DECOR Project Partners:

SEMA Group Belgium


Based in Kaiserslautern and Saarbrücken, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI GmbH), is the leading industry-geared research institute for innovative software technology in Germany. In the international scientific community the DFKI, which has succeeded in rapidly transforming research into applications, ranks among the important "Centers of Excellence" in the world. 

In 1988, the DFKI was founded by reputable German IT companies and two large research institutions as a non-profit limited company. Since then the DFKI's  proactive project work, which is always geared to-wards current economic demands, has earned national and international renown as a competent and reliable partner for economic innovation. Due to the continually decreasing length of innovation cycles in advanced IT, basic research, application-oriented development and its realisation as products are becoming increasingly interwoven. The DFKI covers the entire spectrum from application-oriented basic research through to market and client oriented development of product functions.
DFKI is divided into five research areas:


Information Management and Document Analysis (Head: Prof. Dr. A. Dengel); 
Intelligent User Interfaces (Head: Prof. Dr. W. Wahlster);
Deduction and Multiagent Systems (Head: Prof. Dr. J. Siekmann);
Intelligent Visualization and Simulation Systems (Head: Prof. Dr. H.Hagen);
Language Technology (Head: Prof. Dr. H. Uszkoreit).

There are two additional subgroups, 

the "Siemens Tele-Cooperation Center" which is part of the "Intelligent User Interfaces" group; and 
the research group "Knowledge Management" which comes under "Information Management and Document Analysis".

Currently the DFKI has about 130 full-time employees, comprising 100 staff researchers. There are around 100 part-time research assistants and 50 freelance employees. In 1998 a turnover of about 29 million DM for application-oriented commissioned research was reached. All work is organised in the form of clearly focused projects with a limited duration, which lead to, among others, patented solutions, prototypes, or product functions. Currently, work is being carried out on over 50 projects. Once a year, progress reviews are carried out by an independent group of international experts. 
The DFKI does not only receive contracts from important German companies like Daimler Chrysler AG, SAP AG, Siemens AG and Deutsche Telekom AG, but also from foreign companies such as Schlumberger SRPC, PrePrint Inc., and Swiss Bank Corporation. In addition, independent and joint projects are supported by public research funding provided by bodies such as the Federal German Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology the Federal German Department for Security of Information Technology, the European Union (EU), and the United Nations (UN).
DFKI projects have been granted international research and innovation awards. Through collaboration agreements the DFKI maintains a regular and intensive information exchange with the relevant university departments in Kaiserslautern and Saarbrücken, and with leading national and international research institutes in AI. DFKI is central to several "Networks of Excellence" on the European level. 
DFKI's knowledge management group founded in 1996 is the successor of the expert system lab "intelligent information systems". Currently 15 researchers and software engineers are working on  research projects funded from Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology as well as on industrial application and development projects funded from Deutsche Telekom AG, Deutsche Steinkohle AG, Hewlett-Packard GmbH,  and the European Union (EU). Within the 4th EU RTD programme "IT for learning and training in industry", the knowledge management group is partner in the ENRICH (Enriching representations of work to support organisational learning, project 29015) and KNOWNET (Knowledge management with intranet technologies, project 28928) projects. 
The DFKI knowledge management group pursues the vision of an organizational memory at the heart of the learning organization. To achieve this, the necessary IT support is developed as an application driven integration of basic techniques from three areas:

formal knowledge processing (ontologies, knowledge representation and reasoning, logic-based inferences, formal agent communication principles, etc.),
business processes, workflow & collaboration technology,
document and informal knowledge processing (natural language processing, document analysis, information extraction, text classification, etc.).

Tools and techniques developed in this context support the automatic and semi-automatic structuring of information, the linking of documents and formal models for background knowledge, the acquisition, representation, and storage of organizational knowledge, and the sustainable maintenance of organizational memories. The research results have been presented in numerous publications. DFKI will contribute tools, modules, and prototypes from this collection to the DECOR project. 


The Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (ICCS) is a private law body associated with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (DECE) of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). ICCS has been established in 1989 by the Ministry of Education in order to carry research and development activity in the fields on all diverse aspects of telecommunications systems and techniques, computer systems and their applications in a variety of applications such as electric power systems, software and hardware engineering, control systems and biomedical engineering.
The personnel of the ICCS consists of members of staff, research students and fellows of DECE/NTUA. The active research personnel of ICCS presently consists of 40 members of staff of DECE/NTUA, 25 additional senior researchers and 120 research students. The laboratories of ICCS/DECE are established by the implementation of several structural programmes such as Mediterranean Integrated Programme on Informatics of European Community (MIP-Informatics), MIP of Attica region, Public Investment and Special Development Programmes of the Ministry of Education and other incomes of the ICCS. The ICCS is ruled by a five member board and its activity are co-ordinated by the Director of Institute being elected by the Members of Staff of the DECE/NTUA.
The Information Management Unit (IMU) operates within Institute of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ICCS) of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). IMU is an interdisciplinary Unit engaged in research and consulting activities which lie in the broad area of information systems (IS) management. IMU has a staff of 4 faculty members, 9 post-doctoral researchers and 14 engineers. The focus of IMU's activities is in identifying ways that private and public organisations can plan, use and manage information technology (IT), in such a manner as to strategically exploit the opportunities/possibilities of IT in order to reach, sustain and enable their target goals. 
IMU works on the issue of information management from three perspectives: the perspective of IS strategy, examining issues that refer to the: alignment of business strategy and information technology strategy, the design and deployment of IT to support/enable changing business strategies etc; the perspective of IS as decision-support and change-enabling tools, building on the assertion that information systems should be treated as an organisational change agent (related work includes the development of Group Coordination Systems and Office Information Systems); and the design and development of MIS and DSS (related work includes the development of Decision Support Systems (DSS) for energy and economic development planning). 
IMU has been active in the development of a research programme in Collaborative Technologies for Knowledge Management. Research areas include the creation and application of technological knowledge infrastructures, efforts approaches for cataloguing, indexing and mapping knowledge taxonomies in order to organize the content of knowledge repositories, navigation tools to enable easy accessibility, knowledge repository scalability and extensibility, and building knowledge taxonomies that extend across various communities of practice. 


PLANET S.A. is the leading Greek management consulting company specialising in new technologies and their applications. In the year 2000, PLANET acquired the Greek arm of the ERNST & YOUNG international consulting group. Since this merger, the company is called PLANET ERNST & YOUNG.

Since 1997 PLANET ERNST & YOUNG is organised around two Strategic Business Units: 

Management Consulting Services (MCS); and 
Development and Engineering Consulting Services (DECS).

PLANET ERNST & YOUNG's Management Consulting Services (MCS) integrate expertise in strategic visioning, business process management, information technology and organizational change for targetting clients' business growth and performance improvement problems. PLANET ERNST & YOUNG's MCS provides services in three axes: 

strategy development; 
performance improvement; and
solution delivery.


