Project: A Semantic Service-Oriented Enterprise Application Integration Middleware Addressing the Needs of the European SMEs

In the past, the need for integration was driven by lower-level needs to share information among applications. Today, business drivers fuel the need for integration (Forrester, 2005) – the need for business to respond to regulatory challenges, improve business process execution, grow employee productivity, and improve customer service is a hallmark driving organizations to integrate applications. In response to these new requirements, the integration market landscape is shifting. Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs), business process management (BPM), composite applications, and other new application requirements have become the driving force in the market (Forrester, 2004). Integration of enterprise applications (EAI) is the new direction of application development. Rather than create new, separate programs, vendors are starting to integrate existing applications to better use, share, and allocate resources within an organization. Together with BPM and business-to-business integration (B2B), IT departments around the globe are linking business needs to IT abilities._x000D__x000D_The currently available enterprise application integration software address integration problems for example in the following ways (Friesen et al., 2007): a) graphically supporting the mapping of systems’ interfaces to each other (e.g. SAP XI), b) reducing complexity using intermediate data-exchange languages (e.g. XML) or c) reducing the number of connection adapters needed through the introduction of hubs (e.g. Enterprise Bus). These efforts entail significant costs and typically due to the “lack of automated support in defining integration, it takes a long time for a human engineer to define semantically correct integration” (Bussler, 2003). Moreover, the typical integration solutions that are manufactured by leading IT vendors (e.g. IBM, Oracle) are suitable for large-scale deployments which is not the case for the more than 20 million European SMEs, representing the 99,8% of businesses across the enlarged Europe (Eurochambres, 2007)._x000D__x000D_Current industrial EAI trends and technologies, like SOA, Enterprise Bus and Web Services, are up to now quite mature. However, if we try to increase the level of automation in integration scenarios, we confront several problems and challenges (Bouras et al., 2007), such as a) data and message level heterogeneities between interoperating services, b) insufficient search and discovery of published Web Services in a common registry, and c) inadequate Web Process composition with regard to the desired functionality and operational requirements. The problem that still exists, which the traditional, syntactic EAI technologies are weak to solve, refers to the formalization and the documentation of the semantics related to the interfaces and the data structures of the deployed Web Services._x000D__x000D_We claim that recent innovations in the deployment of Semantically-enriched Service-Oriented Architectures, which enlarge the notion of SOA by applying Semantic Web Service technology and using ontologies and semantic web mark up languages to describe data structures and messages passed through web service interfaces (Haller et al., 2005), will provide a dynamically reconfigurable architecture that will enable enterprises (especially SMEs) to respond quickly and flexibly to market changes._x000D__x000D_Following the above mentioned research needs, the SEMANTIX project aims at the effective business collaboration and interconnection between SMEs by developing an innovative framework and middleware for the semantic integration of service-oriented enterprise applications that are likely to exist within an enterprise or in several collaborating companies. Thus, the SEMANTIX project will have a four-fold focus:_x000D_1. to develop an innovative interoperability framework and middleware for the semantic service-oriented integration of heterogeneous enterprise applications (especially ERP and CRM), platforms and languages within SMEs;_x000D_2. to develop a conceptually sound semantic infrastructure for providing a shared and common understanding of data, services and processes that exist within an EAI problem doCO;_x000D_3. to provide both technical- and business- wise validation of the research results and prototype by developing proof-of-concept business integration demonstrators realizing collaborative business scenarios across supply chains and value networks; and_x000D_4. to facilitate the take-up of the research results and pre-production prototype by the European SMEs Market, though escalating exploitation activities, including (apart from clustering and dissemination) business models definition, business demonstrators development and validation, market validation and assessment, and deployment and business planning._x000D__x000D_The SEMANTIX consortium consists of three Ps (from three European countries – Greece, Turkey and Romania) including COly RTD Performing Software SMEs with significant experience in the field of business software and systems integration.

Acronym SEMANTIX (Reference Number: 4311)
Duration 01/07/2009 - 31/12/2011
Project Topic The SEMANTIX project aims at the effective collaboration and interconnection between SMEs by developing an innovative framework and middleware for the semantic integration of service-oriented business applications that are likely to exist within an enterprise or in several collaborating companies.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 1

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 LOGO Yazilim Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. Coordinator Turkey
3 REALIZE S.A. Partner Greece