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Service science moves forwards with CSR launch CSR관련 News/Event

John O`Brien

Service science moves forwards with CSR launch

Last week we attended the launch of Manchester Business School's new Centre for Service Research (CSR), which will provide research and development in the emerging area of service science. Universities have a key role to play in building an accurate understanding of services. With their focus on research and evidence-based analysis they can expose gaps in current knowledge and explore potential solutions to service problems.
This should be of great interest to the IT services sector, where the market is littered with examples of poor service performance, contractual failings and over-costly projects. In Ovum's recent report Services science: new skills for post-recessionary economies, we explained that providers may use the knowledge gained from service science to enhance their business performance and in turn transform their reputation with customers.

Service science: a new IT research role for academia

The goal behind the CSR is to establish a collaborative working environment between different academic disciplines and external organisations that can explore current problems relating to services delivery.

Professor Linda Macaulay, who leads the programme, sees its goal as being to work towards a vision of the future through a holistic analysis of various concepts such as innovation, design, operations, delivery, management and marketing of services. Much of the work being done looks at current examples of poor service, and then explores ways to reach an ideal future state through scientific analysis of the root causes.

The CSR currently has 30 researchers and ten professors involved in 22 initial projects that cover issues such as services innovation, quality improvement in healthcare, fraud management for financial services, performance improvements in local authorities, and corporate social and environmental responsibility (CSER) in global services outsourcing. These are all of crucial importance to IT services providers if they want to generate better outcomes for themselves and their customers.

Growing collaboration establishes momentum

In the UK there are already a number of universities engaged in service science research, including Cambridge, UCL, Exeter and Westminster. And key to their involvement is being able to draw on expertise from other organisations to ensure that information and knowledge is shared and used to best effect. For example, CSR is already working on a joint research project with the Karlsruhe Service Research Institute (KSRI) in Germany.

At the same time, academia needs to work closely with IT service suppliers to raise awareness and work towards joint propositions. They also need to be aware of how they can influence government thinking in this area. This is particularly important since many governments have yet to fully grasp the concept of service science and therefore funding for projects is often lacking.

Getting government buy-in is crucial

Nonetheless there is evidence that in the UK at least things are beginning to slowly change. For instance, the UK government's Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has £1 billion to invest in new technology innovations and has taken some steps in deploying service science thinking in its Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP) programme. ALIP has so far received £40 million in funding from the TSB, Department of Health (DoH), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and is being developed using multi-disciplinary skills such as business modelling, user-centred design, collaborative R&D and long-term social studies.

The intention is to create a demonstrator system that could be used to assist in providing independent living for people suffering from chronic long-term conditions. The next stage is to investigate technologies among a large population of users with multiple communications devices, and within a personalised healthcare system. The Smart Care Distributed Environment demonstrator will be created, and will be rolled out across 1,000 users by 2012.

Bringing such innovations to market is the other big challenge. A vision for the outcomes, clear business and end-user benefits, industry involvement and a sensible road map for delivery all need to be in place to get programmes out to market. We expect the ALIP to be of significant interest to UK telehealth providers such as Tunstall and BT, but they too must understand the vision for service science - and the benefits it can provide to them and the end user.

In the next few months Ovum will produce its second report on service science, looking at the role of academia in the ongoing development of the concept.


This article is an extract taken from Ovum's Straight Talk service. This daily email bulletin provides our expert's views and opinions on important news and events in global IT and telecoms. If you have a comment or question regarding this article then please submit your details here:



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