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Over the last decade, the service sector has become the biggest and fastest-growing business sector in the world. For the first time ever, it now employs most people worldwide. In order for this growth to continue, services should become more widely and easily available and should also yield higher productivity. The clever use of information technology can significantly help to achieve these goals. SAP has started to explore different aspects of the service sector. The organization is specifically looking for those services which can be managed through IT and, being combined, lend themselves into value-added services. This new and elaborate vision for next-generation services provided via the Internet is known as the Internet of Services.

In the Internet of Services, innovative technological developments drive the creation of new delivery channels for services and entirely new business models. The creation of these services is facilitated by an open platform and interface architecture, as provided by the Enterprise Service-Oriented Architecture (enterprise SOA). The Internet of Services takes the enterprise SOA approach to the next level by making services easy to implement, consume, and trade. In combination with Web 2.0 technologies, the Internet of Services is expected to improve service innovation. Additionally, by bringing events from the real world into the services realm (making the Internet of Services "real-world aware"), the Internet of Services will become a cornerstone for the Internet of the next generation - Web 3.0.

The beauty of this concept is a real opportunity for SAP to make its applications even more attractive, enabling customers to offer their services much more easily than it is currently the case. Leveraging the SAP partner network for additional services, as well as the customer community for feedback on provided services and the innovation of new services, will create a new ecosystem for the benefit of customers, partners, and SAP. 2007 saw the start of the THESEUS program in Germany, an ambitious initiative partly sponsored by the German Government to spearhead the use of innovative technologies for next-generation services. Since the program's inception, SAP has been closely involved, most notably with the TEXO use case. TEXO is a research project within the THESEUS research program focusing on future business value networks in the context of service economies.

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