Transformation

Interoperability: Definition and Importance

2nd May 2018

If the term ‘interoperability’ is becoming increasingly widespread all around you, maybe you should wonder what it is and why it is important for your company’s systems.

Throughout this post we will try to answer the most frequently asked questions about this concept. Stick around and discover all of its benefits!

What is interoperability?

As a definition, we could say that interoperability is the capability two or more information systems, or components, have to allow the exchange and use of information across systems. As a result, the synchronization of all parts will be more than guaranteed.

The ISO/IEC 2382 Information Technology Vocabulary defines interoperability as the “capability to communicate, execute programs, or transfer data among various functional units in a manner that requires the user to have little or no knowledge of the unique characteristics of those units.” (ISO, 2000)

Interoperability is a component of significant value to private companies, since it attempts to address well-known needs, such as: duplicate information across different areas, lack of cohesion between different parts, existence of several information systems that work separately. When all of this happens, control and efficiency are nonexistent in an organization.

In addition to being important for private companies, interoperability in Public Organizations is a must, so that cooperation, development, integration and the rendering of services takes place in the best possible way.

It also significantly facilitates the accomplishment of public policies, especially for the collaboration between different applications to enable the development of new services. It therefore allows for the development of e-governance and the information society.

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Lastly, in order for you get a better grasp of this tool, you should know that there are two levels of interoperability:

  • Semantic interoperability:

Data that is transferred and exchange between two or more systems is understood by each of them. In this case, semantic interoperability requires information to be significant and highly useful.

  • Technical interoperability:

Data communication and exchange can take place between two or more systems. It enables the cooperation between different software components, even in those cases in which the interface and programming language are not the same.

Why is interoperability so important?

Now that we know the concept of interoperability more in detail, we should focus on the importance for any company to have interoperating systems. Mainly, this is because it significantly facilitates the joint, orderly management of all of your information.

Furthermore, its advantages include:

  • Adaptability: the various systems that take in the information connect and distribute that information in an automatic and flexible manner.
  • Guaranteed data cohesion: as mentioned above, thanks to interoperability, the information is managed effectively and controlled by all parties.
  • Productivity increase: based on the advantage above, it can be inferred that, thanks to this tool, all available information can be associated with the value chain. Therefore, one can work and operate in a cohesive way throughout the entire productive process, ensuring that the information is available and accessible to all parties, systems and persons.

As you can see, the importance of interoperability for organizations is significant.

But, do you know which industries are more prone to using interoperating systems? In addition to the public sector, organizations related to logistics, production and food control use interoperability, due to the great advantages it provides them, and especially, due to the in-time monitoring of the value chain, the process flexibility and the total control over providers and customers.

How can you accomplish interoperability in your company?

At this point, it is very important to acknowledge that message transformations are required to attain interoperability.

But, what are message transformations exactly, you may wonder. Well, it means any manipulation or modification performed on the messages of the various systems we operate with, with the purpose of guaranteeing their adequate communication. You could say that “message transformation” is like a translation.

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One example of a system that supports this type of message transformation is WSO2. If you want to learn how this software can help you attain interoperability in your company, contact our representatives; they will be thrilled to assist you!

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