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About this book

Digital Communities in a Networked Society: e-Commerce, e-Business and e-Government deals with the accelerating evolution in the computerization of society. This evolution, or should we call it a revolution, is dominantly driven by the Internet, and documented by the novelties introduced, year by year, by Information and Communication Technologies.
The book contains recent results of research and development in the areas of:
-Business models of e-applications,
-Innovative structures in the internet,
-Auctions and e-payment,
-Future aspects of communication,
-Internet and the web,
-Advanced platforms and grid computing,
-Cooperation and integration,
-Modeling and construction of e-services.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. E-Government — A Roadmap for Progress

E-government can transform and improve the entire scope of administrative action and the political processes. So e-government is both, vision of a future government and the reality we have to live with today. Sketching a roadmap may give us indications where we are heading. To begin with, e-government is not an objective per se; more it has to be seen as means in organizing public governance for better serving citizens and enterprises. This makes service provision essential. Reflecting the viewpoints of individual citizens (or of companies) is an obligation. When looking from outside, portals and forms of service delivery become key success factors. Moving ahead implies having an integrated view, clear strategies and concepts that are both innovative and feasible. Two guiding visions will have strong impacts on developments. First, a holistic approach is necessary to create work-processes and work-situations, as they are highly knowledge-intensive and rely on close forms of interaction between individual persons and IT. Next, knowledge enhanced government is a leading idea and management of legal/administrative domain knowledge becomes a decisive driver in governance. Designing for governmental applications touches several vital issues: transferring concepts and systems from the private to the public sector; making use of standards; safeguarding trust and security; enhancing usability. These lines have to be blended with an adequate management for change.

Roland Traunmüller, Maria Wimmer

Chapter 2. Reducing Normative and Informative Asymmetries in Fiscal Management for Local Administrations

Fiscal incomes are vital for Governments, both for central and local agencies, therefore on-line fiscal services will play a key role in the e-Government perspective. The creation of citizen-centered fiscal e-services, however, requires a new citizen-centered institutional and juridical context to be effective. The current Institution-centered scenario, based on the authoritative approach, is in fact unaware about the active citizens’ role in the e-Government perspective, as well as about the deep impact of the information and communication technologies in the citizen s’ everyday life. The paper describes how the extensive application of the regulative approach can be synergic to the extensive adoption of information technologies and user centered e-services to reduce these “normative-informative asymmetries”.

M. Carducci, M. A. Bochicchio, A. Longo

Business Models of e-Applications

Chapter 3. Who are the Internet Content Providers?

Identifying a realistic taxonomy of content providers in the online news sector

The Internet continues its growth as a medium for the sale of goods and services — and yet, although it would seem that digital content was one of the most obvious products for sale, content providers continue to struggle to find business models which will bring in adequate revenue. In this paper we initially review the literature on business models for digital content providers and note the wide variance in perspective amongst those writing in this field. Building on our work for the European Commission Sim Web project, we then consider the ways in which content providers in the online news industry actually operate and the ways in which they contribute to the content value chain, suggesting a framework of our own which suggests a continuum of business model types for content provision — ranging from “pure” content provision at one end to an extension beyond content itself to the provision of the technology needed to read content at the other end. We then elaborate on this framework, discussing the ways in which companies are making money from content provision in the online news industry, on the basis of a number of cases within the European market Finally, we discuss the possible directions other content providers might wish to take in this environment.

Cornelia C. Krueger, Paula M.C. Swatman

Chapter 4. Net Market Makers in the Australian B2B E-Space

This paper discusses the role of net market makers as intermediaries in the emergent Australasian B2B e-space. The discussion and findings of this paper are from a research project that investigated the business and operational issues of these intermediaries as highly volatile business entities. The findings include business opportunities arising from technology, revenue sources from intermediary services, factors contributing to success and the challenges of operating in an evolving and dynamic industry.

Mohini Singh

Chapter 5. The Success Strategies for Hybrid Business Model

The advent of Internet technologies has impacted the way we do business. It was once believed that the Internet would bring about a business revolution and all business would be e-business. However, the revolution of the Internet has not yet turned out to be anything we once thought it would be. There is evidenced indicating that not all businesses have transformed to online business and not all consumers prefer to engage in online activities. In fact, some consumers still prefer to engage in traditional business processes. The reality is a hybrid model, which is convergence of traditional and online methods. This paper aims to analyze hybrid consumer behavior and develop a theoretical model, which serves as a guideline to better understanding hybrid consumer behavior and their needs.