Strategy Development services provide a new perspective in order to formulate forward-thinking strategies for sustainable business growth and competitive positioning and span a wide array of strategic consultancy areas from: Sector Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Business Unit Strategy; Information Systems Strategy; etc. Performance Improvement services help increase staff productivity and generate organizational renewal; PLANET ERNST & YOUNG helps clients streamline supply-chains, reengineer and improve business processes, change organizational structures, define technical architectures and manage the deployment of information systems. Solution delivery services help client companis turn ideas into results and assists them install and operate specialised systems that range from large-scale IT systems (such as the SAP system) to specific functional systems (e.g. budgeting, salary grading, etc). 
PLANET ERNST & YOUNG's MCS has developed strong business relations with international players in the management consulting and information technology scene, like McKinsey & Company, the Monitor Company, Coopers & Lybrand International, SAP AG and SEMA Group Belgium. Since 1989 PLANET ERNST & YOUNG has established and operates an Office in Brussels, while the company operates offices in Romania and Moldova since 1994. In addition, the company has established two affiliate companies: PLANET ERNST & YOUNG Northern Greece S.A. (Salonica), and PLANET ERNST & YOUNG Western Greece S.A. (Patras). Since its creation, PLANET ERNST & YOUNG is undergoing a rapid and solid development in terms of turnover, exports, assets, human resources. The rate of increase of the company sales exceeds 60% each year, while sales for 1996 exceeded 5 million ECU. PLANET ERNST & YOUNG considers as its main asset the specialists it employs; the full-time staff consists of 85 people, mainly graduates in engineering and economics. 
PLANET ERNST & YOUNG has an extensive experience in EU-funded R&D projects. Examples of RTD projects that PLANET ERNST & YOUNG contributed include TRENDS, BROOM, AITIME, SPHERE, ASTRA, EPIC, GIPE II, TOBIAS, DIMPE, GEOTEL, DIDAMES, AGORA, IDMS, EUROFRET, METAFORA, EBR, DEDICATED, QUARTET, etc.


SEMA Group Belgium  

Sema Group Belgium is not only one of the leading European companies of consultancy, system integration and services in the field of Telecommunication and Information Technology in Europe: it is also an example of continous growth in the recent years in terms both of Turn-over and Profits and of a true European Group, significantly present in all the major European countries (18000 staff world-wide). Sema Group Belgium, over 250 staff, is one of the Belgian arms of the Group, specialising in complex Information Sistems design and implementation.
Sema Group Belgium has three linked business areas serving the major sectors of the economy: banking and finance, industry, space and defence, healthcare, energy, telecommunications, commerce and services, and the public sector.
Our core business is systems integration.  But our strength lies in the full range of services we can mobilise to meet our client's specific needs -strategic consultancy, systems development and integration, software products and outsourcing- coupled with a carefully considered approach to matching resources to requirements.
Through this network of integrated services, we can work with customers all the way : from defining a business or IT strategy, through supplying systems and products to implement that strategy, to on-going support and outsourcing.

Consultancy and systems integration:
Across Europe, and beyond, we have an unrivalled breadth of experience in developing IT strategies and in managing the changes associated with introducing new systems.


Systems Development and Integration:
Systems integration is at the heart of our business -and as one of Europe's major systems integrators, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of technological developments.
The Group's technical software activities range from real-time process control for industry and software for embedded processors, to rail signalling systems : balancing the crucial demands of security, reliability and functionality for some of Europe's largest and most sophisticated clients.
Sema Group Belgium has been involved in facilities management and outsourcing for 20 years and we offer a wide and flexible range of services, from the management of a client's entire information system to a temporary service to support a customer moving from one system to another.  We also support specific applications, as well as providing back-up and disaster recovery facilities.  Sema Group Belgium offers these services either at the client's site or from our own European network of data centres (the Belgian player in this field is Sema Group Belgium Managed Services SA).
The Group is continuing to invest in and develop a number of tools and methodologies, particularly in the area of software engineering workbenches and common software platforms; software kernels developed from experience on major projects.
In particular, in the areas concerned by the DECOR technical environment, Sema Group Belgium masters different technological aspects:


the Internet/Intranet technologies, taking advantage of existing products and specifically of Hyperwave, recently awarded with the Grand Prix at the 1997 "Esprit" week and particularly suited for Knowledge Management applications;
the Workflow, where the Team-ware product line is supported by a methodology designed by Sema Group Belgium to deal with the complexity of the organisational concepts;
the SGML (Standard Generalized Mark-up Language) technology, based on a suite of products developed within Sema Group Belgium

Based on SGML, Sema Group Belgium has developed an application kernel called Sema Group Belgium Application Framework (SAF) which proved to be very effective in integrating complex Document-based Information Systems having heterogeneous sources and outputs of multiple format.


