In the service-oriented computing paradigm and the Web service architecture, the broker role is a key facilitator to leverage technical capabilities of loose coupling to achieve organizational capabilities of dynamic customer-provider-relationships. In practice, this role has quickly evolved into a variety of intermediary concepts that refine and extend the basic functionality of service brokerage with respect to various forms of added value like platform or market mechanisms. While this has initially led to a rich variety of Web service intermediaries, many of these are now going through a phase of stagnation or even decline in customer acceptance. In this paper we present a comparative study on insufficient service quality that is arguably one of the key reasons for this phenomenon. In search of a differentiation with respect to quality monitoring and management patterns, we categorize intermediaries into Infomediaries, e-Hubs, e-Markets and Integrators. A mapping of quality factors and control mechanisms to these categories depicts their respective strengths and weaknesses. The results show that Integrators have the highest overall performance, followed by e-Markets, e-Hubs and lastly Infomediaries. A comparative market survey confirms the conceptual findings.
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- Perspectives for Web Service Intermediaries: How Influence on Quality Makes the Difference
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