Service Ecosystems

Hajautetut järjestelmät ja tietoliikenne
Syventävät opinnot
The current trend of globalization of business and increased demand for electronic business networks sets high demands for the computing platforms and business applications used in enterprises. The platforms are expected to provide support for business network establishment, participation into multiple networks simultaneously, and adaptation to heterogeneous technologies. During the course, the participants will actively gather information about the collaboration challenges and problems in an open networked environment. As potential solutions, modern ecosystem infrastructure service, business process management, and virtual organisation architectures are studied.


18.12.2014 16.00 B123
Vuosi Lukukausi Päivämäärä Periodi Kieli Vastuuhenkilö
2014 syksy 28.10-12.12. 2-2 Englanti Lea Kutvonen


Aika Huone Luennoija Päivämäärä
Ti 12-14 B119 Lea Kutvonen 28.10.2014-12.12.2014
Pe 10-12 B119 Lea Kutvonen 28.10.2014-12.12.2014


Group: 1
Aika Huone Ohjaaja Päivämäärä Huomioitavaa
Pe 12-14 B119 Lea Kutvonen 07.11.2014—12.12.2014

Registration for this course starts on Tuesday 7th of October at 9.00.

Information for international students





For the home exam, see information either under above tabs on News or Main page --> Exercises, exam. 


Service ecosystems

Presently we can observe a number of  trends towards different information society visions: We have considered Internet as a "distributed computer that provides us a feel of a single machine". We can consider health-care systems within each country to be a still isolated part of a global health-care service. We may even consider the google services as a homogeneous environment in which people or companies can collaborate. We take the application shops that provide our  smart phones with Android or iOS based services as environments for endless sourse of new services.

In practice, we struggle in all these environments at the same time, because the fundamental paradigms and concepts structuring these environments are not similar enough. We have learned to master programming of applications on a single computing platform, or to generate applications onto multiple platforms from platform-independent models. These platforms may enable us to distribute the application, client-server style or peer style. However, all elements of the distributed whole follow the paradigms, concepts and rules of a single environment. We need to add into the big picture elements that allow us to cross that boundary - whether it is technical, semantic, pragmatic or organisational. We need to enable participants to control collaborations in the big world.

This is where the service ecosystem concept comes in. First of all, we have to start talking about services instead of objects or components, because we cannot show the internals of the service implementation across the organisational boundaries. The organisations are independent of each other, so we can just observe how their objects or components behave, and ask for their services. We define service as the externally observable behaviour of an agent (often a software agent, but sometimes human agent, or a combination of them) induced by a request as a trigger, and governed by contracts or policies associated to the situation. Examples of services include information services (yes, you are allowed to think of MyData or BigData here), process-based services (yes, workflow is a simple business process, and yes, eShops guiding you through steps of selecting products, inserting mailing address, giving your credit card details and confirming your order is such), production control (yes, car manufacturing) and logistics control (yes supply chains/nets). 

So where is the ecosystem then and what is new about it?

We often see the term ecosystem used for a set of networked services using each other in a peer manner. The services have been integrated together because a key partner company has pushed for such a network to be formed, and gained innovation prestice for this. This is good progress, but we can go further in the maturity scale: we can select a number of companies providing services on the same sort of industrial domain, ease their mathing their ideas together, and help them to come up with a few best practices for the field. They can standardise some basic business processes together and therefore gain stability of business and direct the service production of smaller or newer players on the field. This is what we call virtual organisation breeding environments. Each time there is a new business opportunity the breeding environment members are ready to quickly come up with a collaborative solution to that, due to their joint understanding of things.

But we must reduce the burden involved in integrating services together separately for each business opportunity. Sure, we can built a high-level "middleware" or "ecosystem infrastructure" that supports interoperability (technical, semantic, pragmatic) automatically, include contracts to govern and adapt the collaborations and to control the ecosystem members in terms of successful fulfiment of collaboration contracts and breaches of regulations (e.g. laws).  Here, the activities are concurrent, each collaboration identified and independent of each other, adaptable, and the ecosystem basic conceptual bases modifiable (well, extendable while oldfashioned things are outgrown), too.

In the European union research support programs, national research and development instructions for our funding instruments, ministries and development-leading companies these themes are being observed, developed and tried out in different variations. We have seen it taking place over a decade by now, and it will take yet another to be merged - the difficulty is, that this work requires multidisciplinary approach. It is not a computer science problem, or a software engineering problem alone. We need to call in economic and social sciences, organisational sciencies, politics, psychology, ... just to name a few.

The course

The course will take examples of virtual organisations and open service ecosystem architectures, their "middleware" services and ways those are constructed. Further, we focus on developing analysis skills on service ecosystem features, as this is the skill that has future value in either i) suspecting fragile points in organisations' enterprise architecture solutions or collaboration manners, ii) directing the development of company solutions in manners that are expected to fit together with the future information society development trends, or iii) constructing new styles of ecosystem architectures for the future.

During the course the following working methods are used:

  • pre-questionnaire to be filled at the day of the first lecture session to determine what is the shared background for the group (gives guidance for the type of examples to be used, where to fill in with concepts or system patterns that have occassinally been known to the groups but not any more, wishlists collection);
  • lectures: either with i) intent to support reading of articles and creating bridges between topics, ii) student mini-lectures on selected points, iii) guest lectures from industry or other disciplines;
  • exercise groups for collaborative student work:
    • some exercises are based on reading a number of articles, supported by leading questions; in the exercise sessions, small groups discuss the viewpoints arising from different texts, together producing a fuller vision to be captured for the rest of the group;
    • some exercises apply the shared home-reading to a task to tease out the real meaning of the material; and
    • some exercises are used for practicing analysis in small groups onto the systems described in the reading material;
  • home exam  with essay questions or analysis on case study; and
  • post-questionnaire for self-evaluation on study methods and best/worst topics or materials.

Study things

Although the course is "a lecture course" it is intended to be discussive, interactive tourist-round introductin to the basics of a large field. 

When you take the course, you need to actively participate the exercises and can volunteer for some mini-lectures. This way you collect half of the points. The other half is collected from the home exam.

In exercise sessions, being active and self-organising with your small group, starting making notes on the shared working areas already at home, or preparing together beforehand is expected. The exercises are grouped per theme, so some of the tasks do  need to be continued on the next session. It has been normal to have Friday morning lectures with almost no break, put in 30-35 min lunchbreak, and close the exercise session by 2pm.

For the home exam period, please make sure you do have Internet access. You are allowed to use all possible materials you reach (but not expected to go beyond the already discussed materials), and in particular, the exam questions are to be downloaded over the net and the submission of the anwers is electronic.(If there are any exams on the department listings, these will be separate exams, not applicable as the home exam dates.)

Separate exam

In case you take the separate exam, that is always a in-class, no-materials-allowed exam. This is a less interesting route leading to lower grades.

If there are any exams on the department listings, these will be separate exams, not applicable as the home exam dates.

Course materials

All course materials will be posted on the "main page" tab of this page, including reading lists, slides, exercises and shared exercise working areas, and list of potential exam questions.

For schedule change notifications, errata, advertisements of related events and other such material is to be posted on the tab "News".

When you are requested to submit learning diaries or group diaries from the exercise sessions, please email them (preferrably in text only or pdf) and follow the subject line instructions in detail. All questionnaires are preferrably returned in electronic form.