The dawn of service economy

Bertrand Duperrin
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Reading Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler's "Empowered" inspired me two conclusions :

- marketing is being replaced by service.

- to be able to deliver a customized service to customers and even prospects, those who are virtually "in front of them" need to behave as internal clients and have colleagues who behave toward them as service providers too.

In fact, to build responsive organizations that continuously adapt to  customers needs (all employees needs being in one way or another driven by a customer need once the flow is reverted), the freeform and adhoc collaboration that's pursued by enterprise 2.0 rather looks like service. In such an organization, anyone is a service provider towards anyone.

Is it only a matter of words ? No, because each one has its own paradigm, drivers, doesn't mean the same for employees as well as for enterprises that implements them.

We have to admit that most people and organizations have been failing at collaborating for ages and still do despite of the powerful tools they're provided with. In fact, tools solve part of the problem, but it's obvious that main of the issue is not about tools. It's of course, and we discussed it a lot on the AIIM community blogs, about culture, HR, management...and in fact about a given state of mind.

One don't need the same state of time whether to collaborate or to serve. And one don't react the same when asked to collaborate or to serve.

Despite people know they have to make things together, that they need it to achieve the goals they're assigned, they simply don't like it. Because, in most cases, they feel collaboration as a top-down burden, they don't feel commited by its purpose, and, most of all, they see it as a system where they are only gears.

Collaboration is something one do with someone else to achieve something. Service is quite different.

Service is not something one do with another but something one do for another. The final purpose is, of course, to achieve something, but the immediate purpose is to help someone. And that changes everything.

Fostering stronger relationships within the organization has few impact on collaboration because collaboration often commits people to a goal and not to other people. In a collaboration context, people don't feel they help one another but rather that they're on the same boat rowing to reach an island they don't care about. In a service context, one is directly comited to help the other solve his problem and, then, relationships are more easily leveraged.

Because service is a person-to-person commitment rather than a goal-to-people one, it engages employees more, make the whole organization more responsive and make them less reluctant about caring about issues that are not directly theirs.

I tried to explore the concept of Service Oriented Organization two years ago and maybe I've to come back to it and refine it, as well as defining what's a service state of mind and what are the levers to implement both.

More in a next post...

 

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