This chapter provides an outlook on two recent research streams from the field of services: service network analysis and service level engineering. Service network research seeks to understand what factors explain the topology and dynamic nature of service networks. Service level engineering proposes to improve service level management by considering customers’ business objectives rather than to focus on the IT infrastructure that provides the service. These streams look beyond the boundaries of services and focus on systems of services represented as networks and bring customers to take part of service systems.
1. Contrast the characteristics of the nodes and relationships that are part of the www, linked data, social networks, financial networks, railway networks, and food chain networks.
2. Choose a web site that operates as a registry for services, such as findthebest for cloud computing.8 With the information available from the registry, manually reconstruct a service networks with 10–15 services similar to the one shown in Fig. 10.3 on page 331.
3. Using the notion of co-occurrence, use Google’s search engine to determine the “strength” or support from the web for the relationships identified in the previous exercise. Each edge will have a weight to express its strength.
4. Apply the metrics size, density, centrality, and distance from the field of social networking to the service network created. What can be learned? How could the metrics benefit from an adaptation to deal specifically with service networks?
5. Using NetworkX (NX),9 a Python package for the study of complex networks, develop a software program to visualize the network created.
6. Explain the role of service level indicators and service level objectives in measuring and defining service quality.
7. Which approaches are there to define service level objectives? What are their advantages and disadvantages?
8. Explain in more detail how service level engineering can be applied to define service level objectives. Elaborate on the trade-off between the two cost types considered in service level engineering.
9. What are the challenges of defining and measuring service quality in practice?