Establishing a Service-Oriented Organization

Business services are a class of activities that benefit companies without supplying physical products. They are a key part of the service industry and serve a variety of needs, including marketing, production, safety, cost and convenience purposes—especially for larger companies that have to keep up with work demands.

Unlike good products, where a price is clearly defined, there is no clear line between service pricing and product pricing. For this reason, it can be difficult to establish a fair and equitable pricing strategy.

A service, however, has an inherent advantage over goods: it can be adapted to fit the individual needs of customers, often quickly and easily. This can give businesses a competitive advantage when offering their services to new customers, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that might not have the capital or resources needed to start their own manufacturing operations.

The first step in establishing a service-oriented organization is to define the purpose of your service and set the expectations for success. The next step is to develop a system of action for delivering and managing the service.

This includes defining the system of engagement—how customers learn about and transact with your business services—and the service catalog, which is the consumable view of available service commitment options and offerings. It also includes a process for defining the digital means by which customers will engage with your business services and their associated workflows for fulfillment, based on your specific service use cases and the types of stakeholders involved in fulfilling or managing those use cases.

Begin by creating a list of a few typical transactions that customers and/or employees regularly engage with, such as employee office moves or customer order modifications. These use cases can help you refine your service definition and approach so that you can launch a digital business services initiative more effectively.

Gather business goals and objectives for the use case as well as potential benefits that can be realized by the customer and/or business. This helps to ensure that the use case is properly scoped, which can be a challenge in many service-providing industries.

Identify key stakeholders who will be involved in the fulfillment or management of this use case, such as internal teams responsible for the operation of your business or sourcing partners. Create a system of accountability for the benefits to be achieved by establishing a set of measures and metrics that will be used to measure benefits.

Once the system of action is established for a service, it must be supported by processes that are consistent across the service and its delivery channels. This can include implementing an ITIL-like framework or extending existing processes that are more tailored to your business, such as IT4IT.

It is important to implement a service review process that involves service owners, applications team members and users of the business service as a way to capture and verify the current state of the service. This allows you to track changes and improvements to your service.

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