Introduction As manufacturing and construction industries become more global, increased competitiveness means companies are no longer able to compete solely on the cost or functionality of their products. More emphasis is being placed on the quality of products and the ability to quickly respond to customer needs (Fowler 1995). Therefore companies have to work more closely with their suppliers, customers and partners in order to shorten product development lifecycles and to highlight potential problems as early as possible (Al-Timimi & McKrall 1996). In light of this a new generation of information technologies have emerged to enable different computer systems to work together across the extended enterprise. However, different organisations within the extended enterprise use different technologies and computer systems to develop, store and manipulate data. This has resulted in the technological legacy of “islands of information or automation”, identified in the 1970s and 1980s, which hinders the ability for different computer systems to effectively exchange and share data (Fowler 1995). These data-exchange problems result in the duplication or re-creation of data between systems, which can lead to discrepancies between data, and a subsequent loss of value to an organisation.