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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, Volume 9, Issue 5, September–October 2010, Pages 460–472
Recently, static value chains have gradually been giving way to highly agile service value networks. This involves novel economic and organizational challenges. Added value for customers is created by feasible compositions of distributed service components. This work focuses on the design of a multidimensional procurement auction for trading service compositions and the analysis of strategies for service providers that participate in the procurement process. The mechanism implementation is incentive-compatible, so that it results in an equilibrium in which revealing the true multidimensional type (quality of service and valuation) is a weakly-dominant strategy for all service providers. Due to combinatorial restrictions imposed by the underlying graph topology, the winner determination problem can be solved in polynomial time, in contrast to computationally-intractable combinatorial auctions which cannot be solved this way. Furthermore, we provide a simulation-based analysis based on a reinforcement learning model of bundling and unbundling strategies of service providers that participate in the auction. Based on our results we discuss strategic recommendations for service providers depending on how they are situated within the network.
Industries are moving from vertical integration to horizontal specialization. Hierarchically-organized firms that started to cooperate in tightly-coupled strategic networks with stable interorganizational ties recently have been exploring the benefits of exploiting more loosely-coupled configurations of legally- independent firms. A prime example for such highly dynamic fields of application is the software industry. Specialized service providers are beginning to leverage their core competencies in so-called service value networks (SVNs) in order to jointly offer complex services. Complex or composite services typically involve the assembly and invocation of many pre-existing, standardized services, possibly offered by diverse enterprises to complete the functionality of a multi-step business process ( Papazoglou, 2008). Business value is provided through the agile and market-based composition of such complex services from a steady, but open pool of complementary as well as substitutable standardized service modules by the use of easily accessible information technology (IT) ( Blau et al., 2009). This development and the advent of service value networks are illustrated in Fig. 1.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We proposed a multidimensional procurement auction for trading composite services in networked business settings. We presented a graph-based model that captures the main components and characteristics of service value networks. Based on this model, we introduced a mechanism design that enables allocation and pricing of service components that together form a requested complex service. Auctions for composite services are much more complex than simple procurement auctions, in which the suppliers themselves offer a full solution to the procurer. In composite services, this is not the case, as flawless service execution and the requester’s valuation depend on the sequence of the activities in the auction process. This means that contrary to service bundles, composite services only generate value through a valid order of their components. The allocation is computed based on the requester’s score for quality of service characteristics of the complex service. At the same time, the mechanism is capable of handling a wide range of aggregation operations for service attributes, and of supporting rich semantic approaches for dealing with complex non-functional service specifications. Due to the combinatorial restrictions imposed by the underlying graph topology, the related winner determination problem can be solved in polynomial time. This is a crucial issue when it comes to implementing auction online systems. We further showed that our proposed mechanism is individually rational, allocatively-efficient and incentive-compatible with respect to QoS characteristics and prices of services. Hence, reporting the true type regarding configuration and price is a weakly-dominant strategy for all service providers. This is a valuable property, as it lowers strategic complexity for service providers and fosters a trustful requester-provider relationship. Based on our analytical results regarding the mechanism’s properties, we also investigated bundling and unbundling strategies of service providers by expanding their strategy space from pure bidding strategies to decisions about establishing strategic alliances with competitors. In an agent-based simulation, we showed that this decision depends on how service providers are situated in the network. Service providers that are not allocated by the mechanism increase their probability of being allocated as well as their expected payoff by forming strategic alliances. Service providers that have already been allocated, it turns out, are better off by following an unbundling strategy. For further research, we plan to investigate solutions to counteract overpayments, as our mechanism design is not budget-balanced. Nevertheless, this is a crucial property from a requester perspective. Up until the present, the resulting prices for complex services are unbounded and hardly predictable. Budget-balanced solutions can be enforced by adequate payment rules (Parkes et al., 2001). We also encourage the evaluation of payment rules that are budget-balanced, approximately incentive-compatible, and incentivize service providers to strengthen compatibility ambitions.