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Products versus Services: or Not


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Although Product Management, Service Design, and other disciplines tend towards practical specialization, the separation of services and products is an illusion of their vocabularies.

Published in: Business, Design, Technology
  • From the well-founded, generic and complete, conclusive and consistent definition of the term service are derived the 3 generic and constitutive service identifiers: 1. Service Consumer, 2. Service Object and 3. Service-specific Benefit. s. slide deck 'Service - Word and Term' -
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  • The second category of output: service, i.e. a set of one-time consumable and perishable benefits. Benefits are the essence of any singular and unique service. The particular benefits are ascribed to a type of service. These benefits must be effectuated from scratch to the service object, an authorized service consumer hands over with his explicit service trigger to the custody & control of the accountable service provider. Effectuating the service-specific benefit to the service consumer's service object necessitates purposefully changing its status so that its final status satisfies the current exigencies & expectations of the triggering service consumer.
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  • On the next level, there are two entirely different categories of outputs: material good, i.e. a set of repeatedly executable and persistent functions. Functions are the essence of any material good. The particular functions for a type of good are engineered once and implemented into each copy, so that they become innate to each copy.
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  • On its most abstract level, the term 'product' is defined as a precisely identified and concisely specified output that is regularly effectuated by an accountable organisation(al unit) for certain (groups of) addressees.
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Products versus Services: or Not

