Work as a Service

  • Daniel V. Oppenheim
  • Lav R. Varshney
  • Yi-Min Chee


Improving work within and among enterprises is of pressing importance. In this chapter we take a services-oriented view of both the doing and the coordinating of work by treating work as a service. We discuss how large work engagements can be decomposed into a set of smaller interconnected service requests and conversely how they can be built up. Encapsulation of work into a service request enables its assignment to any qualified work organization. As such, the encapsulation naturally lends itself to ongoing optimization of the overall engagement. A service request contains two distinct parts: coordination information for coordinating work and payload information for doing work. Coordination information deals with business concerns such as risk, cost, schedule, and value co-creation. Contrarily, payload information defines the deliverables and provides what is needed to do the work, such as designs or use-cases. This general two-part decomposition leads to a paradigm of work as a two-way information flow between service systems, rather than as a business process to be implemented. Treating work as information flow allows us to leverage extant web services technology using mainstream service-oriented architectures (SOA). Milestone structures may be used to formalize coordination and establish measurable outcomes. Benefits from the work-as-a-service approach include agility, visibility, responsiveness, and ongoing optimization.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel V. Oppenheim
    • 1
  • Lav R. Varshney
    • 1
  • Yi-Min Chee
    • 1
  1. 1.IBM Thomas J. Watson Research CenterYorktown HeightsUSA

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