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Service Science: The Missing Ingredient in Your Services Firm’s Strategy

Service Science: The Missing Ingredient in Your Services Firm’s Strategy

UPDATEDApr 13, 2023

The global services industry is in the midst of massive growth and evolution, with companies expanding their services and radically changing the way they do business. However, many organizations and the software solutions they depend on have failed to evolve to support their changing needs.

Legacy systems and inadequate tools that simply can’t keep up with modern processes and business demands are holding back many services organizations both large and small from reaching their full potential. But there is hope. Service science, or Services Engagement Science, can improve lackluster performance.

What is Service Science?

The idea of “service science” was created by UC Berkeley Professor Henry Chesbrough and IBM’s Almaden Research Center in 2002. This was the result of the center’s research team studying services deployed across the industrial world, with roots in the interdisciplinary study of computer science, operations research, industrial engineering, mathematics, business strategy, management sciences, social sciences, cognitive sciences, and legal sciences.

Service science studies how a services organization can be restructured, what innovations can be made in the services process, and the general understanding and refinement of services across industries. While this is a very broad idea, service science has become increasingly applicable in the world of IT vendors who search for ways to improve their services software solutions through scientific study.

Service science looks to understand the joint creation of something of value, either a product or an ongoing service, created by a services provider and its client. Once this is understood, models can be created and tested to understand how the service is created in order to improve the processes behind it.

How Can You Utilize Service Science?

Compared to adjacent industries like manufacturing, the services industry has long relied on intuition and experience over scientific and mathematically-supported processes. While these elements still separate great team members and managers from the rest, today’s level of competition, slim margins, high expectations, and complex projects mean that it’s simply not enough to rely on intuition.

By utilizing a software solution purpose-built for the professional services industry that utilizes service science, companies can gain greater insight into their processes through dependable, detailed data. These insights, along with granular control over resource allocations, project processes, project outputs, and many more elements of the services delivery lifecycle helps organizations take advantage of the scientific insights they have been provided. Of course, once implemented, it’s crucial that service science insights continue by seeing the cause and effect of the changes made. Science is, after all, a long-term process of trial and error (the less error the better, of course). Together, these create continued internal refinements for a services organization.

What are the Benefits of Service Science?

Because the idea of service science can be applied so broadly to the world of professional services, the benefits can be almost anything that a company really needs.

Is your organization slowed down by process bottlenecks, an inability to truly understand what your team members are doing, or miscommunications between departments? The dependable clarity provided by insights informed by services science can help create immediate understanding.

Are clients consistently underwhelmed by the products and services you provide despite providing what you believe is your best? Services science can help decipher long-term project outcomes that result from the work you provide and the mismatch that may be happening between your work and client expectations.

Are you leaving money on the table and suffering from non-existent margins on projects that should be providing a needed profit for your business? Project management solutions backed by services engagement science can help you understand where you are wasting time and money in order to make tangible improvements without the need to skyrocket your costs.

Any and all of these improvements can make a sizable difference on services firms of any size. No matter which you may need, including maybe all of them, having services science be an integral part of your management and process delivery strategy can make a world of difference.

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