Service outsourcing is the business paradigm in which an organization has part of its business process performed by a service provider. In dynamic markets, service providers can be selected on the fly during process enactment. The cooperation between the parties is specified in a dynamically made electronic contract. This contract includes a process specification that is tailored towards service brokering and cross-organizational process enactment and, hence, has to conform to market and specification standards. Process enactment, however, relies on intra-organizational process specifications that have to comply with the infrastructure available in an organization for process and data management. In this paper, we present a three-level process and data specification framework for dynamic contract-based outsourcing of complex services. We focus on services with an externally visible control flow, as opposed to simple, black-box web services. The framework relates the two process specification levels through a third, conceptual level. This approach is inspired by the well-known ANSI-SPARC model for data management. We discuss an abstract architecture for dynamic service outsourcing based on the three-level framework. We show how the framework and architecture can be placed in the context of existing infrastructures for cross-organizational process support. As service outsourcing is used more and more for core business processes requiring reliable execution, we pay special attention to transaction management.
|Journal||International Journal of Cooperative Information Systems|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|