Making sense of service

Posted on 23 Sep 2010 by The Manufacturer

Academia and industry seek better understanding of servitisation, as Cambridge University, BAE Systems and IBM form the first wave of a global research initiative.

The multinational firms participating in this new research project are founding members of the Cambridge Service Alliance (CSA) – a global partnership between business and academia. The CSA is designed to develop greater understanding of ‘servitisation’, a trend which has seen businesses from a wide range of sectors develop innovative services to meet the changing needs of customers and which will require the growth of new business skills sets.

In particular the Alliance will examine complex service solutions which integrate technology, processes, organisations and information in an environment where competition and pressure on public finances ensures the need for ever-increasing effectiveness. These solutions are already being utilised by major organisations such as the British armed forces.

Andy Neely, Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance, said the new body would seek to investigate improvements to the way in which organisation transfer to service systems in order to maximise the benefits it can bring to business. The Alliance will also undertake research into the design and delivery of service excellence.

Neely went on to explain “Through-life services can offer customers greater value and reduce costs, while increasing the predictability of future revenue,”
“We’re delighted that BAE Systems and IBM have agreed to be core partners in this new project.”

According to the Office of National Statistics and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development services now account for over 70% of employment in developed countries and are increasingly important in traditionally product-based industries such as aerospace and defence as well as transportation, energy and health. Both BAE Systems and IBM have been at the forefront of this new business approach.

Peter Fielder, Managing Director, Performance Excellence BAE Systems added; “With almost half of our global business now in the customer support and services sector, it’s vital that BAE Systems can offer the most streamlined and integrated systems to its customers including the military.”

IBM Global Business Services, the professional services arm of IBM, is part of IBM Global Services, the world’s largest service company. IBM consulting services help people, processes and systems adapt to change, and enable businesses to thrive in the global economy. With UK business and government re-evaluating their future and recognising the need to make smarter decisions, the need for transformation is becoming even stronger.

John Granger, General Manager, IBM Global Business Services, Northeast Europe, said: “We are proud to be a founding CSA partner because we want to anticipate the next generation of service models before they become reality.”

The CSA builds upon the success of BAE Systems and IBM’s previous partnership with the University of Cambridge that investigated new service-related business models. Business-led, the Alliance brings together the Institute for Manufacturing’s expertise in the servitisation of high value manufacturing and the Judge Business School’s experience improving business models in a range of industries.

Among the core academic staff supporting the CSA is Professor Mike Gregory CBE, head of the Institute for Manufacturing at Cambridge University. Professor Gregory will be chairing the manufacturing debate at The Manufacturer Directors’ Conference 2010 on November 18 this year.