and IT based tools. [6]

The Generalised Enterprise Reference Architecture and Methodology (GERAM) framework defined by the IFAC/IFIP Task Force provides the necessary guidance of the modelling process, see figure, and enables semantic unification of the model contents as well. The framework identifies the set of components necessary and helpful for enterprise modelling. The general concepts identified and defined in the reference architecture consist of life cycle, life history, model views among others. These concept help the user to create and maintain the process models of the operation and use them in her/his daily work. The modelling tools will support both model engineering and model use by providing an appropriate methodology and language for guiding the user and model representation, respectively. [6]

Transfer of information

To enable an integrated real time support of the operation, both the process descriptions and the actual information have to be available in real time for decision support, operation monitoring and control, and model maintenance. [6]

The figure illustrates the concept of an integrating infrastructure linking the enterprise model to the real world systems. Integrating services act as a harmonising platform across the heterogeneous system environments (IT and others) and provide the necessary execution support for the model. The process dynamics captured in the enterprise model act as the control flow for model enactment. Therefore, access to information and its transfer to and from the location of use is controlled by the model and supported by the integrating infrastructure. The harmonising characteristics of the integrating infrastructure enables transfer of information across and beyond the organisation. Through the semantic unification of the modelling framework interoperability of enterprise models is assured as well. [6]

Enterprise Integration Act of 2002

The Public Law 107-277 (116 Stat. 1936-1938), known as the Enterprise Integration Act of 2002, authorizes the National Institute of Standards and Technology to work with major manufacturing industries on an initiative of standards development and implementation for electronic enterprise integration, etc. It requires the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish an initiative for advancing enterprise integration within the United States which shall: [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

Information engineering (IE), also known as Information technology engineering (ITE), information engineering methodology (IEM) or data engineering, is a software engineering approach to designing and developing information systems.


CIMOSA, standing for "Computer Integrated Manufacturing Open System Architecture", is an enterprise modeling framework, which aims to support the enterprise integration of machines, computers and people. The framework is based on the system life cycle concept, and offers a modelling language, methodology and supporting technology to support these goals.

A functional software architecture (FSA) is an architectural model that identifies enterprise functions, interactions and corresponding IT needs. These functions can be used as reference by different domain experts to develop IT-systems as part of a co-operative information-driven enterprise. In this way both software engineers and enterprise architects are able to create an information-driven, integrated organizational environment.


IDEF0, a compound acronym, is a function modeling methodology for describing manufacturing functions, which offers a functional modeling language for the analysis, development, reengineering, and integration of information systems; business processes; or software engineering analysis.

Extended Enterprise Modeling Language

Extended Enterprise Modeling Language (EEML) in software engineering is a modelling language used for Enterprise modelling across a number of layers.

Enterprise modelling

Enterprise modelling is the abstract representation, description and definition of the structure, processes, information and resources of an identifiable business, government body, or other large organization.

Semantic data model

Semantic data model is a high-level semantics-based database description and structuring formalism for databases. This database model is designed to capture more of the meaning of an application environment than is possible with contemporary database models. An SDM specification describes a database in terms of the kinds of entities that exist in the application environment, the classifications and groupings of those entities, and the structural interconnections among them. SDM provides a collection of high-level modeling primitives to capture the semantics of an application environment. By accommodating derived information in a database structural specification, SDM allows the same information to be viewed in several ways; this makes it possible to directly accommodate the variety of needs and processing requirements typically present in database applications. The design of the present SDM is based on our experience in using a preliminary version of it. SDM is designed to enhance the effectiveness and usability of database systems. An SDM database description can serve as a formal specification and documentation tool for a database; it can provide a basis for supporting a variety of powerful user interface facilities, it can serve as a conceptual database model in the database design process; and, it can be used as the database model for a new kind of database management system.[5]

Enterprise life cycle

Enterprise life cycle (ELC) in enterprise architecture is the dynamic, iterative process of changing the enterprise over time by incorporating new business processes, new technology, and new capabilities, as well as maintenance, disposition and disposal of existing elements of the enterprise.

NIST Enterprise Architecture Model Reference model of enterprise architecture

NIST Enterprise Architecture Model is a late-1980s reference model for enterprise architecture. It defines an enterprise architecture by the interrelationship between an enterprise's business, information, and technology environments.

Generalised Enterprise Reference Architecture and Methodology

Generalised Enterprise Reference Architecture and Methodology (GERAM) is a generalised enterprise architecture framework for enterprise integration and business process engineering. It identifies the set of components recommended for use in enterprise engineering.

François B. Vernadat is a French and Canadian computer scientist, who has contributed to Enterprise Modelling, Integration and Networking over the last 25 years specialising in enterprise architectures, business process modelling, information systems design and analysis, systems integration and interoperability and systems analysis using Petri nets.

Peter Bernus is a Hungarian Australian scientist and Associate Professor of Enterprise Architecture at the School of Information and Communication Technology, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.

James G. Nell American software engineer

James G. "Jim" Nell is an American engineer. He was the principal investigator of the Manufacturing Enterprise Integration Project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and is known for his work on enterprise integration.

ISO 19439

ISO 19439:2006 Enterprise integration—Framework for enterprise modelling, is an international standard for enterprise modelling and enterprise integration developed by the International Organization for Standardization, based on CIMOSA and GERAM.

Enterprise interoperability is the ability of an enterprise—a company or other large organization—to functionally link activities, such as product design, supply chains, manufacturing, in an efficient and competitive way.

Guy Doumeingts is a French engineer, Emeritus professor at the University of Bordeaux 1 and former Director of "Laboratoire d’Automatique, Productique Signal et Image" control theory, known for the development of the GRAI method and his contributions to the field of Enterprise modelling.

The history of business architecture has its origins in the 1980s. In the next decades business architecture has developed into a discipline of "cross-organizational design of the business as a whole" closely related to enterprise architecture. The concept of business architecture has been proposed as a blueprint of the enterprise, as business strategy, and also as the representation of business design.


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the National Institute of Standards and Technology website https://www.nist.gov .

  1. François Vernadat (1996). Enterprise Modeling and Integration: Principles and Applications, Chapman & Hall, London.
  2. CIMOSA Association e.V., About us. Accessed 16 Jan 2009.
  3. 1 2 W. D. Brosey et al. (2001). Grand Challenges of Enterprise Integration
  4. 1 2 J.G. Nell and Kurt Kosanke (1997). ICEIMT'97 International Conference on Enterprise Integration Modeling Technology. Accessed 07 Jan 2008.
  5. Announcing the first textbook on Enterprise Modelling and Integration Francois B. Vernadat (last update: 21.10.1996). Accessed 07 Jan 2008.
  6. 1 2 3 4 NIST (1997) Issues in Enterprise Integration
  7. Enterprise Integration Act of 2002.Accessed 07 Jan 2008.

Further reading