Service Design – Establishing the Process Neural Network (Part 1/2)

By Pratik Bose & David Davies

Whenever a new product or service is introduced or upgraded by an organization, there is one key point to bear in mind: Even though it is important to ensure that the product or service meets its requirements, it is more important that the product or service enhances the Customer Experience (CX).

And while technical capabilities and features add improvements to a product or service, it is the whole Service by which we can truly enhance the Customer Experience journey.

The Service is akin to the biological neural network in the human body. It is the connections and interworking between different delivery and support areas via the critical underlying processes network. Hence the crucial need to focus on creating the right Service Design.  

Process Design has been around for decades. The term Service Design was first recorded in 1982 by the banking executive Lynn Shostack in an article published in the European Journal of Marketing. Subsequently, in 1991 at the Köln International School of Design, Service Design was announced as a design discipline. In the beginning, Service Design was only about creative improvement and process change, but with an expanded remit, it has gained increased recognition and importance over the last few years.

Why Is Service Design Important?

Two critical reasons have been identified for projects failing to deliver results:

  1. A deficit in the understanding of requirements
  2. The non-establishment of clearly-understood methods of communication between Operations teams

The delivery and support mechanism and the communications channel for a product or service should be as proficient as the neural network in the human body. It communicates the necessary commands to the relevant area to execute and implement the required tasks and activities.

There are several aspects in the design of a process, but it boils down to the fact that an ideal Process Design should produce the same product with consistent quality every time with no defective products produced.

This is where Service Design comes in.  

What Is Service Design?

Service Design helps business stakeholders understand the strategic vision of the current and future states of a product or service.

Currently, the world is moving more and more towards a Product Delivery Model where Delivery and Support teams are spread out all around the globe. In this new era, the Agile delivery approach helps ensure that what is built returns value to satisfy the customer. This is achieved through early and continuous deliveries and by enabling the categorization of functionality into discrete pieces of value.

Service Design is about planning and organizing business resources. The business resources are the people, processes, systems, and information. This ensures the delivery of an optimal quality product or service.

Service Design focuses on the external Customer Experience (CX) and associated internal User Experience (UX) for these deliveries. This in turn must lead to an optimal employee experience in delivering the service and enhance the customer’s experience in their interaction with the service provider.

The neural network in the human body is designed to receive sensory input and respond to perform the necessary activities in a reliable end-to-end process. Similarly, Service Design creates end-to-end processes to ensure delivery of the required product or service. It is about understanding the customer’s requirements (be they internal or external) and the ability of the business to provide the service in an efficient manner, as per the requirements.

Service Design is the utilization of information, tools, and techniques to understand business needs, captured as stakeholder requirements. This leads to the design of effective and sustainable solutions that enable the successful deployment of the product or service for meeting those business needs and objectives.

Thus, Service Design is about enabling the deployment of a service which is required, suitable, well-organized, operative, and functional. It is a realistic way to design new services and improve those that already exist.

Recapping the Importance of Service Design

Service Design enables tactical or strategic changes, delivering improvements by defining the recommended process solutions aligned to the overall strategic objectives and goals of the organization. It entails the creation or modification of mutually shared processes and a set of agreed tools to enable multiple teams to deliver the service in a coordinated manner.

In short, Service Design is a process that will define and deliver supportable services for the customer and associated service provider.

It is essentially about:

  • People: The stakeholders and customers who are impacted by the changes to the service
  • Process: Definition or updates to processes, workflows, and business rules required to execute the service
  • Systems: Associated systems and products utilized for the delivery of the service

Service Design helps avert project failures. It informs the concerned organization on the chain of operations that need to be executed on a given set of inputs to obtain the desired output. It is a vital and time-intensive activity on which the competence and efficacy of an organization is dependent.

How Cartesian Can Help

Contact Cartesian today for strategic support in implementing Service Designs and other solutions.

Continue to Part 2:

Service Design – Establishing the Process Neural Network (Part 2), where we delve into the challenges of creating an effective Service Design.