Service Engineering

Service engineering is an approach to the study, design and implementation of service systems in which specific constellations of organizations and technologies provide value for others in the form of electronic services.

Key to this approach is the Service-Oriented Computing (SOC), a model that utilizes services as the basic computing unit to support development and composition of larger-granularity services in heterogeneous environments, which can in turn, support flexible business processes and applications that span organizations.

SOC heavily relies on the use of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), a logical way of designing a software system to provide services to either end-user applications or to other services distributed in a network, via published and discoverable interfaces. In the scope of SOA, services are autonomous computational entities that can be used in a platform independent way. Services can be described, published, discovered, and dynamically assembled.

SOA, built with Web services is gaining increasing use in electronic-based business interactions. Web services employ common Internet technologies enabling thus standards-based, infrastructure to be used.

So far, research and development of Web services has mainly focused on an operational perspective, such as the development of standards for message exchanges and service coordination. However, more important is the fact that Web services are used to expose valuable business functionality. In the long-run, Web services that do not support certain business values cannot be motivated. This fact is shifting lately the focus to large scale design of external e-services, within the context of economic value exchanges to the business level. These, high-level business services are further implemented using basic functions composed in the form of Web services in processes. Apprehending this as a core relation between high-level, business-centered services and low-level, technology-centered services, it becomes natural to develop systems from a higher level of abstraction, and leave particular technologies to handle tedious details of the low-level services.

Besides the need to handle the increased complexity in the form of numerous business actors and their value exchanges, there is also a need for a structured approach for software service design that merges the IT and business perspectives. A well-defined alignment of software and business values provides benefits for service requirement gathering, service design and service validation.

Current SYSLAB research within the area of the service engineering is focused on the identification and design of goal- and business-aligned e-services.

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