- Created by David Walker (internet2.edu), last modified on Feb 23, 2021
An online service can be partitioned into three layers:
The Software determines the potential functionality of the service. The Platform is a deployment of the software that supports the Service. The Service is what is actually delivered to its users; it includes the Software and the Platform, as well as all other functions that may be required, such as user administration, user support, marketing, policy and legal compliance, etc.
Each of these layers requires supporting activities by one of the following roles. Your responsibilities within InCommon will depend on which of the roles you fill.
- Service Operator - The role that is responsible for the Service. The Service Operator establishes the service’s policies, manages its business, and oversees its technical operation (which may be outsourced to a SaaS Platform Deployer).
- SaaS Platform Deployer - The role that is responsible for the Platform used to provide the Service Operator’s Service.
- Software Implementer - The role that implements the Software used by the SaaS Platform Deployer.
Your organization may be filling all of these roles, but it is also possible for these roles to exist within two or more organizations through outsourcing relationships, use of open source software, etc. The following examples should help you determine where you fit within this ecosystem.
Example: Enterprise Video Conferencing
State U provides a video conferencing service, based on Whiz.com, for its staff and faculty, as well as others who collaborate with them. Whiz.com operates the technology, and State U determines who is allowed to use the service, establishes policies for its use, etc. In this case, State U is the Service Operator, and Whiz.com is both the SaaS Platform Deployer and the Software Implementer.
|Service Operator||State U|
|SaaS Platform Deployer||Whiz.com|
Example: Resources for (Any) College Student
Students-R-Us operates a service for college students at all universities, providing information about scholarship opportunities, where to find cheap textbooks, ratings of university student services, etc. It is hosted by WordPress.com, and WordPress.com deploys software created by the WordPress.org open source project.
|SaaS Platform Deployer||WordPress.com|
Example: Simulation of the Geographic Spread of Infectious Disease
The Institute of Disease Dispersal provides a simulation model to help regional health officials to understand the spread of epidemics within their regions. IDD researchers developed the simulator's software, which is operated by their graduate students.
|Service Operator||Institute of Disease Dispersal|
|SaaS Platform Deployer||Institute of Disease Dispersal|
|Software Implementer||Institute of Disease Dispersal|
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