Web Services E-Contract and Reuse

Web Services E-Contract and Reuse

Marcelo Fantinato, Maria Beatriz Felgar de Toledo, Itana Maria de Souza Gimenes
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch088
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The Internet and the Service-oriented Computing (SOC) paradigm (Papazoglou, Traverso & Dustdar, 2008) made the electronic interchange of services possible. Consequently, the scope of Business Process Management (BPM) (Khalaf, Keller & Leymann, 2006) has broadened from intra-organizational service interchange to interorganizational cooperation. In this new scenario, organizations are concentrating efforts on their main business and subcontracting electronic services (e-services) from partners. Business processes that cross organizational borders are more complex, thus a simple definition of the process is no longer enough to ensure trust. An electronic contract (e-contract) is necessary to define the rights and obligations of each involved party and monitoring of business process execution becomes mandatory.
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An ordinary contract is an agreement between two or more parties interested in creating mutual relationships on business or legal obligations. It defines an activity set to be carried out by each party, which must satisfy a set of terms and conditions – the contractual clauses. An e-contract is an electronic document (Marjanovic & Milosevic, 2001; Hoffner et al., 2001) used to represent an agreement between partner organizations carrying out business using the Internet, in which the negotiated services are e-services. The e-contracts are therefore used to describe details of the supply and the consumption of e-services within a business process, including Quality of Services (QoS) (Sahai, 2002; Menasce, 2002) levels agreed between the parties.

A telecommunication company, for instance, would need an e-contract as it may use e-services from partner organizations such as collection or dunning companies. To provide services to its final customers, a telecom company, through its telecom system, needs to use e-services provided by partner organizations systems, thus creating an inter-organizational business process. Each party provides a set of e-services to be used by another party. The terms of an e-contract are negotiated and then established to define the details about the business agreement. A dunning company can provide a series of e-services to a telecom company, such as services related to: applying charge action, reverting charge action application, irregular checks management, debts controlling, and charges and discounts applications. On the other hand, the telecom company can also provide some e-services to the dunning company, such as the services related to: service order registering and cancellations, default notice management, and customer information updates.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Web Service: A special type of e-services, based on a set of open XML-standards, provisioned on the Internet.

E-Service: Piece of software provisioned as an electronic service on a computer network to be used by different customers.

Contract Template: A partially-filled e-contract that has empty fields to be completed with some value during e-contract establishment, structured in a way to systematize reuse.

WS-Contract: A specific type of e-contracts in which the provided and consumed e-services are Web services.

BPM: Set of techniques related to the Business Process Management, supporting the definition, execution, monitoring, controlling, analysis and improvement of business process.

E-Contract: an electronic document used to represent an agreement between partner organizations carrying out business using a computer network, which describes details of the supply and the consumption of e-services within a business process including QoS attributes and levels.

Contract Metamodel: A model that captures the details, in the conceptual level, about the possible elements to be involved in a contract and the possible types of relationship between them, formalizing thus the rules to be satisfied by a set of e-contract templates and their e-contract instantiations.

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