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.
Vuosi Lukukausi Päivämäärä Periodi Kieli Vastuuhenkilö
2016 syksy 01.11-16.12. 2-2 Englanti Lea Kutvonen


Aika Huone Luennoija Päivämäärä
Ti 12-14 B119 Lea Kutvonen 01.11.2016-16.12.2016
Pe 12-14 B119 Lea Kutvonen 01.11.2016-16.12.2016


Group: 1
Aika Huone Ohjaaja Päivämäärä Huomioitavaa
Ti 10-12 B119 Lea Kutvonen 07.11.2016—16.12.2016

Registration for this course starts on Tuesday 4th of October at 9.00.




  • Exam is open: go to exercises directory below (exercise 8) for instructions. If you have tried to download the page before and you still receive "not available yet" page, please refresh your browser cache (shift or ctr down when loading the linked resourse, repeat if necessary.)
  • Lecture on Fri 16.12 cancelled. We completed the course material with a bit of extra time on Tuesday.
  • In the lectures directory there is a full slideset compilation of the lectures, closer to the order in which things were discussed and only containing the slides that were used even briefly. The set also has additional text pages to note the intended (spoken) scenario behind the slides. BPM exercise example building stages are also commented on, as requested. 
  • Most learning diaries have been commented and points are visible in TIKLI. Tasks 6 and 8 are not yet filled, but are to be replicated from tasks from the same sessions. There is some mistake with tasks 11 and 12 that need checking and correcting. Explanations on the correspondence between task numbers and exercises is explained in file points.html in exercises directory. Learning diaries submitted by email may be missing still and feedback will be available in moodle latest on Thu 15.12. 
  • Exam dates: Exam opens on Friday 16.12 morning and responses must be submitted before noon on 23.12. There is no time limit or special support system in use. I recommend that you create a pdf file with your favourite text processing system and submit that file. Do save the challengs when you first register for the exam page, and make sure you can resubmit your responses if need be in case of system failures. If nothing else works, email and paper copies are accepted. You do not need constant network connection, but you do need to download any articles set for reading tasks in the beginning and may wish to browse the web during the preparation of your responses.
  • Tuesday 8.12 exercise and lecture sessions need to be compensated another day (Independence day).
    • 08.12.16        THU      12:15-14:00     Exactum, C222
    • 09.12.16         FRI    10:15-12:00     Exactum, C222
    • On Friday 9.12 also the lecture is held in C222 - no swapping of rooms between sessions on the same day
    • Due to the weekend system failure: extended the learning diary deadline by two days (From 29.11 to 1.11). Also note the delay in middleware tasks in exercises (#6 and #8)
    • Added below lecture notes bullet a place where the next session agenda is noted
  • Please fill in the pre-course questionnaire (available in Moodle or as the first exercise) by Wednesday evening 2.11.2016 (Thu morning at 8.00 latest). It will affect the course content.

Main content links

(Same as tabs above, for system failure situations.)

  • Lecture materials
    • Tue 15.11 covered business models both in exercise and lecture slots
    • Deadline for the first learning diary on SOC and Web Services postponed by one day to Wed 16.11. 
    • On dictionary and definitions exercise: please note that you are still allowed to contribute to the definitions and collect exercise points. This exercise will be  open untill a week before the exam opens.
    • Friday 18.11 lecture covered Enterprise architecture
    • Tuesday 22.11 exercise on Enterprise architecture design presentation
    • Tuesday lecture of business process modeling and identification of business services from the design process
    • Friday 25.11 lecture Collaboration view: Maturity model elements (details later) + Ecolead; will return to the rest of BPM chapter later; Exercise tasks 6 and 8 delayed by a week each: #6 to 29.11, #8 to 9.12
    • Fri 2.12 lectrure covers Pilarcos, and instructions on approaching ontologies and MOF exercise
  • Exercise materials, including home exam and questionnaires
    • Exercises are grouped into subdirectories corresponding to exercise session (course week).
    • Each exercise task has independent number of points assigned to it, see list.
    • For in-class discussions you need to show activity by preparation beforehand and contributing to the discussion. If you have agreed beforehand about absence from such task, you can submit a corresponding learning diary based on the same instructions. Submission tool available in moodle. Others do not need to submit these tasks; if no other groupwork collection method has been used, the group can submit one copy and name all participants in it.
    • Learning diary tasks are announced within the weekly direcories as well. There is a minimum of a week to complete that learning diary. For learning diaries you receive individual feedback on subject topic contents and potentially also on appropriate study technique.
  • Reading materials, including literature for enhancing knowledge
  • Moodle area for collecting submissions . It currently carries news and open discussion forum. Learning diaries are to be submitted in Moodle. Questionnaires and joint documents at exercises may use moodle or other platforms.

Introduction: 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 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 source of new services.

In practice, we struggle using all these services simultaneously. While the fundamental paradigms and concepts structuring these environments are still finding a commonly agreed form, the ownership and market strategies create challenges for collaboration.

We struggle creating collaboration-supporting software based systems. 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 elements that allow us to cross boundaries - whether they are 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 matching their ideas together, and help them to come up with a few best practices for the field. They can standardize some basic business processes 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 for each business opportunity separately. We must build 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 fullfiment 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, in the national research and development instructions for our funding instruments, in ministries and development-leading companies these themes are being observed, developed and tried out in different variations. We have seen the large scale architecture change for over a decade by now, and it it is still in progress. This work requires multidisciplinary approaches. It is not a computer science problem, or a software engineering problem alone. We need to call in economic and social scientists, organisational scientists, politicians, psychology researchers, ... 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.

Course contents

The course contents aims at understanding service ecosystems architecture, functions required for its infrastructure and the variety of related development directions. The learning goals focus on capabilities of analysing maturity and risks in these modern environments.

The service ecosystem architecture and its key capabilities hook into enterprise computing arrangements and selected computing and communication platforms in involved organisations. A few elements (such as enterprise architecture, business models and distribution platforms; business oriented terminology for collaboration) must be studied in brief, in order to support analysis.

The course starts with an overview of the service ecosystem concept, motivation for it and related development trends. The middle part involves studying concepts and solutions that organisations use for managing and governing their computing solutions and collaborations. The final part is focused on different service ecosystem solutions and analysis framework for comparing them and for predicting their evolution. The exam is about applying the framework and analysis skills on finding improvement needs on collaboration architectures, finding risks, or suggesting solutions on collaboration support challenges.


Although the course is "a lecture course" it is intended to be discussive, interactive tourist-round introduction 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.

The exercise session and lecture on Tuesday can somewhat vary in time division. For example, sometimes we can take a bit more time for the exercise and have a shorter lecture session. In addition, we can agree with the group whether to start the exercises at 10.00 sharp and have half-an-hour lunch break before the lecture. In that case, the lecture will be without breaks and close at 14.00.

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 answers 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 this page, under "News" at the top of this page.

When you are requested to submit learning diaries or group diaries from the exercise sessions, please email them (preferrably in pdf) and follow the subject line instructions in detail. All questionnaires are to be returned in electronic form; paper versions are allowed but may not be processed as quickly.