Here’s a Mindful Monday post…unless we’re acting as a customer, we live underneath an iceberg of complexity; time for systems thinking!
Looking at the end-to-end customer experience is an abstraction of what happens along the way. When we break up the journey into manageable parts we’re decomposing.
A service-oriented view of a business capability deliberately abstracts away the internal operations of this capability and focuses on the overall value proposition. It’s why we use techniques like Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO) and Jobs to be Done theory (JTBD).
Services can be core to the business and serve external customers, or they could be supporting services serving internal customers. Services are also recursive and repeat for each actor in a service ecosystem.
Regardless of how we decompose a service (i.e., customer-facing or supporting) it is a ‘black box’ perspective of a business capability; we deliberately abstract the internal operations.
But a process perspective sharpens the understanding for the operational model of a capability; it allows us to analyze the details associated with the way the capability is delivered. This a white box’ approach to a business capability.
Process decomposition is most easily understood by layering an analysis of related work streams (i.e., process, procedure, work instruction). APQC’s Process Classification Framework (PCF) uses the terms activity and task, but the decomposition is fundamentally the same.
When we analyze routines using the Unified Service Management method, we are leveraging a pure process model and applying systems thinking to lower levels of analysis by adding people (WHO) and technology (HOW) as we further decompose a business capability.
Even job profiles can be decomposed, often into strategic, tactical, and operational perspectives. But like services and processes, these profiles are interdependent. We need strategic, tactical, and operational thinkers.
And of course, we decompose technology endlessly. The popular view of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS is a simple example. Everyone understands that each part of the system — regardless of who is actually operating it — is needed to assure the control and performance end-to-end. SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS can all be parts of a larger end-to-end system.
A Systems Thinking View
Whether we’re abstracting or decomposing, what can be missed is that we’re all part of the same iceberg:
- Job profiles are interdependent. We need strategic, tactical, and operational thinkers.
- End-to-end services depend on complex service ecosystems and networks.
- Processes can be decomposed from workflows to specific tasks.
- Technology can be endlessly decomposed as well.
No one component is more important than any other; each must be viewed holistically as part of a system of interrelated assets (people, process, and tools/technology).
Services are supported facilities and are recursive. They repeat across the end-to-end service ecosystem and give us a black box perspective of business capabilities that customers want and need.
The routines of a service provider provide an operational, white box perspective of the same capability. Regardless of what mix of practices or standards are in use, the routines define what, who and how services are delivered and combine all provider assets (people, process and technology) into a systems-thinking perspective of service management.
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