New technologies, new concepts of working and living are redefining how we understand and use service.
The everything-as-a-service (XaaS) mantra is rapidly expanding beyond cloud computing and the telecommunications sector, as a result. It is a movement that is about freedom from ownership – converting conventional products and processes into service offerings that help buyers transition away from fixed costs towards variable costs in life and business. Office-as-a-Service (OaaS), Mobility – as – a- Service (MaaS), or Homeonwership-as-a-Service (HaaS) are just a few examples of this emerging trend.
In any case, customers will increasingly expect service providers to proactively anticipate their needs within a given set of circumstances and to offer a matching service that can simplify their daily activities.
New norms of service
As a result, the new normal of service in the 21st century will be that which is highly-individualized, data-driven and primarily relationship-based.
Users will expect more personalization, variety, constant contact, and as a minimum increased responsiveness and greater control.
Service providers will be required to develop the capacities that allow them to leverage insights about customers through the greater use of sensor technology and IoT.
Specifically, precision in big data and microdata analytics will allow service providers to better target service offerings and fulfil these expectations. From an end-user perspective, the most important aspects of Service Management towards 2020 and beyond are real-time responsiveness, the ability to anticipate changing needs and connectivity and 24/7 availability as described in figure 1.
Figure 1: In Service Management, what aspects do you believe will be the most important from a customer/end-user perspective towards 2025? (Source: CIFS, ISS, IFMA, CoreNet Global Survey, 2016)
A shift from transactions to experiences
The shift towards the experience economy is adding a new layer to the creation, delivery and consumption of service. Therefore, the service landscape of the future can be mapped across three different axes: expectations, interactions and circumstances.
- Expectations are shifting from low to high and are being defined by the end user.
- Interactions are shifting from infrequent to frequent across multiple channels and touch points and becoming increasingly automated.
- Circumstances are shifting from transactional (simple exchanges of material value) to non-transactional (experiential and collaborative) service exchanges.
Increased responsiveness and agility
The value of service, is moving from the delivery of outcomes to the degree of agility it provides. By adopting the XaaS mindset, users gain the freedom and flexibility to focus on their core competencies. XaaS provides increased responsiveness by having access to the latest market technologies. With new technology enabling more tailored solutions, increasing numbers of customers will transfer assets to services, resulting in more competitive pricing.
Consequently, the relationship dynamics between users and service providers becomes an increasingly important factor in the service exchange, since the outsourcing of more high-value, core business areas requires a higher degree of trust. Value-alignment is important as outsourcing relationships shift from meeting expectations and fulfilling input-output requirements to exceeding expectations and achieving service outcomes. The service provider is not only expected to deliver a fixed service but also evolve according to best practices and the end-users’ needs.
The future service landscape will be one that is constantly redefined by changes in user behavior that are enabled or augmented by technologies. It is important for service providers to maintain a certain vigilance at all times and utilize the data they collect effectively by regularly revisiting the service landscape in which they operate and update their Service Management approach accordingly.