Savanid Vatanasakdakul, Eugene Lee Boon Kiat, Joan Cooper

Innovative Structures in the Internet

Chapter 6. Influence of Electronic Business Technologies on Supply Chain Transformation

Electronic business technologies enable to separate the information flow from the commodity flow in the supply chains. As a consequence, the information role of intermediary links in supply chains may be highly reduced. Only if customers are familiar with electronic business technologies, a manufacturer may conduct business processes electronically without the need of intermediaries as information providers. In the paper, a model with both real and virtual warehouses and direct shipments is analyzed. It is shown how such model may help to evolutionary shift business from a traditional to electronic one. A system of e-procurement e-MAX-ML deployed in Philips Lighting is discussed as an example of successful application of the described model.

Wojciench Cellary, Sergiusz Strykowski

Chapter 7. Product Platforms for the Media Industry

The concept of product platforms has already been successfully applied in various industries such as automobile and software. Advantages reach from cost savings due to the re-use of product components to the simplified individualization of products. In the media industry, the application of product platforms promises ample benefits due to the industry-specific first copy cost effect and the move towards production and distribution of digital goods. However, product platforms for the media industry have so far not been widely discussed. The paper on hand proposes a framework for the platform-based production and distribution of digital goods, which is customizable for different media business models. The heart of the platform is a repository, storing content modules and content meta data. Further, we distinguish different components for the input and output of content and the platform management, which can be assembled according to the requirements of an individual business model.

Lutz Koehler, Markus Anding, Thomas Hess

Chapter 8. Dynamic Management of Business Service Quality in Collaborative Commerce Systems

The importance of e-business services quality continues to increase, as the use of e-commerce to support business activities becomes a routine practice for many enterprises. Companies need robust, predictable and efficient services that they can rely upon. This paper explores ways of how e-business quality can be established, monitored, reported and managed. A review of the literature considers the work recently undertaken in both business-level quality of service (QoS) and the QoS issues at the infrastructure level, as well as the relationship between these two areas. From a practical research perspective, the work within the framework of the EU-funded LAURA project is presented. The key goal of this project is to facilitate interregional zones of adaptive electronic commerce using the potential of the ebXML architecture. A Dynamic QoS Management framework is proposed to inform the implementation of QoS and SLA concepts within the LAURA project.

Bob Roberts, Adomas Svirskas

Chapter 9. Software for the Changing E-Business

In this article, we first acknowledge the requirements for more rapid and cost-efficient development cycles and systems evolution for e-business software applications. Thereafter, we discuss the contemporary solutions used to meet the requirements. These include technological and organizational innovations, as well as commoditization. After that, we discuss attributes of an e-business application, i.e. the depth of modification, the sophistication of the modification method, operational continuity, and freedom from errors. These attributes are combined into a framework that is then used to evaluate four common e-commerce applications, a spreadsheet application and a novel dynamic e-commerce platform, also presented in this article. The dynamic e-commerce platform is proposed to be the most favorable solution in cases where system specifications change frequently.

Maria Alaranta, Tuomas Valtonen, Jouni Isoaho

Auctions and e-Payment

Chapter 10. Dynamic ROI Calculations for E-Commerce Systems

The introduction of eCommerce Systems poses a special challenge for estimating value payoffs in the face of uncertain future developments. Practitioners have difficulty to capture all or even some of the benefits of eCommerce Systems with existing traditional capital budgeting models. In this paper, we analyze and evaluate various ways of measuring the business value of eCommerce Systems, considering financial and non-financial, quantitative and qualitative, traditional and innovative models. We intend to identify boundaries of state of the art approaches of economic valuations and present new approaches which integrate the business value of eCommerce Systems into the traditional capital budgeting models. A case example shows an exemplarily approach for a dynamic modification of ROI calculations with the Customer Lifetime Value for CRM Systems.

