The meaning of service – a discussion

This blog post captures a discussion on the meaning of service from multiple perspectives.

Contributors: Paul Huppertz, Majid Iqbal, Peter Brooks, Steven Alter, Robert Falowitz,  Peter Bergmann,  Charles Betz, Stuart Rance

See below for POST_1 to Post_14

 

POST_1: by Paul Huppertz

Dear all,

inspired by the illuminative & path-breaking thought

I have worked out the 3 main elements of the generic business model for service providers

  1. Servuction promise: accountability for service providing
  2. Servuction concept: methodology of service providing
  3. Servuction earning model: cost-effectiveness of service providing

 

This is illustrated in the slide deck of seminar ES20 ‘Service Provider – Service-Trilemma & Geschäftsmodell’

http://de.slideshare.net/PaulGHz/seminar-es20-service-provider-2015-v010000

This seminar is one out of the training series ‘ServicEducation – Methodik der Service-Erbringung’ as explained in the document below

http://de.slideshare.net/PaulGHz/ausbildungsreihe-serviceducation-methodik-der-serviceerbringung-2015-v010200

Furthermore, I given a lecture about the foundations & methods of reliable & cost-efficient service providing management

  1. slide deck of lecture 01 ‘Einführung – Von Vorlesungsorganisation bis Service-Konsument‘
    http://de.slideshare.net/PaulGHz/vorlesung-it-service-management-blockvorlesung-01-v010300
  2. slide deck of lecture 02 ‚Service-Typen – Von Service-Identifizierung bis Service-Fakturierung‘

http://de.slideshare.net/PaulGHz/vorlesung-it-servicemanagement-blockvorlesung-02-v010000

  1. slide deck of lecture 03 ‘Service-Kommittierung – Von Service-Katalog bis Service Level Agreements

http://de.slideshare.net/PaulGHz/vorlesung-itservice-management-blockvorlesung-06-v010100

Altogether, it might be the right point in time to prepare & establish the Serviciology, i.e. the science & the teaching about the service as such.

  1. XING forum ‘Serviciologie – Klärung des Fachbegriffs’

https://www.xing.com/communities/posts/serviciologie-klaerung-des-fachbegriffs-1005385005

 

What do you think about all this?

Kind regards & a satisfying end of the year

Paul

Paul G. Huppertz

Servicing Consultant & Service Composer

servicEvolution
Schöne Aussicht 41
65396 Walluf

Deutschland/Germany/Герма́ния

E-Mail          Paul.G.Huppertz@servicEvolution.com

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POST_2: by Jim Spohrer

Hi Paul,
Thanks for your note.

You may want to post it as a discussion thread here:
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/International-Society-Service-Innovation-Professionals-4720974

I am still working on getting volunteers lined up to do some concept maps of the many theories of service out there.

Happy Holidays And Best Wishes For New Year 2015!
-Jim

Dr. James (“Jim”) C. Spohrer
Director, IBM University Programs (IBM UP) and Cognitive Systems Institute
IBM Research – Almaden, 650 Harry Road, San Jose, CA 95120 USA
spohrer@us.ibm.com 408-927-1928 (o) 408-829-3112 (c)
Innovation Champion
@JimSpohrer
slideshare.net/spohrer
linkedin.com/in/spohrer

 

POST_3: by Paul Huppertz

Dear all,

 

I wonder why we are not talking about servistries in the tertiary sector of the economy, i.e. about enterprises rendering services of different service types, e.g.

  • utility services
  • transporting services
  • maintaining services
  • repairing services
  • teaching services
  • insuring services
  1. Wikipedia entry ‘Tertiary sector of the economy’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tertiary_sector_of_the_economy

This would be a clear conceptual distinction from the industries in the secondary sector of economy with all the enterprises making physical goods and/or systems of different types.

  1. Wikipedia entry ‘Secondary sector of the economy’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secondary_sector_of_the_economy

 

Furthermore, this would implicitly promote the clear distinction according to the illuminative & path-breaking thought:

  • “Production, c’est faire des choses. Servuction, c’est rendre des services.”
  • “Production is making goods. Servuction is rendering services.”
  • [Pierre Eiglier & Eric Langeard]
  1. article ‚Le service et sa servuction‘ from Pierre Eiglier, IAE (Institut d’Administration des Entreprises, Marseille & Aix-en-Provence)

http://de.slideshare.net/PaulGHz/artikel-le-service-et-sa-servuction-von-pierre-eiglier

 

Kind regards

Paul

 

POST_4: by Majid Iqbal

Dear all,

 

My belief is that, based on the fundamentals of economics, there are only two kinds of products: goods and services.

