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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Services Science - Need Of The Day (Part II)

In Part I of this article, we covered IBM's Paul Horns perspective about the emerging discipline -"Service Science".In this part,we shall look at this from a different viewglass - My Take on his view: Tom Peters once said, "The professional service firm is the best model for tomorrow's organization in any industry".The Logic of Paul Horn is right. But the approach is debatable. Service companies in existence for several decades should have this knowledge codified in their repositories. To me it seems that big service organisations candidly admitting that they are not able to train their consultants appropriately in their " Solidified Propreitary Methodologies!!" I would think that precisely for the reasons advanced in Paul's article -these courseware must be made open source – we should experiment this idea with a new wiki like technology and not make this available just in elite institutions – in order to ensure that this rolls out to professionals who can stabilize the price equation in labour markets, a key concern for Paul. Care should be taken to ensure that we produce in good numbers and make sure that these are not hijacked by bug entrenched players. However, I firmly beleive, this intersection is better understood with more real life experience – precisely why in house programs, repositories and coffee cooler talks happen on this and can provide inarguably better results.
We have published on this topic in greater length Managing the professional service firms where we covered Tom Peters outline of ideas that with a simplified list of 25+ themes along three dimensions that professional firms and consultants need to embrace/master. We also covered in a follow up post David Maister's view that two aspects of professional work create the special management challenges of the professional service firm.
- First, professional services involve a high degree of customization in their work. Professional firms must manage customized activities where little, even management information, can be reliably made routine. Management principles and approaches from the industrial or mass-consumer sectors, based as they are on the standardization, supervision, and marketing of repetitive tasks and products, are not only inapplicable in the professional sector but may be dangerously wrong.
- Second, most professional services have a strong component of face-to-face interaction with the client. This implies that definitions of quality and service take on special meanings and must be managed carefully, and that very special skills are required of top performers

This is also very important for emerging IT technology majors. Similarly most of the emerging consulting houses today have skewed levels of distribution between technology people and business people ( I for one beleive that these are intertwined and cannot be separated in respect of service consultants) – there are technology ascetics and business dumboes - the problem is making both this lot leverage each other very well in a modulated manner - this process and framework would determine the enduring success or eventual failure of consulting houses - not academic courses but mindful creation of business values through well thought out and executed methodologies

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"