Today’s society is surrounded by products and services. Across the globe, people consume services, products and functionality at an astonishing rate. In the last few decades, products and services have become more connected to deliver ever-increasing functionality and intelligence. Services become an ever more important part of the required and expected solutions.
What’s the impact of all this? Put simply, consumer demand for useful solutions is increasing exponentially, and organizations need to be ready to supply those solutions. Solutions are services that provide assistance, advice, help and support. Many of these services (and products) are enabled by or only possible because of advances in technology. These are digital services.
So, let’s be perfectly clear: consumers consume. They provide the need (or demand) for products and services. There is a need to be fulfilled (articulated as requirements), and the consumer is willing to invest in and pay for that functionality, whether directly or indirectly. Consider public services such as education, health and safety or utilities; these are all necessary and all supported by the consumer, either indirectly via a tax system or by a direct purchase.
If there is a consumer, there is also a provider. Providers provide. Whether they provide (or supply) services or products, it really doesn’t matter – the principle behind the provision is where we want to focus. The principle of providing relies on understanding the consumer. Providing something that the consumer doesn’t want does not create any value for the provider or consumer. In fact, it’s just waste; unless you are in the waste business, this isn’t a good plan! For products and services to be successful, there must be a benefit for both the provider and consumer. The provider will only invest in products and services if they see ongoing demand, while the consumer wants to receive value by having their needs met, and feel they are getting a return on investment. The value proposition for both parties must be defined and understood.
The service provider needs to monitor this cycle between consumer and provider. Over time, the needs of the consumer and the capabilities of the provider will change. Service providers must be able to adapt to these changes. The ongoing interaction between the consumer (who confirms their requirements) and the service provider (who confirms their capability to provide) are the dynamics of service provision. Value is the outcome – if nothing of value is achieved by either the provider or consumer, the relationship is over. Managing those dynamics within a ‘consume-provide’ environment drives the development of service management and a service culture.
Every organization is now a service provider. Public or private sector, small or large – everyone is now in the service market. Even organizations that focus on selling products (for example: retailers) need to provide services attached to those products to be successful (for example: customer service, shipping, returns). In a crowded marketplace, reputation is essential for differentiation and commercial success. Think about the last time you used a comparison site to choose a hotel. Would you choose a hotel with a poor reputation?
A focus on services is not just for private sector or profit-seeking organizations. It is just as important in public sector environments, where good service can deliver a better experience for consumers or citizens. Value still needs to be delivered, whether financial or non-financial. To be successful, all organizations need to adopt an overall service management approach that delivers what their consumers need.
Definition Service management is “the management approach adopted by an organization to deliver value to consumers though quality products and services.”
To be an effective service provider organization, service management can no longer be confined to a single department like the IT department or customer services; it touches every element of the organization. The VeriSM™ approach is specifically tailored to support organizations – the entire organization – to help them succeed in the world of digital services. When the focus changes to look at service management from the organizational perspective, service providers can start to see how to use all organizational capabilities, from IT to marketing, finance to customer service, to deliver value.
VeriSM™ helps organizations to define their service management principles. These principles will be relevant to all products and services, and include areas like security, quality, cost and risk. Service management principles are defined and communicated throughout the organization, acting as ‘guardrails’ or guides for all product and service development and operation.
VeriSM™ also helps organizations to evolve their operating model, based on an integrated selection of management practices. VeriSM™ provides flexibility and responsiveness as opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This is necessary since all organizations are different, in terms of their size, the types of customers they serve, and their culture. VeriSM™ doesn’t tie organizations to a single management product and it allows the operating model to change when required.
- Value-driven: focuses on providing value to the business
- Evolving: an up to date approach which will continually evolve
- Responsive: facilitates a tailored approach depending on the business situation
- Integrated: helps you fit all the different practices together
So, how does an organization start to work with VeriSM™? In the VeriSM™ book to be published, we’ll walk through the VeriSM™ approach and show you how you can start to apply the VeriSM™ model in your organization.
The most important part of the VeriSM™ approach is accepting that service management is part of everyone’s role and an essential organizational capability. There isn’t a VeriSM™ team, or a department locked away behind a closed door. Everyone from senior management down has a role to play.
The other key success factor is to accept the impact of technology on products and services. Digital transformation is changing every aspect of how we operate as organizations, whether we are large or small, private sector or public sector. We need to think in terms of technology-enabled services, rather than ‘IT projects’. Business projects and processes are enabled by technology.
Finally, we need to accept that as employees of an organization, we are all in this together. It’s not solely the responsibility of an IT department to assess how technology can improve services, just as it’s not solely the responsibility of the customer service team to interact with customers. Every employee of the organization works together to create products and services that will support the organizational goals.
4 The VeriSM™ Approach
The VeriSM™ Book will introduce you to VeriSM™ key concepts and the VeriSM model™ and helps you to understand how they will can apply in your organization. It’s important to remember that VeriSM™ doesn’t replace any effective ways of working that you might already have in place. Instead, it shows you how to fit these into an overall organizational context and flexibly adopt different management practices to meet different service management situations.
The contents of the book will show you how to establish your service management principles and then adapt your operating model to leverage the management practices that have evolved to support digital services including the following:
- The introduction of services, service management, and their significance in today’s rapidly changing environment
- the VeriSM model in detail
- progressive management practices and emerging technologies
- how to get started
Throughout the book, you’ll find real world examples and vendor reports to help you put VeriSM™ into context. Remember, VeriSM™ isn’t about blindly following so-called ‘best practice’ – it’s about building a model that works for your organization!
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Draft Version, October 25th, 2017