32nd Hawaii International Conference
on System Sciences
Maui, Hawaii - January 5-8, 1999
32nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Maui, Hawaii - January 5-8, 1999
Emphasis these days is on business-to-business E-Commerce applications: taking orders, scheduling shipments, providing customer service and so on. However, present E-Commerce implementations automate only a small portion of the electronic transaction process. Moreover, E-Commerce is hampered by closed (self-contained) markets that cannot use each other's services, incompatible frameworks that cannot interoperate or build upon each other, and a bewildering collection of security and payment protocols. In general, E-Commerce applications do not yet provide the robust transaction, messaging and data access services typical of contemporary client/server applications. While there is considerable interest in developing robust Internet applications, protection of significant investments in client/server technology and interoperation with mainframe transaction servers and legacy systems is a serious requirement.
The purpose of this mini-track is to cover enabling technologies, critical technical approaches and business-centered design methodologies that address shortcomings of contemporary E-Commerce applications and that can have a major impact on the evolution of business-to-consumer and mainly of business-to-business E-Commerce. Emphasis is given to distributed systems technologies and in particular how these meet the requirements of business (vertical) applications that span locational as well as organizational boundaries.
Submit eight (8) of the full manuscript by June 1, 1998, to the following address:
(HICSS-32: Minitrack on Electronic Commerce Technologies)
Department of Informatics, University of Athens
Panepistimiopolis, TYPA Buildings
Ilisia 157 71, Athens, GREECE
University of Athens, Department of Informatics
Panepistimiopolis, TYPA Buildings
GR-157 71 Athens Greece
Tilburg University, Director INFOLAB,
P.O. Box 90153, 5000
LE Tilburg, The Netherlands
The field of E-Commerce draws upon most of the sub-disciplines of computer science, therefore research issues spanning across these sub-disciplines should be brought together to build truly robust and scalable systems. The papers presented in this minitrack address most of the important issues of this multidisciplinary area and are briefly described in the following.
The first three papers, address security issues. Internet is largely insecure; the lack of anonymous secure payment transfer protocol is the main barrier to promoting business activities on the web. Smart card technology offers a set of valuable features such as identification, security and authenticity for many different applications, especially for payment transactions. P.C.K. Hung and K. Karlapalem in their paper entitled “Security and Privacy Aspects of SmartFlow Internet Payment System” present the SmartFlow system which integrates existing technology of smart card, internet and workflow to demonstrate a new prototype for secure off-line micro-payment transaction environment by applying untraceable electronic money on the internet. Protocols used for security enforcement and techniques for maintaining privacy are outlined.
G. Pernul and A.W. Roehm in their paper entitled “COPS: A Model and Infrastructure for Secure and Fair Electronic Markets” address the security issue from another perspective. They claim that, although there are solutions in some areas – e.g. EDI for a flexible data exchange, SET for electronic payment, cryptography for ensuring some degree of security and privacy, mechanisms for digital signatures, contracting tools or electronic agents for negotiation support – they do not gain the users interest or trust so far, because, what users really want is integrated tools guaranteeing privacy, security and fair trade, embedded in a legal system that protects from fraud. They also claim that users, especially suppliers, want to freely choose and eventually change after some time the market structure in which they are trading their digital goods. In order to satisfy these needs, they developed the COPS (Commercial Protocols and Services) infrastructure which is described in their paper. COPS consists of basic and complex services and protocols in order to provide for secure and fair electronic markets.
Another important issue when dealing with security on the internet has to do with access to shared resources. E. Cheng in his paper “An Object-Oriented Organizational Model to Support Dynamic Role-Based Access in Electronic Commerce Applications” claims that access to shared resources has to be in the context of the entire business process, and it is necessary to model dynamic roles as a function of resource attributes and contextual information. He presents an Object-Oriented Organizational Model which supports dynamic role definition and role resolution in role-based access control (RBAC). In RBAC, access privileges are given to roles rather than to individual users. RBAC provides flexibility to security management over the traditional approach of using user and group identifiers. The model separates the organizational part form the application part and, thus, it allows independent and flexible role modeling aiming to reflect realistically a dynamic authorization subsystem in a rapidly changing business world.
E-commerce promises to dramatically alter the structure and processes of commerce. Business processes supported by electronic commerce can span company boundaries, with each company enacting its own parts of those shared processes. A novel example occurs with the "virtual enterprise", where each participating company contributes its own core competence to a closely cooperating network of companies addressing a particular market opportunity. V. Ouzounis and V. Tschammer in their paper “A Framework for Virtual Enterprise Support Services” present a set of building blocks that enable the establishment, management and execution of virtual enterprises, as well as the integration, customization and interoperation of business processes. The performance, reliability and ease of integration of the proposed architecture and infrastructure is verified by a set of E-Commerce business processes being developed.
