Service Transformation… ‘Just Do it?’ …Not so easy!

by NIck Frank on May 10, 2013

IMDIn April, I had the good fortune to attend a conference at the IMD business school at Lausanne. A selection of 80 senior executives  were treated to a series of lectures and seminars on the perils and successes of the journey from Product to Services. Led by Professor Wolfgang Ulaga, the Discovery Event was a great chance to hear real transformation stories.

But what really struck me were the comments in the breaks with service colleagues. Time and time again I heard the story, ‘We know what to do, but doing it, now that’s something else’

Whether it be knowing where to start, how to optimise services pricing or to re-energise a stalling change programme, leading services transformation is certainly not easy.  But are there any guiding principals? It really got me thinking about how do you succeed. So here are a couple of thoughts from my own experiences for driving change:

  1. Find & take advantage of a compelling event, to bring a sense of urgency and desire. It might be a Private Equity buy in or focussing around a common issue such as broken delivery processes. What ever it is that brings teams together or makes individuals realise they have no choice but adapt, this is the catalyst you need to search for.
  2. Starting successful transformation is a bit like creating a crack in a dam, which if your lucky turns into a raging unstoppable torrent. Start focussed, make an impact, then broaden out your approach.
  3. Try to go straight to your end vision without completing the interim steps, slows you down or leads to disaster. So be patient and build block by block to your vision. For example if you want to move to output driven services maybe you should first recognise the services you currently offer. Then make sure you industrialise the back office and can deliver them profitably. Then you may be able to increase sales & gain credibility through developing your sales force…and finally you may actually be ready to understand how you can contribute to your customers value chain.
  4. If you really understand the potential value to the customer of what you can offer…and I do not mean bland statements, but quantification in hard cash, you will find the right way to sell, the right way to price, the right way to deliver.

It’s possible to write a book on this, but they do say that less is more. What are your views?


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