 

Therefore the term “production” applies to services, and the distinction between “products and services” is archaic and poorly founded. Services are products with a special form factor. Service management is product management, in the same way as botany and zoology are biology.

 

If we can rid ourselves with the deeply ingrained habit of saying “products and services”, there is a whole new level of clarity and depth of understanding on how and why services are the preferred form factor in which we package and deliver value; or purchase and consume it.

 

Best wishes for the New Year!

 

Regards,

Majid Iqbal <mxiqbal@dhashc.com>

 

POST_5: by Paul Huppertz

Majid,

 

even if goods and services are two kinds of products, their characteristics are fundamentally different

  • goods are tangible & material, substantial & persistent; a good can be handed over & taken over, lost & found, maintained & repaired, transported & stored, given back & taken back
  • services are intangible & immaterial, insubstantial & perishable; a service neither can be handed over nor can be taken over, neither can be lost nor can be found, neither can be maintained nor can be repaired, neither can be transported nor be stored, neither can be given back nor can be taken back

 

Nevertheless, the respective characteristics only are the accident, i.e. the ‘how it is’ (in Latin ‘qualitas’), but not the essence, the ‘what it is’ (in Latin ‘quidditas’)

  1. Wikipedia entry ‘Accident’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accident_(philosophy)

  1. Wikipedia entry ‘Essence’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essence

 

Regarding the essence, the following definitions and explanations are suggested:

 

  • On the most abstract level, a product is (defined as) a precisely identified & concisely specified output that is frequently effectuated by an accountable organisation(al unit) for certain (groups of) addressees.

 

  • On the next level, there are two fundamentally different categories of output
    • physical good = set of repeatedly executable & persistent functions.
      • Functions are the essence, the ‘what it is’, of any (type of) physical good.
      • The specific functions of a type of physical good are engineered once and implemented into each copy of this type, so that they become immanent to this copy.
      • A future user of a physical is neither present nor involved when his copy is fabricated.
      • A user can actuate the functions of his physical good at will without the maker being present and/or involved.
      • As soon as a copy of a physical good loses its constitutive function(s), it becomes useless and scrap.
    • service = set of one-time consumable & perishable benefits
      • Benefits are the essence, the ‘what it is’, of any (type of) service.
      • Its specific benefit is only ascribed to a type of service.
      • On the explicit service trigger of an authorized service consumer, the service-specific benefit must be effectuated from scratch to the physical or logical service object handed over for this purpose by the service consumer with his service trigger to the servuction environment and/or to the custody & control of the accountable service provider.
      • There are 4 categories of service objects
        • life & limb of the triggering service consumer
        • goods & chattels of the triggering service consumer
        • rights & claims of the triggering service consumer
        • data & documents of the triggering service consumer
        • The triggering service consumer is present for explicitly triggering a service and for handing over his service object to the servuction environment. Furthermore, he is involved by simultaneously consuming the explicitly triggered singular & unique service whilst it is effectuated by the service provider exclusively for him & rendered explicitly to him. Thus, service consumer and service provider as well as service rendering & service consuming are inseparable.
  1. LinkedIn Post ‘Service – Definition & Identification’

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140915154117-3487767-service-definition-identification?trk=mp-reader-card

  1. slide deck of the lecture ‘Service – Word & Term’

http://de.slideshare.net/PaulGHz/issip-service-word-and-term-20140827-v010000

 

Thus, a service is not a special form factor of a product. Instead, it is a separate & self-contained category of output that is fundamentally different from the other category of output.

This distinction between physical good and service is well-founded and traceable. Furthermore, it reveals that the

  • preconditions & boundary conditions,
  • locations & environments,
  • roles & responsibilities,
  • activators & addressees,
  • methods & means,
  • processes & results

of fabricating goods (= production) are fundamentally different from these of rendering services (= servuction).

 

Finally, a service per se neither can have nor has any value because any & every service as such is intangible & immaterial, insubstantial & perishable.

