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IBM Journal of Research and Development

Global Service Delivery Technologies   Abstract
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The IBM Services Connection: Service delivery through self-service portal technologies

by B. S. Tagg
Self-service technologies are relied upon by service delivery organizations that make use of their low cost and ubiquity to deliver componentized self-service to worldwide clients. A role-based portal can be a key technology component for any service-delivery organization seeking to provide an advanced self-service capability. Portals that have access to information on the client’s organization, its contracted services, and the service components provided can be used to manage the parameters of service delivery. Providing the client’s management dashboard through self-service portals establishes a foundation that allows a service organization to present its services value chain in terms and subprocesses that are relevant to its clients. Exposing services processes to clients requires a governance layer that ensures consumers of multiple services can manage their service delivery in ways that make the client more efficient. Supporting technologies such as "single sign on," reporting, model-driven tooling, and real-time linkages to services entitlement complete the core technology set that fulfills the end-to-end self-service architecture. In this paper, we provide an overview of the unique self-service requirements for service delivery, followed by an overview of the technologies required to meet those requirements. We also review innovations that enable the creation of the IBM Services Connection, a worldwide deployed service support portal.

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