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Business Ecology Initiative & Service-Oriented Solution

Michael Poulin

'A smile without a cat' or a Consumer without a Service

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When a crisis is in your backyard, some things disappear, you know. Fortunately for Wonderland, they did not have crisis but just a cat with loosely-coupled smile... Following this analogy, we know that services have some periods in their life-cycles when they do not have consumers, especially right after the services are announced. Absence of consumers is not a problem because services have to facilitate demand and create consumers.

The less obvious fact is that we can have consumers without services in SO eco-systems. 'If there are no services, whose consumers you are talking about?' you can ask me. This is not a trivial question and I've looked for a hint into the OASIS SOA Reference Architecture (SOA RA), Public Review Draft 1.

Actually, the answer situates in the consumer intents or needs. The draft of SOA RA defines Intent as:

- the relationship between an agent and its goals that signifies a commitment by the agent to achieve that goal,

where 'agent' is a non-human representative, e.g., a programming code, of a human or of any non-programmatic participant of future interaction with a service. In other words, we can have consumers that are looking for appropriate services with certain capabilities to satisfy consumers' needs but do not find them.

Based on this line of logic, let me propose a new feature for Service Registries/Repositories - searchable registration of potential consumers' intents. Here are a few scenarios of how such feature might be used:

  1. Potential consumer registers its intent/needs against Service Registries/Repositories where required service has not been found. This can initiate a search for desired service by the Registry/Repository administration somewhere to bring suitable service into the Registry/Repository (administrative effect)

  2. When reading the intent registration, a fellow consumer can prompt the unlucky one where appropriate service may be found (social effect)

  3. When finding the intent registration, a service provider can overcome possible semantic barrier and contact potential consumer directly explaining that the description of existing service, actually, means what the consumer looked for (business effect)

  4. Service provider can use registered intents for its marketing that may be followed by enhancements of existing service or development of new service (business effect)

  5. Semantic Mediator component can automate scenario №3 (business effect)

  6. Service Registry/Repository management can analyse registered intents and validate feasibility of existing service offerings for the future strategic planning

So, the door is opened (or should I say the 'rabbit-hole'), Mr. Vendor, it is your turn now... to satisfy customers' intents.

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In this blog, Michael Poulin writes about business and technology ideas, concepts, methodologies and solutions leading to service-oriented enterprise, the primary instrument for obtaining business objectives in fast-changing environments.

Michael Poulin

Michael Poulin is an enterprise-level solution architect working in the financial industry in the U.K. and the United States.

He specializes in building bridges between business needs and technology capabilities with emphasis on business and technical efficiency, scalability, robustness and manageability. He writes about service orientation, application security and use of modern technologies for solving business problems. He contributes to OASIS SOA standards as an independent member and is listed in the the international "Who's Who of Information Technology" for 2001. View more


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