2nd International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems

Staffordshire University, Stafford UK

5 -7 July 2000

Keynote Speakers include

Professor Albert M. K. Cheng

University of Houston and Rice University, U.S.A

E-commerce and its Real-Time Requirements (Modelling E-commerce as a Real-Time System)


E-commerce is a product of the Internet, often known as the fourth information revolution (following writing in Mesopotamia 5000 years ago, the written book in China 3300 years ago, and Gutenberg's printing in 1455). The keynote will address the e-commerce revolution and its requirements. Instead of the traditional bipartite business supply chains linking suppliers and customers, e-supply chains connect suppliers and consumers alike directly to an on-line market place using the Internet, forming a ``star'' Internet/Web-centric commerce system. This effectively shifts the balance of power from vendors to consumers, making the need for responsive and adaptive just-in-time business models more critical.

The current state of e-commerce is fuelled by a massive number of developments in industry, government, and academia. Some of these efforts are complementary while others are divergent. This talk will discuss the technical requirements of e-commerce, such as integration, interoperability, scalability, reliability, accessibility, timeliness, and security. In particular, the presentation will show how e-commerce can often be modelled by a real-time system and hence solutions to these requirements can be more readily formulated. A real-time system must guarantee (1) the on-time delivery of results (on-time delivery of products and services to customers in e-commerce); (2) the secure delivery of these results (secure transactions in e-commerce); adaptive execution (feedback and updates in customer relations in e-commerce); and (3) fault-tolerant execution (reliable and accessible 24-hour e-commerce).

Biographical Notes

Dr. Albert M. K. Cheng received the B.A. with Highest Honors in Computer Science, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, the M.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Electrical Engineering, and the Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1990, all from The University of Texas at Austin, where he also held a GTE Foundation Doctoral Fellowship. Dr. Cheng is currently a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Houston--University Park, where he is the founding Director of the Real-Time Systems Laboratory. He has served as a technical consultant for several organisations, including IBM. During the summer 1995, he was a visiting faculty at the City University of Hong Kong.

Dr. Cheng is also currently a visiting faculty at Rice University. His research interests include real-time systems, rule-based expert systems, reliable software systems, multimedia tools, and fault-tolerant distributed and parallel systems. One of his recent work presents a timing analysis of the X-38 Space Station Crew Return Vehicle Avionics, which contains a fault-tolerant distributed system.

He is the author/co-author of over fifty refereed publications; he is serving and has served on the program committees of many conferences in his areas of research. He is a frequent reviewer for the IEEE-CS Publications Office as well as for many journals and conferences.

Dr. Cheng has received numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation Research Initiation Award (now known as the NSF CAREER award), the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Advanced Research Program Award, and the University of Houston Research Initiation Grant. He has been nominated for the 1999 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award by his students and colleagues for his outstanding teaching. He is a member of the honor societies of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Upsilon Pi Epsilon, Beta Alpha Phi, and Golden Key. He has been invited to present seminars and tutorials at many conferences including IEEE CAIA, IEEE COMPASS, IEEE PDIS, IEEE SAST, IEA/AIE, SEKE, IEEE CBMS, IEEE IC3N, ICCIMA, EIS, ICPDCS, IEEE ICECCS, IEEE IPCCC, IEEE MASCOT, ACM SAC, ICEIS, IEEE ICMCS, IEEE ISSRE, ACM CIKM, and IEEE IECON; and has given invited seminars/keynotes at many universities and organizations. He is the invited special session/panel chair for the software engineering for multimedia session at the 1999 IEEE-CS Intl. Conf. on Multimedia Computing Systems. He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, a Guest Co-Editor of an upcoming IEEE TSE Special Issue on Software and Performance (2000), and a Guest Editor of a special issue on Real-Time AI of IEEE Intelligent Systems (2000).

Dr. Cheng is a Senior Member of the IEEE.

Bob Dunsby

Manager Corporate Pre-Sales Oracle, UK

Serving the Demands of E-Business


This presentation will examine the role of Databases and Application Servers in supporting Internet Computing and E-Business infrastructures. Traditional issues such as

scalability, availability will be explored along side issues surrounding security, universal access and mid tier caching. Bob will build on the established history of Oracle in the database marketplace and will examine the opportunities that the internet has given both his own company and others. The discussion will cover the technologies surrounding exchanges, portals and both ERP and CRM applications.

