Enabled by TechnologyTechnology has had a huge impact on the way services are delivered over the last 15 years, most visibly through the growth of the Internet and the Web.

The impact of technology has not all been positive, particularly within the enterprise itself.

Unfortunately the old adage, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” is rarely applied when it comes to the use of technology.

Organisations are prone to grasp the latest technological wonder with gusto, often giving little real thought to its application, or even if it is appropriate.

On the positive side, we have self-service on-line services, such as internet banking and the filing of tax returns.  On the negative side, technology too frequently being used to automate poorly designed business processes and lock in inefficiency and waste.

The reasons for the often poor application of technology are multifaceted. But key has been the tendency for technology to be treated as a design driver, rather than as an enabler – something to be pulled into a design, rather than pushed.

This has lead to a number of common design problems:

  • the design process tends to take place around the technology, with other, less technology related aspects of the design being neglected, or completely ignored;
  • the design is shaped to fit the needs of the technology, rather than the needs of the business.  This can be particularly the case with enterprise package applications, which are designed around a technologist’s standardised view of how things should work; and
  • the desire to use a particular technology overrides the selection of a better, and often much simplier and hence cheaper, solution.

Hammer and Chammy were already highlighting these risks way back in the early 90s.  But if this has been the story of the last 20 years, we now reside in a period of change, driven by the emergence of a number of new technologies, based around the Internet and mobile technology.  These technologies, and the open standards that accompany them, tend to be far more agile and flexible than those of the past, generally being made up of smaller building blocks, that can be quickly and cheaply customised to the task in hand.

In this section, we will look at these new technologies from a business perspective, stripping away the marketing blurb and explore how best they can be applied, as part of a holistic approach to service and service operations design.


Last Updated:  10/12/2012