The Internet has been encouraging and enabling business collaborations via online transactions over the Web. On the other side, organizations, especially manufacturing and retailing industries, are striving to increase operational efficiency by consolidating core business and outsourcing non critical supply chain activities. As such, there is a rising trend that organizations collaborate to cut cost and benefit each other.
From ICT’s point of view, organizations are supported by computer aided management systems and normally such systems are isolated in their own domains. To support more and more intensive collaborations among organizations, there is a need for advanced technologies to facilitate collaborations among the business systems. However, managing transactions in such a scenario, i.e. long-running business processes across domains, remains as a challenge. Classic ACID proprieties have to be relaxed to facilitate coordination of such transactions and various approaches have to be applied to handle the possible failures.
In this thesis, we propose a novel financial-compensation-based transaction management model, fcBTxM, to address this challenge. Unlike classical transaction management, fcBTxM does not attempt to recover data consistency via rollback when a failure occurs. Instead, our model always tries to forward-roll a business process via financial compensation. A state machine is used to capture and describe the states of our transaction model and their relationships. We also develop a set of technologies and protocols for enabling the new transaction management. A real business collaboration example is used to demonstrate the concept, and preliminary testing results are provided to evaluate our technologies.
As fcBTxM runs based on contracts, we also propose an e-Contracting framework to support fcBTxM. We leverage the 'Event-Condition-Action' (ECA) concept to represent and execute contracts and propose appropriate actions to fcBTxM when exceptions occur. The major components of the e-Contracting framework, as well as a layered architectural design are given in the thesis.
Implementation details of both frameworks/models have been incorporated in the thesis and relevant evaluation is conducted as well.