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Enterprise Ontology Based Service Definition

Antonia Albani, Linda Terlouw, Gde Hardjosumarto & Jan L. G. Dietz

abstract Economists and business scientists have been debating about the ‘service’ notionfor more than two centuries [9]. Often, the definitions in business literature limitthe service notion to the delivery of immaterial goods. The adoptation of thenotion of ‘service’ by computer scientists and IT practitioners has been morerecent. In both the business science field [19, 10, 14, 12] and the computer sciencefield [16, 15, 13, 17] a service is regarded as an interaction between a requestingparty (often called consumer or customer) and an offering party (often calledprovider or supplier). The offering party is able to produce a certain value thatis requested by the other party. But even with this common notion a precisedefinition and mutual understanding of the term service is missing. Let us havea look at the definition given by the Open Group [13]. It states that a serviceis a logical representation of a repeatable business activity that has a specifiedoutcome (e.g., check customer credit; provide weather data, consolidate drillingreports), is self-contained, may be composed of other services, and is a ‘black-box’to consumers of the service. This definition is as vague as the other definitionsand one could discuss every single statement of the definition. E.g., what is abusiness activity? The Open Group mentions ‘check customer credit’ or ‘provideweather data’ as business activities, but are these really business activities orare they only computational acts? What about a business activity concerningthe ‘manufacturing of a car’? Such a business activity has a completely differentgranularity as the ones mentioned in the definition. What is self-contained? If aservice is composed of other services is it still self-contained? What is preciselymeant by a black-box when a service is also defined to be an activity? Whatabout communication activities e.g., to call the service or to accept/reject therequested result?According to the -theory [4, 7], the theory that underlies the notion of EnterpriseOntology [4], the operation of organizations is all about communicationbetween and production by social actors. Is not the main concern of serviceorientationto support the operation of an organization and therefore also tosupport the communication between and production by social actors? Becausethe -theory describes the interaction between the requesting party and the offeringparty in a very formal way, it provides a perfect basis for formalizing thenotion of service.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
name of conference 4th International Workshop on Value Modeling and Business Ontologies (VMBO 2009) (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
date of conference 01-02-2009
title of proceedings Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Value Modeling and Business Ontologies (VMBO 2009)
review not reviewed
   
citation Albani, A., Terlouw, L., Hardjosumarto, G., & Dietz, J. L. G. (2009). Enterprise Ontology Based Service Definition. In Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Value Modeling and Business Ontologies (VMBO 2009).