A service is a supported facility.

USM’s universal definition of a service requires some understanding of the term facility; it’s not what you may initially think it is…

A business facility is often thought of as a location or a building. For example, an office building, a hotel, or a manufacturing plant. That’s why we often think of facilities management as a profession that performs maintenance of an organization’s buildings and equipment.

A business facility could also mean a loan of money or a guarantee. For example, an overdraft facility arranged with a bank.

But when we use the term facility in USM it’s more aligned with its use as a feature or product that allows you to do something.

The USM definition of a facility is the combination of goods and actions that is made available to a customer in the course of service delivery and that is supported by the provider in its use by that customer.

So, a facility in USM terms is something that the customer finds useful.

However, since today everyone’s a service provider, there are many facilitating disciplines that can be links in an end-to-end service ecosystem that is perceived by customers and these could be inside or outside the enterprise.

Service management includes defining services as well as how that service(s) will be supported.

Customer Expectations, Successful Outcomes and Jobs to be Done

When we used the Customer Expectation Management Method to identify Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO) we were leveraging outside-in thinking. This was a process-driven approach, but SCOs are still effective for analyzing and defining a facility from the customer’s shoes:

  1. Move yourself into the shoes of the customer
  2. State what the successful outcome of the process would be as if you are the customer speaking.
  3. Make sure each statement is actionable and meaningful.
  4. Beware of weasel words! They sound nice but don’t have any real meaning.
  5. Rephrase your SCO by starting it with “I” (speaking as the customer) and see how that changes it.
  6. Bring one or more customer in and have THEM tell you what their SCO would be!
  7. Make sure your SCO is making the customer’s life easier, simple and more successful. This is the “acid test” of a good SCO. Get this right and your process objectives will immediately start driving your processes to become truly exceptional ones?

Jobs to be Done

“JTBD Theory represented a major shift in the focus of product developers and the kind of market research used to support product development. The thinking behind Customer Jobs was the hard-learned understanding that developers and marketers needed to adopt a new paradigm about the meaning of value-for-customers. Instead of attaching value to what products are, value should attach to what products do for customers. In other words, stop trying to communicate value with new and improved product features, and start designing more integrated product experiences that are valuable because of what they enable customers to get done in particular contexts of use.

When coffee and kale compete, Alan Klement

This is another of many different techniques for zeroing in on the facility that a service should provide to customers. But of course the job’s not done, is it?

Customers expect to be supported when they use the facility, whether that’s IT, Finance, Catering, HR, or literally anything else. Defining and re-defining the facility (or SCOs, or JTBD, etc.) and support change based on customer perceptions, competition and many other factors.

However the management of these supported facilities must be stable and sustainable across all links in the end-to-end service ecosystem.

According to the logic of the non-redundant USM process model, only eight workflows represent all service management activities of a service organization. They can be used to record all generally accepted routines that can then be standardized (work instructions, practices) and automated in the local tooling.

The Unified Service Management method specifies an enterprise service management architecture that promotes standardization and interoperability between service domains by providing a series of service building blocks that are addressed in the management system of each service organization.

A service is a supported facility.

Published by myservicemonitor

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

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