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					         VISP: a software platform for process
         automation in a digital cluster of SMEs acting
         as a Virtual ISP.
         Eric Mannie-Corbisier, Henri-Jean Pollet (Perceval Technologies)
         Veliko Tarnovo, 15th June 2006

6th - 7th February 2006                                                     1
   What is VISP - Very Briefly
   VISP is a Research and Development project whose
   objective is to develop a software platform enabling a
   cluster of SMEs to collaborate and operate as a single
   business entity, in multiple dynamic business models,
   for the production of tailored ISP solutions adapted to
   local business needs.

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   The VISP project
           Project of the EC's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
           March 2005, 4th IST call with 1120 million euros of funding.
           VISP was retained for funding and started 1st November 2005.
           VISP is a Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP).
           It will last for 32 months until June 2008.
           Total budget around 3.5 million € with 2 million € funding.
           Estimated work effort of 395 Person-Months.
           Consortium of 11 partners in 10 different European countries.
           7 industrial partners (mostly SMEs) and 4 academic partners.
           Project is eBusiness focused and coordinator is Perceval.
                 This presentation reflects only the author’s views. The European Community is not
                 liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

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                              FP6 (2002-2006) structure
Source: European Commission

                                Total budget: 17.5 billion euros                   Access conditions: very open
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   The VISP Consortium

                                              Berlin Poznan
                            Strassen                      Krakow




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   Small business ISP issues
           Local loop unbundling didn't really succeeded for small ISPs:
                Constrained by reselling wholesale services of incumbent operators.
                But access infrastructure still closed to these ISPs for scalability reasons.
                Cost structure often directly proportional to the area size to be covered.
                Small ISPs don't have the customer density but have to cover all areas.
           Struggle to lower prices on typical added-value services:
                E.g. e-mail, hosting, DNS, firewall, backup, etc.
                Some become expensive to provide: spam filtering, regulation, etc.
                These services are monolithic and easy to compete with.
           Solution: try to differentiate by offering tailored services:
                SMEs are more flexible than large companies.
                SMEs are stronger at local business.
                But too many services to be done alone: cluster of partners!

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     The famous Michael Porter's curve

                                                                          Commodity services
                   Profitability          Niche markets,                     (mass market),
                                        exceptional services,                 lower prices,
                                           premium price                 use efficiency of scale

                                   VISP: niche market
                                   of tailored services
Challenge: specializing but not                                                                    Challenge: getting bigger but
   getting more profitable                                                                          not getting more profitable

                                     Small players                                Big players

                                                                            Market Share
             Two ways to reach profitability according to Porter:
                   Commoditize the services and go as quickly to the right as possible.
                   To play in a niche market: almost infinite number of small players.

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   Tailoring and service modelling
           Classical monolithic services are decomposed to be recomposed:
                Building blocks: atomic service vs. non-atomic service (or bundle).
                Firewall service = {Filtering service, Intrusion detection service, Proxy service,
                 Anti malicious software service, Spam filtering service, Network address
                 translation service, Virtual private network service}.
           Service in VISP:
                Object with a technical description and a list of characteristics.
                Entire life cycle will be covered: from specification to activation and suppression.
                Challenge is to find out the DNA of the service.
           Important to identify the key distinctive characteristics that represent:
                A "value" for the customer (monetary, technical, strategical, etc).
                A "cost" for the provider (because it influences the sales price).
           Postulate: customer prefers the offer that gives details and justifies the price.

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   Simple example of a service
   Service #              7870                       Service               Manpower consulting service
   Description            The manpower consulting service consists in providing a consultant for a given duration at a given location.

   Professional skill level                  Mandatory
   Description                Indicates the professional skill level required for the manpower.
     Allowed Values                                                          Value Description
   000                        Custom/other.
   030                        Junior.
   040                        Senior.
   050                        Expert.

   Duty duration                             Mandatory
   Description                Indicates the duration of the duty in man-days, or fraction of man-days.
     Allowed Values                                                        Value Description
   Real                       Duty duration in man-days, or fraction of man-days.

   Duty premises (list)                      Mandatory
   Description                Indicates all the premises where the duty shall be performed. Home premise implies an overhead cost to be
                              paid to the manpower and ISP premise implies requirements on workspace, etc.
        Allowed Values                                                    Value Description
   00                         Custom/other.
   10                         Home premise.
   20                         ISP premise.
   30                         Customer premise.
   40                         Third-party premise.

     Other characteristics: working time periods, geographical location, working language, vehicle, etc.
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   Early service knowledge base structure

         #                  Service categories                      #groups      #services
         1       Access services                                       17            17
         2       Bandwidth services                                     5            11
         3       Hosting services                                       5             5
         4       Application services                                  10            43
         5       Network services                                      11            45
         6       Security services                                      5            28
         7       Support services                                       9            37
         8       Software supplies (UN classification)                 16           128
         9       Material supplies (UN classification)                 44           282
        Total                       9                                 122     186 + 410 = 596

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   Example of classification
                                                   Part of network services
                                      Group name                                                Service building block
     Naming and addressing services                                      IPv4 unicast address attribution service
     Naming and addressing services                                      IPv6 unicast address attribution service
     Naming and addressing services                                      IPv4 multicast address attribution service
     Naming and addressing services                                      IPv6 multicast address attribution service
     Naming and addressing services                                      Autonomous system number service
     Naming and addressing services                                      Domain name service
     Naming and addressing services                                      Subdomain name service
     Mobility services                                                   Mobile Wi-Fi service
     Mobility services                                                   Mobile IPv4 service
     Mobility services                                                   Mobile IPv6 service
     Traffic control services                                            Network traffic control service
     Traffic control services                                            Priority service
     Traffic control services                                            Differential service
     Traffic control services                                            Integrated service
     Traffic control services                                            Explicit Congestion Notification service
     Traffic control services                                            Load balancing service
     Protocol operation services                                         Proxy service
     Protocol operation services                                         Protocol translation service
     Protocol operation services                                         Network address translation service
     Protocol operation services                                         TCP performance enhancement service