Biographical notes

Bob has over 17 years of experience in the IT industry the last 12 of which have been spent with Oracle Corporation UK. While at Oracle Bob has worked in both Customer Service, Development and Sales Supports environments specialising in the use of Oracle Database and Internet technologies. Bob's current position at Oracle is the management of specialised teams of Pre Sales consultants.

Dr Thomas Greene

Massachusetts Institute of Technology – LCS

A New World for the Enterprise -- E-Commerce and Open Sources


The people gathered at this conference are working on very hard problems, but some of the assumptions upon which solutions to these problems are based have radically changed over the past few years, raising questions of who we are designing for and what tools we are using.

Because enabling information technologies are now connecting corporate decision makers directly to information sources at the operations level, traditional pyramid structures are flatter. The internal enterprise information structures have smaller middle management. The change in the external pyramid where consumers were at the bottom of the pyramid has also changed. Now the consumer express opinions and make purchases with a mouse click, not at the end of a direct marketing campaign. For many systems, the success criteria is becoming how many clicks can an enterprise information system generate. In this hour we will examine several issues arising from the new "consumer rules" E-commerce imperative.

Second open source software and vendor standards means that software customers are able to quickly change directions in their system development. For example many information systems that would have been closed by use of a proprietary web server are still kept open to change because they use an open source server as a system foundation. How can Apache be the most widely used server and Linux be a widely used operating system when the basic code is not wrapped up and maintained by a group of companies or a single company? Can global groups of volunteers give away ideas and build systems that out perform thousands of well paid professionals in traditional corporations?

What do the facts of the E-Commerce imperatives and the widespread use of open source programs mean for those of us who must create new systems of information to serve our enterprises?

Biographical notes

Thomas Greene is the Information Officer and member of the Research Staff of the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science. He has managed a variety of special projects for the Laboratory. The most recent projects are the revision of the public web and the logistics of LCS35, an international LCS event. Other projects have included working with Tim Berners-Lee, to establish the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at LCS: this included building both the consortium membership base and the world wide employee team. Prior to that he managed the MIT-LCS Project SCOUT 128 node CM5 supercomputer, used by LCS members and other scientists at MIT, Harvard and Boston University.

Before joining MIT-LCS in 1986, Greene was a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Petroleum & Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, where he also established the Department of Computer Science in the Engineering College. He has been a visiting Scientist at Stanford University, IBM Cambridge Scientific Centre and the NASA manned spacecraft centre. Greene completed his PhD in Theoretical Physics at the University of Toledo in 1973. His publications have been in physics and in Computer Science.
  Dr Robert Ghanea-Hercock

British Telecom, UK

Agents - The Future of Intelligent Communications


The future of Telecommunication systems will be dominated by computer enhanced mobile communication devices i.e. Communicators, capable of delivering voice, multimedia, and computing functionality to the mobile user. Such devices will become the primary interface to telecommunications and Internet networks within 2 years, outnumbering the traditional desktop computer interface. This paper discusses why mobile software agents are an ideal technology to support and enhance the operation of such devices; for example by providing transparent network management and support for mobile E-commerce. The paper also reviews the commercial value agent based technologies can facilitate.

Biographical Notes

Robert Ghanea-Hercock joined BT Intelligent Systems Research group in September 1997 after completing a PhD in Autonomous Mobile Robots at Salford University. From 1994 to 1997 he was employed as a Research Assistant investigating co-operation between mobile robots. He completed an MSc in Real-Time Electronic Systems in 1992 at Bradford University and a First class BSc in Physics and Electronic Engineering at Keele University in 1991. His research publications include Non-Linear dynamics, Artificial Life, Fuzzy Logic and Intelligent Agent Systems. Current research at BT is focused on investigating Mobile Agent systems, and he has filed several international patents in this field.


Professor John Mylopoulos

University of Toronto, Canada

Agent-Oriented Information System Development


Traditionally, software development techniques for information systems have been process- and data-driven in the sense that the fundamental concepts used to define and analyse software during requirements analysis and design have been those of "process" and "data". This observation applies equally well to structured as well as object-oriented analysis and design techniques.