Michael Amberg, Markus Hirschmeier

Chapter 11. μP: A Micropayment System

The development of electronic commerce has led to a new trend: the distribution of digital information. Micropayment systems come as an alternative, allowing the implementation of such transactions at low costs. This work introduces μP, a micropayment system based on central generation of electronic coins that are bought by and distributed among customers and easily verified — and thus accepted as payment — by electronic commerce vendors. It differentiates itself by generating a single group of tokens that can be used for shopping in all of these vendors. This process is performed concerning security and scalability requirements.

Pedro A. L. Mindlin, Christiane M. Schweitzer, Tereza Cristina M. B. Carvalho, Wilson V. Ruggiero

Chapter 12. Electronic Auctions in Finland

In this paper we explore the electronic auctions in Finland. We have investigated, on the supply side, the major auctions, especially looking at their auction types, business models and popularity. On the demand side, we have conducted a survey of students to seek out the demand for auctions. Our findings show that in a geographically and linguistically isolated market place several auction sites can survive, but there is too little demand to support electronic auctions as separate businesses.

Virpi Kristiina Tuunainen, Matti Rossi, Jussi Puhakainen

Future Aspects of Communication

Chapter 13. I-Centric Communications

This chapter introduces the rationales, the framework, and the architecture of I-centric Communications, a new paradigm to design and to develop telecommunication systems. I-centric Communications has been proposed by the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF) working group 2 based on numerous contributions from academia and industry world wide.

Radu Popescu-Zeletin, Stefan Arbanowski, Stephan Steglich

Chapter 14. A Communication Framework Towards Flexible Associations of Businesses in Evolving Environments

The Internet and electronic commerce have become indispensable for many of us. To adequately use the increasing amount of data available, attempts are made to extend data processing from a lexical view towards a multi-level view, including meaning and/or context (e.g., DAML, Web Services). The goal of this paper is to introduce a formal framework, which models communications from such a multi-level perspective. Therein, we discuss fundamental ideas of communication, such as agents involved and their respective structure. We integrate the concept of an agent’s adaptive behaviour in order to assure a high degree of understanding. The framework is illustrated using a practical example to depict its usefulness and how it may be further developed.

Hendrik Ludolph, Gilbert Babin, Peter Kropf

Chapter 15. Introducing New Business Models in Provision of QoS Networks

This paper presents a novel approach to setting services required inside and across IP networks known as Quality of Service provision. The first decade of 21st century is a turning point for the Internet provision business as the end users are the customers that will select a service with given or chosen Quality of Service. In the case of service providers that means facilitating dynamic creation of both the service and of the customization. This requires new business approach in form of business model known as mediation. Mediation enables smooth transition and satisfaction of the service requirement condition set up by the end user and the involved service providers. This paper provides insight in the business layer and the relevant business model that is introduced in IP networks enabling QoS provision. It describes briefly the developed model and its implementation within the re-engineered provider network.

Borka Džonova-Jerman-Blažič

Internet and the WEB

Chapter 16. The Semantic Web

The paper presents the vision of the Semantic Web and describes ontologies and associated metadata as the building blocks of the Semantic Web. Current research topics and promising application areas are discussed as well.

Rudi Studer, Sudhir Agarwal, Raphael Volz

Chapter 17. Web Personalization Based on User’s Trade-Offs

Current e-commerce personalization schemes do not take into account e-shoppers’ decision-making processes. Such schemes are typically driven by information from customers’ previous preferences or those of their peers. They do not employ any technique to understand how customers value (or perceive the value of) different product characteristics and use it in the personalization scheme. This paper discusses the use of economic theory on utility choices to unveil the e-shopper’s decision-making process and employ them to search for products and services with greater chances of being purchased. A methodology is suggested as well as its potential benefits to users and companies. Mainly, the approach has the potential to increase customer satisfaction, site revisits and sales. Additionally, the methodology provides the company with information on customers’ choice behaviour that can be used to improve businesses systems (e.g., product design, marketing).

