The business world heavily builds upon inter-organizational division of labor requiring cooperation among different partnering companies. Cooperation results in both value creation but also transaction costs, which can be reduced by appropriate system support. For example, according to a WTO study, international trade reached a volume of 18.3 trillion USD in 2013. We see currently substantial transformations in some areas because of the proliferation of Information and Communication Technologies. For instance, this is the case in the manufacturing domain: The manufacturing processes of the future are changing and need to be highly flexible and dynamic in order to satisfy customer demands.
Today, systems supporting information processing across enterprise boundaries are widely in place. However, these are often characterized by their rigidity: they are difficult to change, because one simple change may cause a cascade of subsequent changes in dependent artifacts. This rigidity is especially a challenge for inter-organizational processes, because a change usually requires partner-specific customizations leading to high setup and maintenance costs for any IT-mediated cooperation. Accordingly, such solutions can only be justified for mid- to long-term partnerships. In practice, such rigidity often turns out to be a roadblock for changing aspects of a cooperation. Consequently, there is a strong need for concepts that help provide the necessary flexibility and quick adaptations in inter-organizational setting.
The Business Process Management (BPM) lifecycle is typically attributed to include at least the following phases: Design & Analysis, Configuration, Enactment, and Evaluation. While there has been tremendous progress in all these areas in the last decade, surprisingly little focus has been put on overcoming the rigidity of inter-organizational processes, despite the obvious need to achieve this.
Consequently, the main goals of the International Workshop on Inter-Organizational Processes (IOPs 2016), which is co-located with IEEE EDOC'16 , are: