Invited Talk

Community Building and the Enterprise Interoperability Centre (EIC)

 Man-Sze Li, Action Line B Coordinator, ATHENA

Interoperability is not a new subject area. Interoperability is also a broad subject. In so far as information technology is interwoven into the fabric of virtually all sectors of the economy, the requirement for interoperability is not confined to particular organisations, areas of work, disciplines, or segments of activity in society. Conversely, lack of interoperability has serious costs at all levels of economic activities, and significant implications for all organisations regardless of their sphere of operation or size.

Despite many years of efforts, interoperability activities remain largely fragmentary. Europe still has some way to go in building consensus on specifications, services, practices and benchmarks for business, enterprise knowledge, and systems interoperability. A practical, long-term and sustained approach and commitment is needed to help organisations develop the knowledge, infrastructure and services for the operation and management of interoperability of organisations. From a business perspective, solutions of interoperability need to add value to existing assets and investments, and solve problems as experienced by the organisations concerned. Innovation needs to be underpinned by a value proposition that is credible, affordable and sustainable. In parallel, the on-going transformation and re-structuring of many industrial sectors has significant and rising implications for the way in which organisations compete and collaborate with one another, which in turn poses new challenges for interoperability at multiple levels.

The transfer of research results to industry and producing visible impact in the market is a long term endeavour. Secondly, such an endeavour is effective where there is a critical mass of stakeholders who are willing to adopt the research results and invest in the solutions. The ATHENA Integrated Project has initiated the EIC as an independent (both legally and financing), permanent organisation to outreach to individual industry sectors for disseminating, catalysing and mobilising the development and use of interoperable solutions that meet the business needs. The focus will be on the market and business impact. Through its activities, the EIC is envisaged to contribute to and influence technical, research, standardisation and policy developments. All stakeholders in interoperability, in both private and public sectors, are invited to join the EIC as members, who will be equal partners.

The EIC is the action relating to e-business interoperability in the EUís updated eEurope 2005 Action Plan for implementing the Lisbon Strategy. The policy principles of openness, neutrality and transparency will be enshrined in the EICís formal governance and day-to-day operations. 

This presentation will address the following main areas:

o         Business perspective of and expectations from interoperability, based on work relating to the initial EIC target industry sectors and planned service offering

o         Value proposition of community building in interoperability

o         Collaboration between the research and business communities: some experiences and suggestions

Invited speaker CV

Man-Sze Li is Director of IC Focus Ltd, UK, a holding company of her e-commerce and e-business interests and activities. 

Previous positions include Chief Technical Officer of CommerceWorks Group, Managing Director e-Commerce of Portfin Group, Senior Consultant of Level-7 (now part of PeopleSoft) and of Ovum, Assistant Director EDI Standards at the Simpler Trade Procedures Board (SITPRO) of the UK Department of Trade & Industry, and Group Head of CIT Research.  She received accountancy training at KPMG. In addition to being a practitioner, she has donated time and money to Internet start-ups in a variety of capacities.

She was a founding technical expert of the international EDI standard UN/EDIFACT in the 1980s. She was also a founding technical expert of Open Information Interchange, an initiative of the European Commission, in the 1990s. From 1992 to 2004 she founded and was the elected chair of successive European standardization committees at CEN in EDI, e-commerce and then e-business. She has been a member of various committees at BSI, CCTA (now OGC), CEN, CENELEC, ETSI, ICTSB, ISO, UN/ECE, UNESCO and European Commission concerning various aspects of ICT.

She currently serves on a number of international and European committees including the eEurope Advisory Group Second Section and the EU-US eGovernment Research Collaboration Group. She is also currently Coordinator of Community Building of the EU FP6/IST ATHENA Integrated Project which focuses on interoperability for enterprises. She leads the activity on business interoperability research in ATHENA. She is closely involved in the establishment of the Enterprise Interoperability Centre being initiated by ATHENA, which constitutes an Action of the EUís updated eEurope 2005 Action Plan. In addition, she was an initiator of the European Network of National Test-beds for eBusiness (ETeB) and serves on its Core Group and Programme Management.

She has published over 100 papers on technology and business issues and been a speaker/chair at over 200 events. She has co-authored 2 books and is a regular reviewer for academic journals.

Man-Sze is a graduate in Politics, Philosophy & Economics of Oxford University. She undertook post-graduate studies in Political Science at the London School of Economics.