Maria-Cleci Martins, Iria Garaffa, Maximiliano Kling

Chapter 18. XML Alone is not Sufficient for Effective WebEDI

WebEDI relies on the Internet infrastructure for exchanging documents among companies. Typically these documents are orders and invoices and can be exchanged by directly integrating the companies’ ERP systems or via Web application upload, download or typing of documents. XML is considered as a state-of-the-art way to reduce the complexity of managing the different data formats. Nevertheless, the XML standard alone does not offer the required semantics. When integrating a few companies, it is possible to hard code the semantics in the applications that process the documents. However, when integrating numerous different companies such a solution does not scale. The semantics has to be captured in a more flexible and scalable way. To cope with this necessity, simple ontologies are required to augment the data description.

Fábio Ghignatti Beckenkamp, Wolfgang Pree

Chapter 19. Institutional Websites Personalization Using Macro and Micro User Profiles

Institutional sites usually have a great volume of documents and a heavy navigation structure, requiring complex users browsing behavior. In order to allow users to find quickly and easily some information relevant to their usage it is imperative rethinking the structure of the site and the design of each individual page with relevant links to information concerning each user role, i.e., to be able to customize which information is more adequate for each user. This paper presents a personalization approach specifically designed for institutional sites, supporting personalization in two complementary levels, called respectively macro and micro user profiles. Basically, the macro user profile aims to model features related to organizational roles that are common to groups of users within the same organizational unit (for example, department, division, etc) whereas the micro user profile aims to concern preferences of specific individuals. The paper also presents the main aspects of our personalization approach, step by step explanation of an associated personalization engine and some preliminary results of an actual case study using the prototype built for its validation.

Paulo Sergio Rodrigues Lima, Marcelo Soares Pimenta

Advanced Platforms and Grid Computing

Chapter 20. The Grid: An Enabling Infrastructure for Future E-Business, E-Commerce and E-Government Applications

In this paper we discuss the utilization of grid computing platforms as an enabling infrastructure for e-commerce, e-government and e-business applications. First fundamental concepts related with grid computing are presented, as well as a description of the evolution of grid computing platforms from pioneer projects to third generation systems. Then we identify a set of services that can be provided by grid computing platforms which will be fundamental for future e-commerce, e-business and e-government applications, such as database access and integration and knowledge discovery services. We also discuss why the grid may be the platform of choice for providing such services in a geographically distributed area.

Fabrício Silva, Hermes Senger

Chapter 21. Inter-Organizational E-Services Accounting Management on Computational Grids

Accounting management is of strategic importance for a successful uptake of computational Grid technology within the user community. Computational Grid is one the most important paradigms for distributed computing and high-performance e-service provision. In this paper we present an architecture for accounting management of e-services on computational Grids which fully meets both the reliability and security requirements for accounting management architectures defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The presented solution, based on previous work successfully deployed in many italian public administrations, nicely fits with the overall Grid architectures and features a clear separation between management of the service and its control.

Franco Arcieri, Fabio Fioravanti, Enrico Nardelli, Maurizio Talamo

Chapter 22. A Web Services Provider

In this paper, we define a generic tool ‘Generic Serv’ that offers a’ service providers’ platform which facilitates the programming tasks of web application development. The system’s architecture is generalized to propose three patterns for business applications’ development. The paper is divided into two major parts. In the first one, we expose the motivation for the definition of the service provider, where we emphasize the architecture of the system and the arguments to choose such architecture. In the second part, we define the patterns based on this generic service provider.

Jean-Paul Bahsoun, Bilal Chebaro, Samar Tawbi

Chapter 23. Using Metamodels to Promote Data Integration in an E-Government Application Scenario

The increasing popularization of Internet has created unprecedented expectations and promises when dealing with a more intelligent use of the available data. This use is based on metadata and on a new dimension of metadata modeling techniques. An initiative supported by OMG culminated in the current MOF — Meta-Object Facility specification, which is an open standard with facilities to definition and manipulation of metadata and metamodel. This paper describes a metadata management system that is based on the MOF specification and presents one usage of this system in an egovernment scenario.

