Electronic Commerce Research and Applications

Service-oriented technology and management: Perspectives on research and practice for the coming decade

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Service-oriented technologies and management have gained attention in the past few years, promising a way to create the basis for agility so that companies can deliver new, more flexible business processes that harness the value of the services approach from a customer's perspective. Service-oriented approaches are used for developing software applications and software-as-a-service that can be sourced as virtual hardware resources, including on-demand and utility computing. The driving forces come from the software engineering community and the e-business community. Service-oriented architecture promotes the loose coupling of software components so that interoperability across programming languages and platforms, and dynamic choreography of business processes can be achieved. Nevertheless, one of today's most pervasive and perplexing challenges for senior managers deals with how and when to make a commitment to the new practices. The purpose of this article is to shed light on multiple issues associated with service-oriented technologies and management by examining several interrelated questions: why is it appropriate now to study the related business problems from the point of view of services research? What new conceptual frameworks and theoretical perspectives are appropriate for studying service-oriented technologies and management? What value will a service science and business process modeling offer to the firms that adopt them? And, how can these approaches be implemented so as to address the major challenges that organizations face with technology, information and strategy? We contribute new knowledge in this area by tying the economics and information technology strategy perspectives to the semantic and design science perspectives for a broader audience. Usually the more technical perspective is offered on a standalone basis, and confined to the systems space - even when the discussion is about business processes. This article also offers insights on these issues from the multiple perspectives of industry and academic thought leaders. © 2008.