Virtual Enterprises is not the only way for a business to enter the E-Commerce arena. What is important is the appropriate transformation of the existing business environment in order to create a competitive business advantage. Many companies have embarked upon reengineering efforts to address this issue. G. Froehlich et al, in their paper “Application Framework Issues when Evolving Business Applications for Electronic Commerce” claim that if business applications are built using an application framework, then many of the existing legacy applications may be reused in the new E-Commerce context. An application framework is a software architecture along with its implementation, that provides all of the generic capabilities required by applications in a particular domain. The authors examine the general issues created by migrating applications to E-Commerce and propose an architecture for application frameworks that must support E-Commerce.
Another important aspect for the blooming of E-Commerce is, on one hand to give the potential to small and medium size suppliers to more effectively and efficiently compete with larger suppliers in their domain, and on the other hand, to give the consumer the opportunity to find the right product, at the right time, place, price and from the right supplier. These requirements are actually satisfied by electronic brokerage systems; these systems, in order to be effective and widely spread, should be based on relevant architecture and agreed standards. The brokerage architecture must be scaleable and distributed and at the same time it must handle the diversity of the offered goods and services and the heterogeneity of systems and networks. J. Hands et al in their paper entitled “An Inclusive and Extensible Architecture for Electronic Brokerage” describe the ongoing design of GAIA (Generic Architecture for Information Availability), a CORBA-based architecture for electronic brokerage. Central to the GAIA approach are the Functional Units (FU) and Functional Unit Managers which have an API defined by CORBA IDL and on which the functional architecture is based, achieving in this way management of heterogeneity and extensibility.
The last three papers of this minitrack tackle issues important for the effectiveness of E-Commerce. More specifically, G. Zacharia et al in their paper entitled “Collaborative Reputation Mechanisms in Electronic Marketplaces” deal with the problem of reputation, which is vital in E-Commerce interactions, as the potential counterpart’s reputation can be a significant factor in the negotiations strategy. The authors describe two complementary reputation mechanisms which rely on collaborative rating and personalized evaluation of the various ratings assigned to each user. The authors claim that incorporating reputation mechanisms in online communities may induce social changes in the way users participate in the community.
In the sequel, K. Turowski, in his paper entitled “A Virtual Electronic Call Center Solution for Mass Customization” tackles the problem of mass customization which is becoming more and more important as a marketing strategy. The author presents an approach based on the use of software agents and web technology for mass customizing E-Commerce applications. Especially, the automatic collaboration and coordination between legacy systems from manufacturers and suppliers, which are often incompatible, is addressed.
The last paper by O. Hofmann et al, “Agent-Supported Interorganizational Information Retrieval in the Logistics Chain” deals with the problem of reducing the number of EDIFACT messages. The exchange of EDIFACT messages is a popular approach for interorganizational communication and coordination. However, coordination via this way requires a close coupling and a huge amount of messages in order to be profitable. The authors propose to reduce it by using databases instead (changing from a push model based on EDIFACT messages to a pull model based on agents). They describe how database access can be realized in a heterogeneous distributed environment and they use an agent-based approach for facilitating retrieval.
All of these papers present important, unique areas of E-Commerce research;
however, the area continues to change and new problems emerge regularly.
These problems and future research are discussed in the closing panel of
Minitrack Chairs: Mike Papazoglou and Aphrodite Tsalgatidou
Security and Privacy Aspects fo Smartflow Internet Payment System
by Patrick C. K. Hung
COPS: A Model and Infrastructure for Secure and Fair Electronic Markets
by Gunter Pernul and Alexander Rohm
An Object-Oriented Organizational Model to Support Dynamic
Role-based Access Control in Electronic Commerce Applications
by Edward C. Cheng
SESSION B: Frameworks and
Techniques for Creating a Competitive Business Advantage
Session Chair: Prof. Yaacov Yesha
A Framework for Virtual Enterprise Support Services
by Vaggelis Ouzounis and Volker Tschammer
Application Framework Issues when Evolving Business Applications for
by Garry Froehlich, H. James Hoover, Wendy Liew and Paul G. Sorenson
An Inclusive and Extensible Architecture for Electronic Brokerage
by Jenny Hands, Ahmed Patel, Mikhail Bessonov and Ron Smith
SESSION C: Technology and
Techniques for Effective E-Commerce
Session Chair: Prof. Tim Merrett
Collaborative Reputation Mechanisms in Electronic Market Places
by George Zacharia, Alexander Moukas and Pattie Maes
A Virtual Electronic Call Center Solution for Mass Customization
by Klaus Turowski
Agent-Supported Interorganization Information Retrieval in the Logistics
by Oliver Hofmann, Dominik Deschner, Stefan Reinheimer, and Freimut Bodendorf