Last Updated: 11/01/2020
Enterprise service applications, today, are shifting towards service-oriented architectures. Services are the building blocks for applications in such architectures. Internet of Services (IoS) takes these services to another level by making them available as tradable goods through the internet. These services aren’t restricted to Web services. They also include business services.
A business activity given by the provider to a customer to create value for the customer is called business service. Though the IoS vision makes business services accessible via the internet, they are executed manually in the actual world. But, there are several challenges that business services counter.
Before we move ahead to discussing these challenges, let’s understand the Internet of Services.
What is the Internet of Services?
Internet of Services referred to as a platform for realizing ad-hoc business webs, is a comprehensive ecosystem. Here, one can deploy, publish, discover, deliver, and monitor services. Internet of Services requires dealing with a great variety and amount of information about services across various service information dimensions.
Challenges of Business Service Monitoring on the Internet of Services
Out of the many difficulties faced by business services, one of the most critical challenges is monitoring business services. In traditional monitoring, the focus is mainly of the Quality of Services. But, business services also need to monitor business aspects. Business service monitoring can only achieve its full potential when it addresses the business level aspects and takes into account an organization’s strategies.
# Challenge 1
Business service monitoring is more complicated because –
1. Services are intangible
Since the services have no materialistic existence, it is challenging to create suitable standards to model them. It is even painful to define the attributes used to measure them.
2. Services are inseparable
The execution, as well as the consumption of business services, coincides. Thus, demand and supply should match effortlessly. If this doesn’t match, services are lost, or customers have to be in the queue. That means they need to wait until the services are available.
3. Services are immersive
Services get executed in collaboration with the customers. Therefore, it becomes difficult to determine the cause of success or failure of service – whether it is services or the customers.
4. Services are bipolar
Services executed are a combination of technological and human resources. Although it is easy to monitor techniques, business services lack in bringing solutions to monitoring processes having human involvement.
The above characteristics of business services bring in a new challenge for business service monitoring. Let’s consider an example here!
Suppose, there is a need to monitor the business process and their functions while understanding the impact of service disruptions on business strategies. Well, this can be a challenge as different business services use the same infrastructure. Thus, it becomes difficult to determine their impact on workload and track the usage of resources.
So, to overcome this challenge, it is crucial to abstract and model the characteristics and peculiarities of business services. It will then enable formalization and normalization of the intangible, inseparable, immersive, and bipolar nature of business services.
# Challenge 2
Business service monitoring in the Internet of Services ensures that Quality of Service (QoS), as well as consumer and provider obligations, meet. Hence, one has to understand the goals of different stakeholders – be it consumers, providers, or marketplace providers. This gives rise to some technical challenges.
1. Business Level Monitoring
Service monitoring mainly targets the technical level of services. This includes QoS parameters like response time and availability. Besides, it also demands to monitor business aspects. It is thus essential to have a clear understanding of which metrics are appropriate for monitoring at the technical and business level and what is their relationship. To automate the monitoring process, there should be a mapping between the parameters derived from technical monitoring results at both levels.
2. Approaches to Business Level Monitoring
There are three different approaches to business-level monitoring:
- Customer-side monitoring
- Provider-side monitoring
- Third-party monitoring
The drawback of customer-side and provider-side monitoring is that neither party would trust each other in case any problem arises. However, third-party monitoring can resolve this issue. But, this approach also takes a back seat when it has to handle everything.
In IoS, each consumer negotiates his SLA (Service Level Agreement) individually, and the number of concurrent service consumers might be limited. Hence, one should develop a suitable monitoring approach that is –
- Capable of solving the trust issue between customers and providers
- Scalable to multiple service requests while maintaining accuracy to handle conflicts
- Flexible to be applicable in the dynamic context of the Internet of Services
3. Access to Monitoring Data
Another potential challenge of business service monitoring is to find out who needs access to which monitoring information and when. Consumers, as well as providers, require determining the causes and responsibilities of failures. At the same time, it is crucial to keep business processes that call service confidential. So, one should develop a mechanism that not only meets the monitoring goals but also maintains the confidentiality of business processes.
# Challenge 3
When you search through the internet, you will find numerous solutions to solve common business service monitoring problem for small- to- medium-sized organizations. However, for companies dealing with a large volume of hosts and applications may have a hard time finding a solution. Some challenges faced by large enterprises in the service monitoring business are:
1. High Availability and Scalability
Often, when the business starts to expand and experience more internet traffic, they encounter various difficulties. The most important of all is that they find it hard to scale their monitoring database management. Such problems were faced by a few gaming industries that were facing rapid growth. There were disconnected tries to handle all the critical systems running across the organizations. Thus, there is a need for a most robust and unique solution that can accommodate and immediately adjust to the extreme requirements without disrupting the whole operation.
When a company has to serve a vast customer base that is globally situated, it presents a unique challenge to business monitoring service. Mainly because, not all network devices, servers, and network-connected appliances are located in the same center. Generally, companies in gaming industries generally have a huge fan base, and they can’t afford downtime as it would mean that their players might look for another game. That’s why there is a need for distributed monitoring architecture.
How will the Internet of Services / Internet of Things help businesses overcome the challenges of Business Service Monitoring?
As IoT industry is experiencing a boom, there’s a prediction that, by 2020, a billion of devices and gadgets will get linked to the internet. Since it has become a viable way of delivering customer-centric services; business can earn big revenue through these services.
Most field service companies have now realized that customers want the services on the go. The introduction to field service management system has brought in a drastic change in creating, retrieving, and updating the information. Internet of Things enables companies to measure parameters like availability, uptime, amount of time spent on-site, and more. It offers a proactive approach in detecting issues and correcting faults by advanced predictions.
Field service management is witnessing a paradigm shift in the way the workforce is managing its operations. With an array of things revolutionizing field service, the challenges that business service monitoring is facing will also get diminished.
Besides, deploying field service management software ensures sustained customer satisfaction. The devices connected to the internet can stream information to their manufacturers or providers about their service history, their installation date, the issues that it faces, and more. It will help in having first-hand information so that they can deliver field service immediately.
Internet of Services can thus bring a revolution in business service monitoring and help providers grow their business with increased customer satisfaction.