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    Cluster of partners and its ecosystem
                                                    Ally                  Ally
                                                     1                     2
                                                                                                           Other types of virtual ISP exist (e.g. wholesale)
                                 Supplier                            VISP cluster            1
                                    1                       1
                                                           Internal trading
                                                         (economic models,
                                                           new workflows)                       Customer
                                Supplier                                   Partner who             2
                                   2                                        is itself a

                                                            Community or                       Customer
                                     Supplier              Virtual Enterprise                     3
                                                      External trading (business model,
                                            classical Supply Chain Management and workflows)

      Ally : entity whose products and/or services help to enhance the demand of the cluster.
      Supplier : entity from which the cluster or any other entity obtains goods, services or information.

       Partners are independent organisations (SMEs) with own business objectives and strategies.
       Business and technical workflows are required inside of the cluster with a common unique portfolio of services.
       Every partner can sell services offered by all others and each new partner makes the Virtual ISP more attractive, stronger and resilient.

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   The type of SMEs addressed
                     Private, commercial, small, business, access ISP

           vs. public vs. non-commercial vs. large                    vs. residential vs. transit
            Other types address other markets, problems, services, constraints, challenges, etc.

           Benefits of VISP for these SMEs:
                Consolidate the future against larger ISPs and other competitors.
                Considerably extend the business coverage in terms of possible services.
                Help newcomers, e.g. SMEs in UPRs, EC Objective regions, etc.
           Issues for providing tailored services:
                SMEs have their own value and are highly specialized, but they cannot
                 face the complexity and have all skills (scale).
                (Opening) cost of setting-up a professional BSS and OSS environment.

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   The VISP design vision
           Top-down approach instead of bottom-up:
                Go from the BSS to the OSS:
                    Open source ERPs with standard content.       Automation will be ERP driven
                    ERP more and more used by SMEs.
                Go from high-level languages to low-level languages:
                    Need to adapt quickly to ever changing ISP environment.
                    Processes have to be also understood by the management.
                    Too many frequent changes in processes to program in C or Java.
           Use standards as much as possible:
                Re-use standard business process languages for technical processes.
                Re-use existing standard business processes (e.g. RosettaNet).
           Divide and conquer: floating boxes like an unsinkable boat:
                Two main "isolated" parts: container vs. content (sub-divided).
                Don't re-invent the wheel and don't try to cover all aspects of an ERP.
                Enable also high re-usability in other contexts.
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   The VISP container: 2 key parts
           Modelling platform:
                I.e. a development environment
                Based on existing tools.
                Tool chain from choreography to orchestration.
           Execution platform:
                I.e. a runtime in which workflows are executed & monitored.
                A workflow engine with its direct environment indeed.
                Based on existing tools and adapted to clustered operations.
                Able to communicate with multiple kinds of systems (not only databases).
                Core of an open ERP indeed.

                   Have their own value independently

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   VISP platform: high-level view
            Simplified process modelling and workflow specification platform
                     Choreography        Choreography             Mapper to              Orchestration
                        editor            specification          orchestration           specification            LDAP

                                                    WF distributor
                                                    and controller

                 Partner 1       WF            WF                              WF
                                Engine                                        Engine             CIM            Network
                                  1                                             3              mediation      Component 1

                                 ERP                                               ERP
                                                          LDAP                                   CIM            Network
                                                                                               mediation      Component 2
                    CIM         Network                                    Partner 4
                  mediation    Component     WF
                                                                                                           This partner has
                                                     WF                                    Engine          no visible network
                    Network        CIM              Engine                          WF       4             component (e.g. a
                   Component     mediation                                                                 developper)
                                                     2.1              WF                     ERP
                                                     ERP              2.2
                   Partner 2                                                               Partner 3
                                                                                              Workflow execution platform

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   The VISP content: 3 key parts
           Unique ISP service knowledge base:
                Huge IP service oriented structured technical reference book.
                Common language used by internal & external (customers) actors.
                Also another way to explain ISP technologies, a book by itself?
           Unique base of ISP technical procedures:
                Dump of network engineering technical knowledge.
                Readable (e.g. BPMN) and executable (e.g. BPEL) workflows.
                Another kind of knowledge of paramount importance for ISPs.
                Can be made visible to business customers for deployment monitoring.
           Innovative business processes:
                Implementing clustering (multi-party) and new economic models.
                Readable (e.g. BPMN) and executable (e.g. BPEL) workflows
                Complementing the existing catalogue of standard business workflows.

                  Have their own value independently
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              Simple ISP workflow: NAT port opening
  Collaborative (global) process

                                                                       Abstract (public) process

                                                                       Abstract (public) process

                                                           Private (internal) process

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   Conclusion and future work
                Challenging project:
                    Serve both business and technical needs and requirements.
                                                                      tin
                    Two different worlds are meeting: modelling and networking experts.
                                                                     esthe wheel.
                    Re-use whatever is existing and avoid re-inventing
                    Base everything on standards while avoid collapsing.
              An experiment field for innovative technologies:
                Ontologies (RDF, OWL, etc).ma
                                         t it
                 Web services (WSDL, UDDI, etc).
                 Workflow technologies (choreography and orchestration).
                 Network modelling (WBEM, CIM, SID, etc).
                           allen about the reusability of the project results:
              Big expectations
                 Apply C concepts and results to other environments.
                   Control other types of industrial systems (finite-state-machine).

15th June 2006
                                           VISP - Veliko Tarnovo                          19
                  Thank you!

                 Any questions?

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