We speculate on what a software development methodology might look like if it was founded on the notions of "actor" (who can be an agent, a position, or a role) and "goal". For our study we adopt Eric Yu's i* modelling framework and show how one can model and analyse early and late requirements, architectural and detailed design. The proposed methodology fits well current work on agent-oriented programming frameworks.

Biographical Notes

John Mylopoulos is professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, Canada. His research interests include knowledge representation and conceptual modelling. His work has covered topics such as the development of requirements and design languages for information systems, the adoption of database implementation techniques for large knowledge bases and the application of knowledge base techniques to software repositories. He is currently leading a number of research projects and is principal investigator of both national and provincial Centres of Excellence for Information Technology.

Mylopoulos received his Ph.D. degree from Princeton University in 1970. His publication list includes more than 170 refereed journal and conference proceedings papers as well as seven books. He is the recipient of the first ever Outstanding Services Award given out by the Canadian AI Society (CSCSI), a co-recipient of the most influential paper award of the 1994 International Conference on Software Engineering, a fellow of the American Association for AI (AAAI) and is currently serving as elected president of the VLDB Endowment. He has served on the editorial boards of several international journals, including the ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (TOSEM), the ACM Transactions on Information Systems (TOIS), the VLDB Journal and Computational Intelligence.

Ian Ritchie

Immediate Past-President of the British Computer Society, UK

Making the most of your Knowledge


In the past, organisations which have prospered have been the ones which have made the optimal use of plant and equipment, or of their sales and marketing muscle. In recent decades the financial strength and flexibility of companies have become more significant. Over the next few decades, these factors will become subservient to another powerful strength, exploited by the most successful organisations. That strength will be the knowledge which they possess.

In order to remain truly competitive, organisations must now begin to marshal the skills and experience - the knowledge - which is held in the heads of their employees, and to maximise the benefits of identifying, sharing, and making key knowledge explicit. Ian Ritchie's presentation will look at developments in 'knowledge management' and what it means for future effectiveness.

Biographical notes

Ian Ritchie (49) was actively involved in the start-ups of, and serves as the non-executive Chairman of: Voxar Ltd, Orbital Ltd, and Multicosm Ltd; and deputy Chairman of VIS Interactive plc. He is also on the board of Channel 4 Television Corporation, Scottish Enterprise, Northern Venture Trust plc, Indigo Active Vision Systems Ltd, and EPIC Group plc.

He was the founder and CEO (from 1984) of OWL, the pioneering hypertext technology company based in Edinburgh and Seattle, which was sold to Panasonic in 1989. He is the immediate past-President of the British Computer Society and a Chartered Engineer.

Ronald Stamper

Emeritus Professor of Information Management, University of Twente in the Netherlands

Information Requirements are Human, Computers only Machines: MEASUR’s Rigorous Methods Based on Social Norms


Surely we need a revolution! By far the greater part of IS costs are non-technical and most IS failures stem from poor understanding of organisational requirements and preparation for change. After a revolution through 180 degrees we might stand facing the organisation and realise that the computer can do no more than efficiently manipulate meaningless syntactic structures. The most efficient circulation and processing of information are valueless unless it conveys meanings and express intentions that can influence the responsible people.

MEASUR uses these italicised concepts to find the human information requirements in a precise form, and even deliver a default version of the technical system. First, Problem Articulation Methods support teams of users to devise solutions, prepare the organisational changes and plan the project. The computer will fit into a part of the system, which is then subjected to detailed Semantic Analysis. From the resulting Semantic Normal Form (SNF) a default implementation can be generated.

The practical benefits of MEASUR are many. Users can understand, criticise and improve the specifications that are 20th of the normal volume. This reduces the risk of not meeting organisational needs – the reason why 60% of systems fail. Development, support and maintenance costs are slashed by a factor of ten. The components of the design are reusable and the system can be implemented by a Just-in-Time strategy because of the stability of the specification. The design of the organisation has no technical elements so it provides an ideal basis for an outsourcing contract. The methods can even be applied to drafting the contract because they are based on an understanding of social and legal norms.

Underlying MEASUR is the idea of Information Fields. Each of these is group of people operating according to the same norms. An organisation consists of many overlapping Information Fields. The norms govern the information requirements: the meanings, intentions, responsibilities and influence exerted. By comparison, the technical matters are mere details, although we spend all our time on them.

