Furthermore, in addition to the main building blocks discussed above, markets provide the socio-economic, technical and legal infrastructure for transactions, which usually pass through the phases information, trading, matching and settlement. This also applies to OTF markets. Specifically, the following three attributes are characteristic for OTF markets.
IT services are traded electronically. Whereas in the past financial products, commodities and services were increasingly traded on electronic markets, OTF markets aim at IT services that will be electronically traded in the future. On the one hand, the expected heterogeneity of the IT services (from both point of views a functional and non-functional perspective) is challenging, as well as on the other hand the identification of appropriate pricing mechanisms for such IT services (e.g., list prices, auctions, prices which depend on features of the IT services or the customer, pay-per-use or free ad-financed IT services).
The IT services are composed of several individual services. Composed services enable the reuse of frequently requested and/or standardized components of an IT service and at the same time allow for addition new, individual services. The essential functions of an OTF Market are the search, matching, composition, verification, execution and monitoring of IT services. Both the composition of existing services and the development of new services involve various market participants.
The IT services are experience goods. Experience goods are characterized by the fact that the customer or end user cannot determine the quality until consumption or use has been completed. This property also has IT services on OTF markets as they are individually configured and configured for the end user. Since IT services on an OTF Market may consist of several individual services, the quality of such composed services can be difficult to ascertain in advance. Through rating systems, end users can make use of the experience gained in the past with other market participants or the IT services they already used. This leads to learning effects, which also have an impact on the behavior of the market participants in demanding IT services.
From the above sketched requirements for modeling OTF markets and the described approach to develop an architecture framework, we identified a prototypical process of a transaction in OTF markets, which consists of four steps (see also Figure 3):
(1) The End User requests a service by creating a requirement definition for the service and addressing it to the Service Requester.
(2) The Service Requester receives the requirements definition and process it into several technical specifications that can be used within the OTF Market.
(3) The OTF Provider selected by the service requester is now looking for appropriate Service Providers that provide services as well as Compute Center, which provide the hardware resources necessary in the execution environment.
(4) The OTF Provider provides the compiled service to the end user.
This is one possible form of a processed transaction in an OTF market. Numerous other variants (e.g., a direct request by the End User without using a Service Requester) are conceivable. Extensions to the described functioning of OTF markets are already being discussed in numerous directions (for example, public or intra-company OTF markets). Also, the architecture framework’s objective is to enable specific OTF markets to be instantiated for various domains (such as OTF markets for mobile apps or cloud services).