Even reliably rendering an explicitly triggered, singular & unique service has no value, Instead, reliably rendering a service has a service providing price whilst a service as such cannot have a price as it is intangible & immaterial, insubstantial & perishable. Rendering a service, i.e. factually effectuating the service-specific benefit to the service object of the triggering service consumer, is fundamentally different from the triggered service, i.e. from the set of one-time consumable & perishable benefits.

 

Only a service consumer can create value by simultaneously consuming an explicitly triggered & reliably rendered, singular & unique service for efficiently executing his upcoming activity. That’s why he has explicitly triggered a service of this type.

  1. slide deck of the keynote ‘Servicialisation – Service Consumers Center Stage!’

http://de.slideshare.net/PaulGHz/9th-russian-it-management-congress-2012-0524-servicialisation-service-consumers-center-stage-v010100

 

Conclusion:

  • Mixing up these two fundamentally different categories of output is going astray and generating lots of confusion.

“The logic that services are lust like goods resembles the logic that apples are like oranges except for their ‘appleness’” [G. Lynn Shostack]

  1. Article ‘Breaking Free From Product Marketing’ in ‘Journal of Marketing’, April 1977

http://www.scribd.com/doc/23720084/Breaking-From-Product-Marketing

  • Trying to prepare & perform service rendering with the same approaches and methods as making goods entails bad service quality, many service denials as well as inefficiencies & loss of efforts.

 

All these arguments & explanations are open for further scrutinizing & falsifying according to the guiding principle:

“Only falsifying yields new insights.”

[Karl Raimund Popper]

 

I’m looking forward for any further discussion about these foundations for reliable & cost-efficient service providing management (= servuction management) for any service type in any servistry. Furthermore, this is about the serviciology, i.e. the science of the service as such and about the generic service providing theory (= servuction theory).

  1. XING-Forum ‘Serviciologie – Klärung des Fachbegriffs’

https://www.xing.com/communities/posts/serviciologie-klaerung-des-fachbegriffs-1005385005

 

Best regards & best wishes for a prosperous New Year

Paul

 

POST_6, POST_7, POST_8 by Paul Huppertz, Peter Brooks, Majid Iqbal

Dear all,

from my perspective the appropriate rule in the context reads:
“An explicit dissent is yielding more than a diffuse consensus.”

Obviously, we have an explicit dissent regarding the definitions and the meanings of the terms ‘product’, ‘physical good’ and ‘service’.
We should try to exploit it in the best possible manner for resolving the relevant questions and issues.

Marked with [PGH] … [/PGH], I will insert my comments and arguments into the message below so that we can piecemeal discuss further details
As we all are explicitly triggering & simultaneously consuming many tens of services every day, we all can double check all these arguments & explanations as versed service consumers.

Kind regards
Paul

Paul G. Huppertz
Servicing Consultant & Service Composer
servicEvolution
Schöne Aussicht 41
65396 Walluf
Deutschland/Germany/Герма́ния

E-Mail                            Paul.G.Huppertz@servicEvolution.com
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—–Ursprüngliche Nachricht—–
Von: Peter Brooks [mailto:peter.h.m.brooks@gmail.com]
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 18. Dezember 2014 04:50
An: Majid Iqbal

On 17 December 2014 at 22:10, Majid Iqbal <mxiqbal@dhashc.com> wrote:
> My belief is that, based on the fundamentals of economics, there are only two kinds of products: goods and services.
[PGH]
Obviously, the roots of the words must be highlighted:

– The word ‘product’ is derived from the Latin word ‘productum’ – ‘manufactured item, merchandise, article, goods, ware’. There is no indication about service.
s. entry ‘productum’ on the web portal ‘frag-caesar.de’ for Latin language
http://www.frag-caesar.de/lateinwoerterbuch/productum-uebersetzung-2.html

– The word ‘service’ is derived from the Latin word ‘servire’ – ‘to attend someone, to minister to someone, to be a slave’, more precisely: from the past participle ‘servitum’ – ‘served’
There is no indication about product or physical good.
s. entry ‘service’ on the web portal ‘frag-caesar.de’ for Latin language
http://www.frag-caesar.de/lateinwoerterbuch/servire-uebersetzung.html

Conclusion:
In the roots of the words ‘product’ and ‘service’ there is no link between these words or their meanings.
This evokes the question how such a link can come about for the terms ‘product’ and ‘service’.
[/PGH]

