For many years I’ve had an interest in the disciplines of Product Management and Service Management. These disciplines have been generally lacking in IT shops, though that is changing. Frameworks such as ITIL and standards such as ISO/IEC 20000 are helping sensitize IT professionals to Service Management, and methods such as Agile Development and Scrum are sensitizing IT professionals to the role of Product Owner, if not to the disciplines of Product Management.
However, my interest has been strengthened since reading the remarkable book, The Connected Company by Dave Gray with Thomas Vander Wal. Dave and Thomas have awakened me to a fact that I was subliminally aware of, but have reinforced for me why this is happening now. They have also drawn out for me some implications and subtleties I had not considered when thinking about the Service Revolution.
Everything is Becoming a Service
As the authors suggest:
Services cannot be designed and manufactured in isolation, like products. They are co-created with customers and are interdependent with wider service networks and clusters.”
They point out that most companies today have been finely tuned to “produce high volumes of consistent, standard outputs, with great efficiency and low cost.” Even some so-called ‘services’ are in reality “factory-style processes that treat people as if they were products moving through a production line.”
The Customer’s Experience of a Service is Key!
A product is largely experienced as it was manufactured. We may have subjective reactions to the product, but it does not change, other than through built in features. Services, however, change as they are experienced. This means that services cannot be delivered simply through efficient and operationally excellent processes. Services demand a ‘customer intimate’ delivery model that adapts to the ways the service is co-created by the customer and optimizes the customer experience.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Standards and Frameworks Such as ITIL
My esteemed colleague at BRM Institute, Dr. Aleksandr Zhuk, just posted a wonderful short post titled “BRM Role and Service: ITIL Dyad Revisited.” As an officially certified ITIL Expert, ‘he knows what of he speaks’, as they say. Please check out his post – and tell us both what you think, and how these observations resonate with your own experiences.
Graphic courtesy of Augustedge