Business services are all the activities that a company performs to support its operations without creating or delivering any physical products. This industry represents a significant portion of the economy and offers many unique benefits that products cannot. Some of the most important business services include information technology, accounting and marketing. Many large firms also rely on a variety of business-to-business (B2B) services.
Most modern business theorists see a continuum between pure service on one end and pure commodity goods on the other. Most products fall somewhere in between these extremes, and most of the help that a company provides falls under business services. This includes all the services that assist in a company’s financial management, shipping, procurement and logistics. It also includes consulting, customer service and all other miscellaneous help that companies need to remain productive.
It is common for a business to outsource some of its business services, especially those that require expertise in a specific area or those that are more time-consuming than other internal functions. This is why companies often outsource the provision of IT, marketing and accounting services. This helps to reduce operating costs and allow the company to focus on its core competencies.
As technology has evolved and advanced, it is now possible for businesses to offer a wider array of business services through online platforms or systems. As a result, many new startups have emerged with innovative ideas for how to deliver business services in more efficient and effective ways.
The success or failure of a business service depends on four things: its design, its ability to satisfy customers, its speed and the cost. Its design is particularly crucial, because unlike product firms that need to focus on designing their goods to appeal to consumers, service businesses must focus on designing the customer experience.
To do this, the service design process requires a radical shift in thinking: Instead of focusing on the characteristics that buyers will value, managers must consider what kind of experiences they want their customers to have. For example, if a customer dithers while waiting to be helped at a fast food counter, the rest of the line behind him will not get served quickly.
Service-business managers must also make sure their employees are trained to handle the complexities of managing service processes. They must understand that, just like their employees in other industries, service-business workers have a wide range of skills and knowledge that they must draw on to provide an excellent experience for customers.
Lastly, it is vital to develop the right systems and processes for the delivery of digital business services. This should start with the creation of a system of engagement and system of action for each service, followed by a framework of processes that will ensure consistency and efficiency in delivery. These can be based on any process framework such as ITIL, IT4IT, ISO, COBIT or TOGAF. It is recommended to start with a small number of pilot business services to test and refine the concept, before applying the frameworks to the entire set of business services.