The Social Security Institute is the largest and most important organization for social security in Greece. The institute's main activities are:

granting insurance services (reimbursements, pensions, and other kinds)

granting health services (medical and paramedical examinations, hospital treatment etc.)

collecting insurance premiums for IKA and third parties 

Main characteristic of the institute is the country-wide geographical dispersion of service units. IKA is maintaining 280 regional insurance services units and 250 regional health services units, serving 300,000 people daily. IKA is granting medical treatment to 5,6 million directly and indirectly insured people and is providing pensions to 790.000 pensioners. IKA's main income source is insurance charges collected from one million corporations and construction projects and for 1997 mounted an annual turnover of 1,506 billion drachmas. The institution's personnel comprises 22.000 permanent employees (administrative- medical personnel - doctors).


In 1996, DHC Dr. Herterich & Consultants GmbH (DHC) has been founded as a spin-off from IDS Prof. Scheer GmbH. The company currently employs 35 people. In the very beginnings, DHC focused its entire business activities on consultancy. In the meantime, the development of software has been added as a new business area. DHC has specialised on the planning and implementation of logistical processes within the chemical industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the food industry. The consulting priorities are set up within the introduction of R/3 for the process industry. This is because its founders have been engaged in the EU supported "CAPISCE" project since 1992. This project has lead to the development of R/3 logistical solutions for the chemical industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the food industry. 

Due to the increasing necessity for a more efficient supply chain management, we have expanded our consulting activities. For example, we are now also serving the  public health sector. Based on SAP R/3, our consulting activities focus on the optimisation of business processes. It is our core competence to create logistical processes and the connected quality management.
Within a new project, it is our philosophy to build on past experiences in order to manage projects in an efficient way. It is therefore essential for us to systematise and structure our knowledge and hence, our entire consulting activities. Professional Knowledge Management is in this respect a fixed component within our organisation. We understand hereby the systematic analysis, compilation and storage of project specific knowledge. 
The core activities of DHC are consultancy, software development and computer validation. Our consulting activities are always based on innovative approaches. They are characterised through a structured project methodology and the application of solutions which are adjusted to the specific organisational circumstances of our clients. We emphasise on the creation of the entire business processes of R/3 within logistics and a specific quality management within the production. It is our philosophy to concentrate our comprehensive consulting activities across all hierarchical levels of our customers. 
Standardised software can, by definition, only provide standardised solutions which do not take into account the individual circumstances of an organisation. Those particularities, however, differentiate successful companies from their competitors. This is why we included the development of customer specific software solutions into our R/3 based consulting activities. 
We have developed specific software components which ease the users' daily work within the R/3 system. Our products furthermore facilitate quality assurance and the management of batches.
Another core activity of DHC is computer validation. The importance of computer validation according to FDA rules is particularly increasing for internationally operating companies. On the basis of the EU-GMP guide (Annex 11), we have developed an approach which enables a secure, efficient and cost-efficient implementation of validation projects. We emphasise herein our effort on the reusability of the once achieved results which release high cost potentials within the revalidation. 
Within the project work of DHC, there arises therefore a need for the software supported documentation and retrieval of project knowledge which cannot be covered by currently existing products on the market. DHC is therefore developing a tool that takes the described needs into account. This tool will primarily be deployed within consulting projects of DHC in order to make the work of the consultants more efficient and to increase the utility value for the customers of DHC. 
It can already be seen that there exists a considerably high interest among the customers of DHC to purchase this product for their own usage. For these reasons, DHC plans to further develop this product within the DECOR-Project and to sell it on an European scale. DHC does furthermore have great experience in modelling business processes due to the execution of various consulting projects. These experiences will be used within DECOR for modelling and simulating knowledge intensive business processes. 
DHC will use the software, that is developed within DECOR, for their own consulting projects and hence, makes a contribution to the validation of the developed software.
Within the DECOR-Project, DHC sees the opportunity to further develop its own work in co-operation with European partners. This is to increase the efficiency of the work of DHC within the consulting sector and to develop a product that can be marketed on an European scale.