> Therefore the term “production” applies to services, and the distinction between “products and services” is archaic and poorly founded.
[PGH]
Regarding the roots of the words, the distinction between product and service is classic and well-founded.
[/PGH]

> Services are products with a special form factor.
[PGH]
This evokes the question how a service can be formed, even from an abstract perspective, in view of the fact that any & every service as such is intangible & immaterial, insubstantial & perishable.
[/PGH]

> Service management is product management, in the same way as botany and zoology are biology.
[PGH]
In fact, the term “service management” is an oxymoron like ‘black sun’ as a service per se cannot be managed in any way because any & every service as such is intangible & immaterial, insubstantial & perishable. Only service providing can be managed, i.e. effectuating an explicitly triggered, singular & unique service and rendering it explicitly to the triggering service consumer. Thus, service providing management (= servuction management) is the appropriate term.

Product management is an organizational lifecycle function within a company dealing with the planning, forecasting, and production, or marketing of a product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle.
s. Wikipedia entry ‘Product management’
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_management
In this case, a product is
– either a type of a precisely identified & concisely specified physical good and its lifecycle is about designing, planning, engineering, fabricating, introducing, selling, retiring
– or a copy of a certain type of physical good the lifecycle of which starts as soon as it is fabricated and ends as soon as it loses its constitutive functions and/or is destroyed.

In both cases, a product lifecycle is fundamentally different from a service lifecycle, because a service is a set of one-time consumable & perishable benefits:
– A service lifecycle, more precisely: the lifecycle of a singular & unique service starts with an explicit service trigger of an authorized service consumer
– The triggering service consumer hands over his physical or logical service object and configures this singular service according to his current exigencies & expectations.
– In the course of the respective singular & unique service transaction the status of the service object is safely & securely changed by effectuating the service-specific benefit to this service object.
– As soon as the service-specific benefit has been completely & terminatorily effectuated to the service object of the triggering service consumer, this explicitly triggered service has been exclusively effectuated for & reliably rendered explicitly to the triggering service consumer. At his point in time, the lifecycle of this singular & unique, unrepeatable & irreversible service definitively ends.
[/PGH]

> If we can rid ourselves with the deeply ingrained habit of saying “products and services”, there is a whole new level of clarity and
> depth of understanding on how and why services are the preferred form factor in which we package and deliver value; or purchase and consume it.
[PGH]
This deeply ingrained habit is rooted in the evolutionary history of the two words as well as in the sociocultural traditions. Ignoring this generates vagueness and far-reaching misconeptions.

A service per se neither has any value nor can get any value because any & every service as such is intangible & immaterial, insubstantial & perishable.
Thus, a service neither can be sold nor can be bought nor can be conveyed nor can be owned nor can be lost nor can be (re)found.

Instead, a service (only) is effectuated from scratch on the explicit service trigger of an authorized service consumer.
– With his explicit service trigger the service consumer hands over his physical or logical service object to the servicescape (= servuction environment) and/or to the custody & control of the accountable service provider.
– Thereupon, the service provider must ensure that, in the course of the respective singular & unique service transaction, the status of this service object is purposefully changed so that its final status satisfies the current exigencies & expectations of the triggering service consumer.
– Based on the appropriately changed status of his service object, the triggering service consumer can efficiently execute his upcoming activity creating value in so doing, either in business or in privateness. The latter was the single & sole reason of the service consumer to trigger a service of this type.
s. Wikipedia entry ‘Servicescape’
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servicescape
[/PGH]
>
I agree.

It’s a little like wave – particle duality. You can define goods so that they’re very clearly not services, and visa-versa, but you find it difficult to do it.
[PGH]
Whilst the physicists still strive for a Grand Unified Theory (GUT), goods and services can be clearly & consistently separated & distinguished from each other.
– A service never can mutate into a physical good in any way or manner, e.g. a taxi service never can mutate into a taxi car.
– A physical good never can mutate into a service in any way or manner, e.g. a taxi car never can mutate into a taxi service, more precisely: into a car-based people transporting service
s. Wikipedia entry ‘Grand Unified Theory’
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Unified_Theory
[/PGH]

