I sourced this from the University of Cambridge paper titled Succeeding through service innovation published in April 2008. It is just a section from the beginning but i thought it was compelling. More so because it explains that although Services are not new in any way, the level of complexity attached to them has risen significantly, it is is this which is now challenging many organisations as they seek to compete with their competitors that have not only embraced the complexity, but also delivered it in a consistent manner.
Growth in service
The growth of service activity across industries is now widely recognised. However, is it really anything new? Service is as old as the division of labour and has been provided in various forms since record keeping began. Indeed writing records was a form of service! What has changed, however, is the scale and complexity of service systems –configurations of resources that create and deliver value to stakeholders through service activities. Service systems are growing rapidly and have become an ever greater part of value creation in modern economies. We are paying proportionally more for services in the form of experience, advice, information, assurance, infrastructure and leasing, and proportionally less on growing, building and owning physical goods. And more than ever before, we are constrained by natural resources and have to achieve the triple targets of effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability. The rise in complexity is partly due to the expansion of our values in social, ecological and political dimensions.
The full report can be accessed here.