The lecture will illustrate the methods.

Biographical notes

Ronald Stamper studied at Oxford University, pioneered computing and operational research methods in hospital administration and then the steel industry, where he created the first UK courses in systems analysis geared to improving user performance rather than computer sales. In 1969 he moved to the London School of Economics, and in 1988 to the University of Twente in the Netherlands of which he is now Emeritus Professor of Information Management.

Frustrated by the emphasis on IT without a corresponding concern for information resources, he published "Information" (1973) using semiotics, the theory of signs to provide a better balance of ideas in the new discipline. He regards organisations as the only real information systems, where users need information and only nerds really need IT. He therefore researched norm-governed, human behaviour using legal norms as empirical material; hence his pioneering work in computers and law and in semantics. This research led to the MEASUR methods.

MEASUR restores control of IT to management, massively reduces costs of development, support and maintenance, and minimises documentation. Its Semantic Normal Form (SNF) consists of re-usable elements, producing high quality designs that accommodate organisational change with no major technical reorganisation.

Ontological dependency is his most important theoretical contribution, the basis of the SNF and the core of MEASUR. He is currently completing two books: "Information and the Open Society" and "Semantic Analysis".

Professor Colin J Theaker
Visiting Professor, Staffordshire University
Engineering Manager, Terrafix Ltd

"Industry Strength" – Its true meaning for high-tech SMEs.

This presentation covers the very critical issue of how advanced technologies can be taken out of the academic domain and adopted by modern IT industries. Around 90% of European companies fall within the category of being a Small to Medium sized Enterprise (SME). These have very different constraints with respect to the adoption of new technologies than do the large multi-national companies with a large R&D budget. In particular, the impact of making the wrong choice of technologies is more far reaching. There is a critical balance between choosing technologies at the leading edge that may yield competitive advantage, or backing technologies that fail to fulfil their promise and lead to significant financial loss, which consequentially may result in the downfall of the company.

The concept of "Industry Strength" is therefore of particular strategic importance when applied to technologies, techniques and tools to be adopted by an SME. This case study looks at the way a high technology company, involved in real time, safety critical and mission critical systems has approached the adoption of new technologies. The paper covers the choice of paradigms, the methods adopted and the tools to support the methods. The technologies include object orientation; as embodied through UML as a design method; JAVA as a language for systems development; and the tools to support systems implementation. Configuration management systems are included for overall version control and project management. A metrics programme has also been introduced within the Company to measure the impact of these technologies within a real-life environment. This paper presents a systematic and ongoing analysis of the impact of new technologies within a small enterprise seeking to maintain its position at the leading edge of technology.

Biographical notes

Throughout his career of over 30 years in computing, Colin has always maintained a balance between the quest for knowledge from within academia, and needs of the ‘real world’, as demonstrated by the IT industries world-wide. For 17 years he worked at Manchester University on the large research machines being developed within the Department. He was responsible for the operating system development and other system software used on the MU5 multi-computer system. This led in two research directions, including the design of new computer architectures and the development of a portable system software suite, including compilers, operating system and supporting tools, which ultimately were implemented on a very wide range of computer architectures and processors. These were used on ICL systems, Sperry Univac (Unisys) machines, and also specialist systems for CAD and CAM produced by Computervision, among others.

During a seven-year period at UMIST, Colin had the responsibilities for developing the provision in Microelectronics and Computer Systems engineering. This included the formation of a new award-winning centre from cognate disciplines in Computing and Electronics Engineering, including the establishment of specialist laboratories for multi-disciplinary engineers. On the research front, the focus became one of design for fitness for purpose, HCI and the importance of tools for effective multi-disciplinary design (including users, hardware, software).

In 1992, Colin was appointed as Professor of Computing and Associate Dean at Staffordshire University, ultimately responsible for the research and development within the largest department of Computing in the UK. His research continued, both in terms of educational development and systems design methodologies. In September 1999, he moved to a company with whom he had a long standing professional relationship in developing real-time command and control systems, while also retaining the tile of Visiting Professor at Staffordshire University.

Colin has held many positions within UK professional bodies, including the Engineering Council, IEE and BCS. In 1998, he was appointed Honorary Fellow of the BCS for his work on Accreditation, Professional Board and in particular for his contribution as Chairman of the Examinations Board.