Well-defined services are key to value delivery. Services also need interoperability between ecosystem partners for consistent value delivery.

The USM method delivers both.

The digital services space today is like a tale of two cities. On the one hand there are exciting new developments all around us. New technologies, emerging new frameworks, and experiments with organizational structures. On the other hand, there are persistent legacy environments, strongly embedded processes, and huge cultural hurdles.

The different definitions of a service as the economy have shifted from a goods-dominant to a service-dominant logic haven’t helped.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . . .

A Tale of Two Cities

In goods-dominant logic the transfer of goods plays the main role; this is value in exchange (i.e., buy my car). In service-dominant logic the service is the fundamental basis for all value exchange; this is value in use (i.e., use or rent my car).

So, we talk about value and hear things like:

  • Value is determined by the observer; perceptions, preferences, and terms like these basically mean that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ or at the end of the day the customer determines the value of a service
  • Value is created through co-creation; what this means is ‘it takes (at least) two to tango’. Value is never created by just one actor; in fact, there are always multiple actors involved in value delivery. Since this increasingly goes beyond the exchange of goods, it is increasingly critical to understand the interaction and relationships between the actors in a service ecosystem.
  • Value is multidimensional; actors in service ecosystems are dependent on the collective wellbeing of all actors. This brings multiple perspectives into play; value increasingly includes societal factors such as cultural and social norms in addition to technical potential.
  • Value arises in the interaction; you won’t know value until the service is experienced. In addition, without a clear understanding of value it is difficult to understand your role within a service ecosystem — the whole-is-more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts (aka, systems thinking).

The need for a unified definition of a service

When I first read Jan van Bon’s post, 100 ISO- and IEC-definitions of ‘service’, I found it interesting and a little unbelievable. Think about it, if we are moving from IT service management to enterprise service management shouldn’t we have a unified definition of what a service is? How could a standards body wind up with multiple different definitions of anything?!

While I understand technology is becoming pervasive, it is not required in order to define what a service is at a generic level. In fact, more often than not it is the technical mumbo-jumbo that confuses non-IT stakeholders about exactly what a service is.

The Repository on the USM Portal and/or the Introduction to the USM Method provide an excellent description of how USM has arrived at a unified definition of service, which is:

A Service is a supported facility.

These sources are worth a read! Alternatively, you could enroll in a FREE Workshop or the first US-based USM Foundation Certification class. You can also listen to a 20 minute video I did awhile ago….

In any case, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that if an enterprise can’t agree on a unified definition of a service, it won’t improve communication between actors involved in the service ecosystem.

USM’s customer-provider interaction model and definition of a service — for ANY and ALL services — achieves a unified definition of a service that everyone can understand.

Service ecosystems and interoperability

Since services are the basis for all value exchange in the digital age, it’s easy to see why we talk so much about value when defining services. Perceptions, preferences, co-creation, multidimensionality, and systems thinking are critical to understand.

But the interaction between actors in a service ecosystem and their interdependent nature is also critically important. An easy-to-learn, inexpensive, and universal method of managing services and ever-changing requirements should be available to all actors in those supply chains and supply networks.

The Unified Service Management (USM) method was developed for that purpose.

USM improves interoperability between service teams by providing a level of standardization that does not limit localization of organizational structures or tooling. It achieves this through a non-redundant process model and eight standard workflows that have been proven in the field over nearly a decade.

A singular normalized management system as an acceptable link is the core concept of the Unified Service Management method, and it is based on the concept of an integral and integrated process architecture.

A Tale of Two Services

Every service is really both a link in a chain and made up of links in other chains as well. The question is, which chain would you prefer?

USM provides a standardized, unified link for sustainable supply chains in service ecosystems. The process model and standardized workflows are used by any organizational topology, leveraging any combination of practice frameworks for all service providers.

Contact me at www.MyServiceMonitor.com to find out more.

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Published by myservicemonitor

I am an independent service management consultant with two decades of experience helping customers.

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