the future of distributed services

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cbd = component-based development
odp = open distributed processing
cbse = component-based software engineering
cbb = component-based business

four predictions for 2001

Convergence of computing and telecoms. This has of course been predicted many times before.  Indeed, the label Information Technology was once intended to include telecoms, but now seems to be synonymous with computing.
Extending differentiated services and policy management. Most discussion to date has been focused on a narrow technical issues such as network traffic and the associated technical standards (IETF). In future, this will be extended to cover a broad range of customer-facing and business issues.
Extending 'plug-and-play' into the business arena.  Constructing solutions from ready-made building blocks (plug-and-play) seems very attractive, not just for telecoms networks, but for whole business operations. 
Convergence of engineering and economics.  Proper system of metrics - linking engineering characteristics with ecological success and commercial value.  Option pricing and the hedonic pricing model may be applied to network services.
concepts internet links
Opportunities of distributed systems

Opportunities from openness

Outdated assumptions about systems and development

Architecture and standards

How can we help you?

RM-ODP ISO 10746: Reference Model for Open Distributed Processing

DSTC RM-ODP Information Service
Various papers and references, including alternative download formats for the reference model itself.

DSTC Enterprise Distributed Computing page
Various papers and references, especially on enterprise modelling and business objects.

Opportunities of distributed systems


Business re-engineering

Michael Hammer talks about the reversal of the Industrial Revolution. [Hammer & Champny 1993] Is this just another slogan?

He explains this in terms of the abandonment of the Adam Smith paradigm of task decomposition and supervision. 

Federation and subsidiarity

The use of federation to resolve the mediæval industrial dialectic of monarch versus baron: central planning versus divisional anarchy. [Davenport 1992, Handy 1992]

Market transactions

In a stable world, hierarchical transactions may have a cost advantage over market or network transactions. But markets and networks offer greater flexibility over hierarchies, together with better opportunities for local motivation and reward, and these factors more than outweigh any cost advantages.


Organizations without hard departmental boundaries - the 'Boundaryless Company' [Hirschhorn & Gilmore 1993]. 

Use of IT to promote flexible management - 'managing by wire' [Haeckel & Nolan 1993].

Paradoxes of control

Tom Peters: you are out of control when you are "in control" [Peters 1992, p 465]. 

What he means by this slogan is that central top-down control in the modern corporation is an illusion.


Peter Keen argues that the modern corporation is pathologically complex. [Keen 1990]

Strategic Flexibility


Inter-firm cooperation

'Liberation Management' (Tom Peters)

Organizational Flexibility


Transient organization

Technological Flexibility




Opportunities from open systems

Outdated assumptions

Open Distributed Component-Based Systems do not conform to traditional assumptions.

Architecture and Standards



open distributed processing typical services
open distributed processing white papers and other materials
Component Ecosystems (HTML)

The context for CBD

components, encapsulation, reuse, plug'n'play April 1999
Patterns for Business, Distribution and Intervention (HTML) patterns March 1999
CBD and ODP Briefing (Acrobat file) January 1999
Software Component Quality (HTML) quality, testing February 1997

moreSCIPIO white papers

open distributed processing recommended reading
Kevin Kelly. New Rules for the New Economy. 10 ways the network economy is changing everything. 

US: Viking Penguin. UK: Fourth Estate. 1998

A systematic analysis of the strategies for successful business in the new world.

This is the open, distributed, connected, chaotic world he described in his previous book. Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World.

buy it from buy it from Amazon uk


Some of this material is based on research carried out in the Enterprise Computing Project, part of the UK DTI ODSA programme. This work benefited from the participation of John Dobson, David Iggulden, Sally Jack, Ian Macdonald and Rob van der Linden.

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This page last updated on December 4th, 2000
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