That’s because, in the real world, it’s very difficult to think of any example of goods that are sold with absolutely no element of service involved – or, contrariwise, of services that involve absolutely no element of being ‘goods’.
[PGH]
A physical good is a set of repeatedly executable & persistent functions that are immanent to it. In contrast, the is neither a benefit nor a service in a physical good, even if many services may have been triggered & consumed for engineering & fabricating this copy of the physical good.
A service cannot be(come) immanent to anything because any & every service
– as such is intangible & immaterial, insubstantial & perishable
– is effectuated from scratch on the explicit service trigger of an authorized service consumer and rendered explicitly to the triggering service consumer
– is simultaneously consumed by the triggering service consumer for efficiently executing his upcoming activity creating value in so doing.
[/PGH]

It’s a false and misleading dichotomy – even if you do manage to find something that is a ‘pure’ service or good, that misses the point.
[PGH]
In fact, the clear & consistent distinction between goods and services is no dichotomy as they have never been a whole.
s. Wikipedia entry ‘Dichotomy’
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichotomy

Thus, there is no mixture between services and goods as suggested in the ‘service-commodity goods-continuum’
s. Wikipedia entry ‘Service-commodity goods continnum’
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_(economics)#Service-commodity_goods_continuum
Instead, a physical good and/or system
– either is service object, i.e. goods & chattels of the triggering service consumer, e.g. a house to be cleaned or a plumbing to be repaired
– or a service output, i.e. a freshly prepared meal as service output of an explicitly triggered & reliably rendered catering service in the restaurant (= servicescape/servuction environment).
[/PGH]

Services is the more complete view, so to say that goods are a subset of services and get on with defining services makes perfect sense.
[PGH]
Service is a completely separate & self-contained perception of a certain benefit that must be effectuated to a service object of an authorized service consumer on his explicit service trigger.
There may be certain goods and/or systems required the service-relevant functions of which must be executed for effectuating & rendering an explicitly triggered, singular & unique service, but a good and/or system never will be(come) a part of a service or vice-versa.
[/PGH]

POST_9 by Steven Alter

The definition of service has been debated for years, usually with no serious attempt to test the definitions against a wide range of examples. The following explains why many service definitions fail and suggests that service definitions should be tested against simple service situations.

Definitions that fail. Many definitions of service have been proposed. Many of them rely on specific characteristics that apply to varying degrees to most things that are considered services, but also, ironically, apply to varying degrees to most things that are considered products or goods. Examples of such characteristics include intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability, perishability, coproduction, value co-creation, economic exchange, customer relationships, etc.    (Yes, products/goods also exhibit varying degrees of intangibility, heterogeneity, co-production, etc.)

 

Definitions of service that rely on such characteristics fail frequently because those concepts apply to varying degrees to both products and services, and therefore do not really distinguish between products and services.

 

That becomes obvious when definitions are confronted with simple examples of things that most people consider to be services. We should not have definitions of service that fail frequently. The discussion of how service should be defined requires testing of the definitions using simple, everyday examples.

 

Criteria for a definition of service. Here are some criteria for a definition of service:

1) easily understood by typical people, not just PhDs, philosophers, and lawyers.

2) makes sense in relation to almost all situations that most people consider to be services.

3) robust, in the sense that a minor change in an offering to a customer will not flip the offering from being a product to being a service.

 

I believe that almost any set of simple examples (i.e., not just one or two cherry-picked examples) will demonstrate that the only practical definition of service is somewhat similar to the types of definitions that are in dictionaries, i.e. in essence, doing something for someone else.  The definition of that type that I currently prefer is:

 

….  Services are acts or groups of acts performed with the intention of providing outcomes for the benefit of others.

 

Aside from satisfying the three criteria, a minor restatement of that definition applies to service computing:  ….  Services are acts or groups of acts performed by one entity (or group of entities) to produce outcomes that are received and used by other entities.

 

YES/NO distinction between product and service. The YES/NO distinction between product and service actually is of very little importance when analyzing or designing an offering to internal and/or external customers. Much more important is finding is an appropriate degree of intangibility, heterogeneity, coproduction, value co-creation etc. that achieves an appropriate compromise between provider interests and customer interests.

 

Seeing those characteristics as design dimensions rather than YES/NO distinctions does not trivialize the contribution of thinking in terms of services, however. A pure provider/producer viewpoint is often inadequate because it pays too little attention to the purpose of the provider’s activities. Thorough analysis and design requires consideration of how customers create value for themselves with the help of whatever the provider offers.  Customers may prefer greater involvement/ interaction with providers or may prefer less involvement/ interaction.

