Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Enhanced Services

One of the governance mechanisms described in recent paper on the Acquisition of Information Services and SOA Systems by the SOA Acquisition Working Group (described in my earlier post on Defense Procurement) is a so-called Enhanced Services Model, which aims to improve responsiveness.

'In the current model contractor’s incentives are to provide the minimal solution that meets the requirements. As the requirements grow and change, Engineering Change Proposals (ECPs) are required, resulting in real or perceived “scope creep”, and always in cost growth. This results in delays in deployment and fielded capability.

Under the enhanced services model, the contractor will be able to exceed the requirements by providing expanded or additional services. These could be “sold” to other users as a common reusable service that others do not have to develop. The additional services could also provide the basis for further development as the system matures.'

The paper signals an intention of the DoD to apply the concept of Enhanced Services in the defence domain. However, at present much of the discussion about enhanced services around the internet is not in the defence domain but in the healthcare domain. (Even if you search for DoD Enhanced Services you just seem to get stuff about healthcare for soldiers and veterans.)

In healthcare, the enhanced services model is used to allow and encourage service providers (e.g. healthcare system suppliers) to offer additional functionality, while allowing service consumers (e.g. clinics) to use these enhanced services in enhanced or specialized processes. In a complex ecosystem, this model allows scope for innovation and improvement.

The challenge with this approach is that it is not always possible to anticipate the value of enhancements. It also potentially increases the complexity of governance. However, there seems to be a strong opportunity to use the enhanced service model to provide added-value in complex situations where the service environment is not centrally controlled.

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