  1. 1. The Product called Service An Archestra Notebook © 2014 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research
  2. 2. Defining “Product” What is the product of 2 x 2? Answer: the result (value) of the function. That is, something specific is produced by the function, hence the term “product”, as in offspring, output or effect... But for our discussion, the default working definition of “product” requires more than that.
  3. 3. Imagining a “Product” We spend energy on activity that has results, but often we don’t call the results “products”… One of the main reasons for not calling a result a product is that our concept of a “product” always goes beyond just the result of the production activity and into our need for the result.
  4. 4. Anticipating a product As requesters needing something, we expect a “product” to be: • a production result having certain specified properties, created in a deliberate and repeatable way, along with… • a purposeful effect that is known and predicted, from a prescribed usage of the production result’s properties.
  5. 5. Making a product Production -> drill -> make holes Production -> insulation-> prevent spoilage Production -> harmonies -> evoke pleasure Production -> fuel -> supply energy PRODUCTION-> specified RESULT -> EFFECT of prescribed USE Air Conditioner Air Flow (Static) (Dynamic) Fresher Cooler Air (Purpose)or
  6. 6. Acknowledging a product As recipients, we experience a “product” as something that: • Is complete: it already exists (due to production) so that we do not have to recreate it, and … • Has a designated intent for its characteristics, and… • Is provided to be used by a certain type of recipient
  7. 7. Recognizing a “Product” PRODUCT DISTINCTIONS Production Result Characteristics Effect Usage Expectation Deliberate and Repeatable Specified Known and predicted Prescribed Experience Complete Intentional Deliverable Specified user type Meanwhile: everything that together distinguishes a “Product” is true for both Goods and Services. When something is not complete, has no designated intent, and is not provided for utilization by the right party, we never call it a product. In fact, even meeting any (but only) two of those three criteria is usually not good enough to warrant our calling it a product.
  8. 8. All squares are rectangles; but not all rectangles are squares. We recognize many things as Products. They fall into a couple of categories. One category is “Goods”. Another category is “Services”. Not knowing that a service is a product simply reflects not knowing what a product is. PRODUCTS GOODS SERVICES Services are a type of Product! Squares are a type of rectangle!
  9. 9. GENERIC PRODUCT TYPES STATIC DYNAMIC DYNAMIC STATIC PRODUCTIONRESULTS PRESCRIBED EFFECTS PARTS SUBSTANCES TOOLS MACHINES INSTRUMENTS DEVICES FACILITIES ARTEFACTS RESOURCES PROCESSES EVENTS Production results are aimed at certain effects of prescribed use. Static results are typically objects or component materials to be applied. Dynamic results are themselves “contained” activities. In general the effect of their prescribed use is either additional “finished“ items (static) or “organized” activity (dynamic). Goods are built on static results. Services are built on dynamic results. A related crucial observation is that products are often used to create other products. And, products co- operate with other products. © 2012 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research used for
  10. 10. Producing Goods or Services Among things produced to be a product, both goods and services qualify because they are both complete, both have an intended purpose, and are both delivered for targeted users. Additionally, both may be “packaged” especially to communicate that they come with supported use “as delivered”. The main difference between goods and services is simple. Regardless of the intended effect of use: Goods are based on materials or items – i.e., static results of production Services are based on activities – i.e., dynamic results of production
  11. 11. Product-to-Product Interactions Product Design is responsible for designating the appropriate fit between the characteristics of the product and the requirements of the user’s intent. Product Architecture is responsible for identifying and communicating the system of successful interoperations among elements of a product and among products with dependencies on each other as directed by the design. Goods products are deliverables, various forms of which (as containers) can be used to deliver other goods, to enable services (such as with materials), and (such as with media) even to deliver services. Notably, a Service, also, is a product that might be used to deliver goods (such as in shipping) or even to deliver other services (such as in contracting). Sometimes, an acceptable “final” product is, by design, a compound product – part goods and part services.
  12. 12. Managing Products Notes and Caveats
  13. 13. Specifying the Product creation Goods and Services both have a planned makeup aimed at assurance of utility. The plan can be modified, to adjust existing product or to create new product. The concept, content, deliverability, and build of the product are all variables to manage for their alignment and sustainability. A design is a model for fitting the production result to the intended usage. An architecture is a framework for fitting the construction of the result to the design requirement.
  14. 14. A Service Is A Product Not all activities are services; but all services are products. A service “productizes” activity. A “service” product exists when terms of agreement have been established between the User (demander) and the Provider for on- demand delivery of production results for user-intended effects.
  15. 15. Service Concept A product of any kind, by definition, satisfies certain designated requirements. As a type of requirements “fulfiller”, the primary differentiating aspect of a service is that it is a product for which the user does not need to provide maintenance, control operations, nor own the supporting resources, in order to have effective availability and usage. mass transit electricity repairs restaurant housemovers
  16. 16. Service Content When a particular effect is identified as the target outcome for a product user, the decision to meet that need with a service must identify the scale of capability that will be available on-demand, and for what durations, from the provider or producer.
  17. 17. Service Deliverability For something to be deliverable, it must be intact, available, and within “reach” of the intended recipient at the moment of the recipient’s demand.
  18. 18. Service Build Resources – are “contained” activity that can be requested and/or initiated. For example, this could be a person (skills), a fuel (energy), a machine (procedures), or a document (concepts). The container (i.e., form) keeps the prescribed activity available and ready for use. Capabilities – we often group and organize functions into capabilities, to apply functional results selectively to address specific requirements. Functions – we recognize functions as a specific repeatable way of acting on something, generating a result. A resource can be developed and then provided as a service product Capabilities are the intended characteristics of the production results in a service product In production, a function “processes” resources provided to it
  19. 19. Common model of the Product Production -> specified RESULT -> having prescribed EFFECT OF USE (Architecture) (Design) © 2012 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research Conform result to the need Create result methodically
  20. 20. Product Design in the Service • Service Terms of Agreement are part of the “product design”. • Making the service available allows “delivering” the product. • Real-time access to the available service is the delivery of the product • Using the Service is using a product. Conform result to the need specified RESULT -> having prescribed EFFECT OF USE
  21. 21. Product Architecture in the Service • Service Processes are part of the “product architecture”. • Activity is proceduralized in order to methodically generate predefined outputs in a repeatable way • Proceduralization requires defined tasks and defined scope, executed the same way regardless of outputs • Processes control (start/stop, include/exclude) procedures according to whether obtained outputs are driving intended outcomes. Create result methodically Production -> specified RESULT
  22. 22. Providing Products from production “Production” does not always generate a product, but all products require production. Production deliberately creates a specified result. A product does not have to be pre-fabricated, but production results must be complete before they can become an available product. In the concept of the product, the designated usage predetermines what can be considered “complete enough”. A product also can have, as part of its “finish”, packaging that communicates the product intention and provides support. But, packaging is optional.
  23. 23. Providing Products to Users We hear a lot about packaged products. Product Providers usually rely on packaging. But is an “unpackaged” product “incomplete”? No. Packaging is done primarily to facilitate successful delivery – but an undelivered product may still be available, accessible and usable. A Producer may deliver the product directly to the user. In such a case, the packaging is, in effect, the way that the producer conforms (not performs) the delivery to the user for receipt. Delivery behavior as “packaging” is especially significant in terms of Services. For example, we think of things like “bedside manner” in hospitals (medical service), and “customs” or “protocol” in diplomacy (foreign service).
  24. 24. Experiencing the Service Product • As defined, the service may – or may not – be strong, available, on or up or running – all of which are statuses of the service. • Statuses of the Service are experiences of “the product”. Many experiences can be negative: • When the terms are not being met, the service is degraded. • When the terms cannot be met, the service is unavailable. • If the terms are not being met but can be, the service is either off or it is down. • If the terms are being unnecessarily violated, the service may, as a penalty, be stopped . • However, being degraded, unavailable, off, down or stopped does not change the product into a non-service, nor the service into a non-product.
  25. 25. Known Limitations on “Products” • A production effort may not result in a product. If the effort attempts to create a product but fails, it is not a failed product, it is a failed production. • Also, not all production is intended to conclude with something that complies with the distinction of being a product. Some production is only progressive exploration. Progress is an outcome that may not be a product. • We know that there is such a thing as a bad product, which can occur from poor design and/or poor architecture as well as poor production execution. • Being a bad product does not mean that the [specified result having prescribed use effect] is disqualified as a “real” product. • The experience of exposure to and use of a product, whether the product is goods or services, may be predetermined by the condition of the attempting user, and there can be conditional or circumstantial incompatibilities of a product and a user.
  26. 26. © 2014 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research