 

Examples. Below I provide several typical examples to test the proposed definition of service. In each case, I provide a series of different possible offerings that address a general need. In each case, some of the offerings are more intangible, more heterogeneous, rely more on coproduction, involve a greater extent of value co-creation, etc.  In each case, other offerings are less intangible, less heterogeneous, rely less on coproduction, involve a lower extent of co-creation, etc. Whether or not each possible offering is a product versus a service is unimportant. The important issue is resolving inherent conflicts between provider interests (e.g., profitability, efficiency, reputation, business sustainability, etc.) and customer interests (value, cost minimization, convenience, pleasure, etc.)

 

The set of offerings for each example starts with something that seems product-like (more about delivering something that the customer will use) and ends with something that seems more service-like (performing actions that the customer values).  In each case, PhDs and lawyers might be able to decide the point of transition between product versus service in the set of offerings. The more important issue for both providers and customers is finding an offering that represents the right balance along a series of design dimensions that include (among many others):

… tangible and intangible,
… standard and customized,

… produced and delivered versus coproduced,

… value through use of something delivered versus value through co-creation activities that involve providers directly, etc.

 

Example 1: food for dinner

Here are some possible offerings:

– sell food items that customers can use to cook their own dinners

– sell warm, pre-cooked dinners at a grocery store

– stock the customer’s refrigerator based on weekly orders

– deliver dinners to the customer’s home based on one time orders

– go to customer homes and cook dinner for them

 

Example 2: powering of jet aircraft

– sell jet engines that the customers own and maintain themselves

– sell jet engines that customers own and maintain themselves, with a contractual service-level agreement and cost model that is contingent on competent maintenance efforts by the customers

– sell jet engines the customers own and also provide maintenance for those jet engines as part of the purchase contract

-sell “power by the hour” thereby addressing the customer’s fundamental need (power for aircraft) without requiring capital expenditure for purchasing jets.

 

Example 3: knowledge of economics

–  Sell an economics textbook

–  Sell an economics textbook that includes computerized exercises

–  Sell an economics textbook that includes computerized exercises plus access to a student run learning group

– Sell an economics textbook that includes computerized exercises plus limited access to a tutor

– Provide an online course in the form of a MOOC attended by thousands of students and monitored by teaching assistants in a low-wage country

– Provide an online course augmented by direct tutoring

– Provide a university course taught by a professor in a small class setting

– Provide extensive one-on-one tutoring in economics

 

The proposed definition of service applies to all of the offerings for all three examples. Each offering can be modified slightly in the direction of having  characteristics that are more product-like (more tangible, more standardized, more produced and delivered, etc.) or characteristics that are more service-like (less tangible, less standardized, coproduced to a greater degree, etc.).  Thus, product vs. service is actually quite useful as a way to describe a set of design dimensions for improving or modifying whatever is being offered to customers.  Consistent with service-dominant logic, almost any economic activity can be viewed as a service.  Thinking of almost any economic activity as a services is useful because it encourages appropriate consideration of what customers want or need.

 

 

Steven Alter, Ph.D.

Steven Alter <alter@usfca.edu>

Professor of Information Systems

University of San Francisco
www.stevenalter.com

 

POST_10 by Robert Falkowitz 

There is far more in common between mass produced goods (for example, screws or even pins!) and mass produced services (for example, delivering email) than there is between mass produced goods and hand made goods, or between mass produced and bespoke services. And yet, even these sorts of distinctions are no more than poles in a continuum. The common person might consider, for example, that Toyota automobiles are mass produced goods. And yet, Ohno Taiichi saw a world of difference between the nature of production at General Motors and the nature of production with the TPS.

For example, the question of intangibility is largely irrelevant in most cases of mass production. If I go to the store to buy a box of 100 screws, I do not check a sample of the screws for meeting a specification, just as I cannot check a service act, such as email delivery, before it is performed. But, in both cases, I will have sufficient experience with key parts of the value network (the manufacturer, the vendor or the service provider, etc.) to make an informed judgement about whether or not to buy the goods or use the service. And this is true for even the most extreme forms of one-off services, such as commissioning a portrait or hiring an architect to build a new home.

I believe that how to rebuild a national economy when times are tough or how consumers go about the everyday task of choosing goods or services are examples of important issues that should be the foundations of our modeling and our ontologies. If we do not link analyses and syntheses to such questions, hoping instead to jump directly to universalities, then we are condemned to bickering ad infinitum.

