Inter-organizational Business Processes: On Redundancies in Document Exchanges

R. Engel, J. Rantham Prabhakara, C. Pichler, M. Zapletal, C. Huemer, H. Werthner:
"Inter-organizational Business Processes: On Redundancies in Document Exchanges";
Vortrag: 15th International Conference on Electronic Commerce (ICEC 2013), Turku, Finland; 13.08.2013 - 15.08.2013; in:"Effective, Agile and Trusted eServices Co-Creation", Turku Centre for Computer Science, TUCS Lecture Notes 19 (2013), S. 51 - 66.

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Current business document standards, such as EDIFACT, are defined in an all-embracing manner and, thus, usually include several thousands of elements. This is due to the fact that a standardized document type represents a superset of all data elements required in any industry, in any geopolitical region, etc. Furthermore, standardized document types are defined as stand-alone documents, similar to paper-based documents, comprising all information from previous process steps. In other words, standardization neglects the notion of processes by repeating information in different documents of the same process. In this paper, we propose a methodology for assessing redundancies in business document exchanges and evaluate different real-world industry message implementation guidelines (MIGs) with respect to their efficiency in reducing complexity and redundancies. Insights on redundancies can help companies and standardization committees to improve designs of MIGs and entire EDI standards. Furthermore, one can use the concepts presented in this paper to compare different MIGs with regard to their (dis)similarities, which might be useful when two organizations are to be merged and their IT systems consolidated.