Adriana Maria C. M. Figueiredo, Aqueo Kamada, Luciano L. Damasceno, Manuel de Jesus Mendes, Marcos Antonio Rodrigues

Cooperation and Integration of e-Services

Chapter 24. A Service Oriented Approach to Interorganisational Cooperation

Many E-business applications are based on increased cooperation between various organisational units and partners. System support for such applications can be provided using concepts from the area of service oriented computing — thus lifting inter-organisational integration to a higher level of effectiveness and efficiency. E-services provide means for modularisation of arbitrary organizational assets into components that can be dynamically offered, discovered, negotiated, accessed, and composed in an open application environment. Technically, E-services are software systems that are implemented on top of conventional information and communication technology. As an important step into that direction, Web Services have laid the foundation for interoperable communication between arbitrary systems. This paper introduces an approach to plan, build, and run such application-level services efficiently. Therefore, a fundamental notion of service, originating from distributed systems, is being extended by a specific concept of cooperative interaction processes. Accordingly, an application-level service model and corresponding service engineering mechanisms are proposed and realised as system software middleware based on OGSA Web Services and BPEL4WS processes.

Christian Zirpins, Winfried Lamersdorf, Giacomo Piccinelli

Chapter 25. A Data and Event Oriented Workflow Process Definition Metamodel Coherent with the UML Profile for EDOC Systems

This paper presents a plausible mapping between the adopted UML Profile for EDOC systems and one of the submissions to the OMG’s Request for Proposal for a Workflow Process Definition Metamodel. Then, given that the proposed by DSTC Workflow Process Definition Metamodel does not consider the specification of events therefore in this paper it is suggested a new workflow process definition metamodel that include these aspects with a clear separation of the data and event oriented control flow dependencies and that is compatible with the UML Profile for EDOC systems. Furthermore, in order to build the proposed in this paper workflow definition metamodel as an UML profile, the new workflow metamodel is derived (stereotyped) from the UML 1.4 Activity Graphs. To introduce a representation that be computationally interpretable by a workflow engine a textual notation is introduced to represent a workflow process definition coherent with the proposed Workflow Process Definition Metamodel. As a proof of concept a simple prototype of a workflow engine able to interpret the textual representation of the workflow process definition was implemented in the Java language.

José A. Soto Mejía

Chapter 26. XML-Based E-Contracting

Under the research projects eLEGAL and OCTANE (funded by the IST programme of the European Commission), European companies have joined forces to develop a variety of tools and templates that are required to support forming and closing electronic contracts over the Internet without any media breaks. This article informs on some of the projects results.To explore practical business needs, scenarios are taken from different industries: on one side, construction companies and subcontractors enter a joint-venture to accomplish a construction project. In this setting, the e-contracting software is required to let partners compose contracts in an ad-hoc manner out of a clause database. A second scenario shows how bilateral agreements on data exchange relationships, data formats, or rules for information exchange can be made by using e-contracting tools.

Michael Merz

Chapter 27. ICT Support for Evolving Harmonization of International Alliances

International alliances are agreements between multiple countries to cooperate on trade, or other forms of economic activity, for mutual benefit. This paper focuses on how information and communication technologies (ICT) can support transaction efficiency and effective controls in the context of evolving international alliances. We concentrate on the potential for electronic procedures to manage the document flows automatically, in a fashion analogous to workflow systems within organizations. The key challenge, however, is how to support the evolution of these documentary procedures to match the dynamic structure of international alliances.

Ronald M. Lee, Elizabeth Dominguez Campillo

Chapter 28. Modeling Framework for E-Business Systems

Use of internet technologies has expanded rapidly from the initial profitoriented commercial systems to wide ranging business systems including administrative, governmental, non-profit oriented businesses, etc., which include intra-organizational and inter-organizational systems (IOS). All these systems are broadly referred as e-Business (e-Biz) Systems in this work. e-Biz systems are developed based on strategic alliances among the participating business systems to exploit the IT(information technology)-driven synergies. Emphasis in the traditional systems development methodologies is on process models, data models, event models, etc. of the business system under study where as in an e-Business system the emphasis is on modeling the strategic alliances between business systems and the integration architecture, and thus necessitating the need to model the strategic dependencies and relationships. Currente-Biz system development tools assume that the changes that are being caused by the technology to business systems’ goals and objectives, and nature and scope, are well understood, analyzed and documented ready for implementation by the developer. This assumption is not true. There is a requirement for an e-Biz system modeling methodology which facilitates modeling the strategic relationships, goals and objectives of partners of an eBusiness system, and which helps convert the conceptual strategic model to an implementation-oriented model. In this paper, an effort is made to develop such a methodology and demonstrate it using a case study.