-Robert Falkowitz <robert@3cs.ch>

 

POST_11 by Peter  Bergmann

There is far more in common between mass produced goods (for example, screws or even pins!) and mass produced services (for example, delivering email) than there is between mass produced goods and hand made goods, or between mass produced and bespoke services

 

Okay Robert – a aircraft and a flight are the same?

 

 

 

Mit freundlichen Grüßen / best Regards / Distinti Saluti

 

Peter  Bergmann

Peter Bergmann <Peter.Bergmann@elleta.net>

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POST_12 by Majid Iqbal

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes – Marcel Proust
I agree with Steven about the value and purpose of definitions. Also, for practical consideration, service models need to be applied in practice to create something new or to solve hard and complex problems.
Here is an alternate and unorthodox definition:
 
Services are guaranteed sets of outcomes and experiences, delivered across particular places, times, and platforms, by the processing or rendering of customer assets; or the provisioning of valued resources.  
 
Outcomes are what customers pay for (“the economic good”) and experience is how those outcomes are packaged and delivered at a particular place, time, or platform in one of two ways:
(1) Processing or rendering a customer asset to a better condition or state; and (2) providing a valued resource at X.
This definition from design#code has evolved over 10 years. In its present form (as part of a system of design), it has worked in large and complex environments, as diverse as Boeing, UnitedHealthcare, Lowe’s (retail giant), the US Dept. of Defense, and several departments and agencies of the Dutch government.
It is important that a model be simple enough for people across functions and disciplines to communicate and collaborate. I recently ran a service design workshop that included sales professionals from Capgemini, enterprise architects from KPN, policy analysts from the Ministry of Economics affairs, and project managers from I-Interim Rijk. People with very different backgrounds and perspectives could work together with a single shared definition of a service.
Why?  
Because it uses a language high school students can understand, just as well as the general manager of a hotel, or the president of the World Bank. And that language is economics. Here is link to an article I recently wrote as part of that workshop.
It is published on Medium so it will be easy for you comment on specific paragraphs or sections.
I’ve also attached the slides from a series of workshops and talks I gave across the Netherlands and Sweden. (PDF)
Best wishes for the New Year!
Regards,
Majid Iqbal  <mxiqbal@dhashc.com>
———-
P.S. 
Back in 2004 when I was teaching 95-806: Managing Service Organizations, at Carnegie Mellon University, I subscribed to the line of thinking that Paul forcefully argues. During our class discussions (analyzing business models such as Netflix vs Blockbuster), we somehow felt the prevailing definitions simply didn’t make sense. It took Peter Hill (1977), Rathmell (1966), and Judd (1964) and to get some clarity. Based on those influences, and some valuable discussions during the IBM Research SSME conferences (2004-2006), I wrote a new definition of services in ITIL Service Strategy (2007) along with the concepts of utility and warranty. But somehow even that definition was lacking because it was too terse and abstract. Then, in 2010, just before I prepared to give the first guest lecture at the HP Services Research Lab in Palo Alto, I had an epiphany in the form of a cube. That cube defines the business logic of a service.

POST_13 by Charles Betz

The essential debate:
Services ARE Acts that RESULT IN Outcomes
-or-
Services ARE Outcomes, RESULTING FROM Acts.
The discussion amongst this group to date (and my reading of Service Dominant Logic) have tended to favor the 1st.
I note that System, Offering, Expectation, Act, and Outcome individually seem less controversial… hence my favoring the pragmatic that “Service” as a bare word is best understood as a subject area and is not precisely defined until qualified.
-ctb Charles Betz <char@erp4it.com>

POST_14 by Stuart Rance

Steven [Alter],

 

Thank you for this. I have learned a lot from your contributions to these discussions.

 

Charles, [Betz]

 

That is my preferred use too. Let’s avoid using the unqualified term “service” and refer instead to “service acts”, “service offerings”, “service agreements”, “service outcomes” etc.

 

Regards,

 

StuartR

 

Stuart Rance

Phone:   +44 20 8504 2002

Mobile:   +44 791 3344 143

Email:    StuartR@OptimalServiceManagement.com

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Twitter:   @StuartRance

 

Optimal Service Management Ltd.

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Service-Management-Praxis: Was ist ein Service? › Digicomp

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