Research at the collaboratory is built around two overarching Big Play Themes.
A service system is a collection of entities and interactions that co-create value, consisting of a set of distinct configurations of resources including people, organizations, shared information, processes, and technology. In business-to-business (B2B) services, one organization interacts with another to co-create value. Human systems in the two organizations play a key role in driving service quality and service value outcomes.
Human Aspects of Service Value
In this effort, we are looking into two complementary human sides of service value. One is related to the “front stage” of a service system, where we are looking at formulating sustainable growth models by understanding and driving the right client behaviors. The other is related to the “back stage” where we are looking into behavioral models of organizations to understand what drives sustainable service value and outcomes. In both areas we are bringing in perspectives from multiple disciplines including organizational behavior, strategy, economics, marketing, psychology, and information systems.
Relating to Front Stage of Services:
Relating to Back Stage of Services:
Organizational Transformation Models
Information Technology (IT) services is a knowledge intensive industry employing highly skilled manpower for service delivery. Service providers deliver services to their clients by allocating the desired set of skilled resources or agents for the desired time period per unit service demand. The quality and value of services delivered is determined by the skill expertise and the efficiency of the agents, and the delay in allocation if any, which in turn impacts the provider’s revenue. In today’s global economy where demand for services is highly dynamic and the industry as a whole suffers from a double digit rate of employee attrition, providers face the challenging task of managing skill capacity under uncertainty due to demand, attrition or turn-over, hiring and skill acquisition through on-job learning and training. Any misalignment between skill supply and skill demand would imply un-served demand resulting in loss of revenue and simultaneously wage costs of unallocated agents. Through this research effort we are addressing such issues related to modeling and transformation of service delivery organizations to be more adaptive, resilient, and robust while delivering higher value.
Cloud computing is a game-changing technology that offers remarkable scalability to customers while dramatically reducing investment in creating infrastructure. In our view, cloud computing is a model of network delivered services where the user sees only the service and need not worry about the implementation or infrastructure. Although much of the discussion around cloud has been focused on infrastructure as a service, we see the disruptive effect of the cloud coming not only from infrastructure services but also from providing platform services, application services, business services, and people services.
We see the combination of mobile and cloud technologies as one of the biggest transformational forces, especially in emerging markets. With the proliferation of mobile phones, we finally have information and communication technology in the hands of billions – many times more than the personal computer ever reached. At the same time the cloud is offering the platform for both accessing and providing services without worrying about infrastructure implementation. This combination has the potential to completely change what the world wide web is and how it is used, making it much more meaningful and empowering in the daily lives of ordinary people, going well beyond just searching for information. Mobile and cloud gives the opportunity for developing countries to leapfrog into a new model of ICT, leading the creation of a web far greater in reach and scope than the existing one. For businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, the cloud enables delivery of IT services in a consistent and seamless manner across a variety of end points including mobile phones, personal computers, and thin clients.
In the Research Collaboratory for Service Science we are exploring both the technology enablers and the business models and ecosystem needed to realize the potential of cloud and mobile technologies in delivering new services that empower the masses in emerging markets. We are driving pilots and prototypes and conducting in-market experiments to gain valuable insights.