Business Services Defined

A business service is an intangible activity that supports business processes yet does not produce a tangible product. Examples of business services include information technology, accounting, and marketing. Many businesses today are inclined towards specialized business services that do not deliver a physical product. These specialized activities are typically more expensive than traditional product-based businesses but may provide higher value to customers and partners.

There are many definitions of the term “business service” in the scholarly literature. Each of these definitions brings together different design concerns inherent to the context in which the term is used. Several of these concerns are highlighted below.

1. Identification of Business Services

The identification of business services requires an understanding of the role of human and organizational factors in operational processes that drive the delivery of a service to end-customers. A service provider must understand the value of a business service to its customers and must identify the capabilities needed to deliver a service offering. In this regard, a business service identification model (BSIM) is an excellent tool to facilitate the process of identifying and mapping business services within an organization.

2. Defining and Deploying Business Services

Once a set of identified business services is established, it is important to translate these services into a technical framework that can be delivered through the IT service management platform. This can be achieved by defining the service catalog as a consumer-facing system of engagement and the service portal as the digital means for delivering business services to end-customers. This can then be linked to the service portfolio management as the means for managing services grouped by objective, capability, or organizational structure.

3. Measuring Business Service Performance

The ability to measure the performance of a business service is vital in any service business. It helps identify potential opportunities to improve customer experience and increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness. A good starting point is to define the most critical KPIs for each business service. This could be the number of transactions supported, quality of service, or reduction in errors. These metrics can then be rolled up into an overall Service Performance Dashboard to help identify the most important trends over time.

4. Managing Service Performance

To manage service performance, it is important to identify and involve the appropriate service owners. Ideally, this should be a cross-functional team that includes representatives from each business unit. This ensures that the right set of people are positioned to address the needs of their respective business services and ultimately, improve the employee and customer experience. Getting these key stakeholders involved early and establishing clear accountability for measurable KPIs will also increase the likelihood that a business service will be successful. Moreover, it will make it easier to communicate changes in service ownership or other significant changes to these stakeholders. Lastly, it is important to develop an efficient process for collecting and communicating data on business service performance. Often, this will require the use of automated workflows or the development of custom integrations with external systems to capture data that is relevant to the service.

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