Murali Mohan Narasipuram

Modeling and Construction of e-Services

Chapter 29. Reference Models for Advanced E-Services

Reference models (RMs) capitalize on the experience that key functions and relationships determine a system’s main design structure which has to be established before other design details can be settled. As such RMs can play an important role in designing complex (distributed) systems, in allocating design tasks to cooperating design teams and in facilitating their communication. These roles are also eminent in standardization. This paper discusses the need for precisely defined basic architectural concepts to construct RMs, building on experience with designing the OSI-RM. We apply these concepts in the design of a number of RMs for networked applications that provide advanced e-services.

Chris A. Vissers, Marc M. Lankhorst, Robert J. Slagter

Chapter 30. Mapping “Enterprise Business Architecture” to “Information Systems Framework”

Globalization accelerates worldwide Business Modularization, and Business Modularization cannot be achieved without the help of Internet. In this paper, we will clarify the role of Internet in Business Modularization, and will discuss the systematic methodology to leverage Enterprise Business Architecture, which is placed at the origin of Information Systems Development Lifecycle.

Atsushi Yamaguchi, Motoyuki Suzuki, Masanori Kataoka

Chapter 31. A Cots-Oriented Process for Constructing Adaptable E-Government Services

As many governments the world over are engaged in an e-Race to provide their citizens, business communities and public organizations (i.e. service consumers) with electronic public service delivery (EPSD) information systems, the number and type of devices that can be used to access these services is increasing all the time. The mobility of the service consumers over a wide geographical range raises new essential user and system requirements for EPSD systems. Therefore, in order to address the needs of the “mobile citizen”, this research proposes an infrastructure for developing EPSD systems that are designed to offer service consumers their individualized information or government services wherever they are, whatever time and whatever their connection point or access device used. In this approach, services are created by applications that are dynamically constructed and configured from a set of interconnected COTS-components with the service instances adapted to the access device used based on the context knowledge of the user, {time, location, access device} and the capability profile of the access channel. The systems are designed so as to cope with dynamic and evolving system and user requirements

Cornelius Ncube

Chapter 32. Analysis of the Relation between Service Parameters for Service Level Management and System Utilization

System utilization was investigated with the aim of selecting appropriate service parameters for defining the quality of information systems such as SLA (service level agreement). This investigation is based on the hypothesis that parameters having a strong influence on user satisfaction depend on how the system is used. Accordingly, the parameters for availability and responsiveness, which are known as the two major factors in SLA, were investigated. First, it is explained that parameters having a strong impact on user satisfaction are not common among information systems. Next, three parameters for availability (mean time between halt, mean time to restore, and both of them) and ones for responsiveness (mean time, maximum time, and variance) were introduced. To analyze the relation between these service parameters and system utilization, a questionnaire about system utilization was designed and administered to several experienced system engineers. Quantification theory type II was applied to the results of this questionnaire, and the validity of the hypothesis was demonstrated. The results also classified information systems into six groups in terms of availability and responsiveness. The characteristics of each system group were also clarified.

Masaharu Akatsu, Shoji Konno, Norihisa Komoda

Chapter 33. Use of Models and Modelling Techniques for Service Development

E-applications are increasingly being composed from individual services that can be realized with different technologies, such as, e.g., Web Services and standard component technologies. A current trend in the development of these services is to describe their technology-independent and technology-specific aspects in separate models. A prominent development that leads this trend is the Model-Driven Architecture (MDA). An important feature of the MDA approach is the explicit identification of Platform-Independent Models (PIMs) and the flexibility to implement them on different platforms via Platform-Specific Models (PSMs), possibly through (automated) model transformations. A platform can be any technology that supports the execution of these models, either directly or after translation to code in a programming language. This paper aims at identifying the benefits of the MDA approach in the development of services for e-applications. The paper presents a short introduction to MDA, in the context of service development, and an overview of the modelling capabilities of the Unified Modelling Language (UML), one of MDA’s main modelling languages.

Luís Ferreira Pires, Marten van Sinderen, Cléver Ricardo Guareis de Farias, João Paulo Andrade Almeida
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