Monday, October 15, 2007

New Paradigm of Learning: Services – SSME (Service Science, Management and Engineering)

New Paradigm of Learning: Services – SSME (Service Science, Management and Engineering)
By Prasad Parabhakaran
[ Prasad Prabhakaran is currently working for Satyam Learning Center, Satyam Computers Service Ltd. Hyderbad , as Dy Manager .
He carries out learning interventions at different levels. His area of interest is creating values in Human Resource for the System Integration Business through service sciences. He can be reached at ].
The service sector or the service industry is one of the three main industrial categories of an economy, the others being the manufacturing, and primary industry (extraction such as mining, agriculture and fishing). Services are defined in conventional economic literature as "intangible goods". ( wikipedia)
In keeping with the general trend the world over in economic development, the contribution of the Services sector to India’s GDP has been growing. Currently services account more than 50% of the nation’s GDP, far more than the contributions of the agricultural or the manufacturing industry sectors (RBI Annual Report).
India being strong in value based human resources; this part of world is going to dominate the service sector / industry.
Most of our learning at schools and universities predominantly focuses on bringing values to Manufacturing and Primary industry sector. There is a big opportunity to inculcate the values of services to our academy and universities. This is the need of the hour. This article focuses on the new emerging SSME.
Service Science, Management, and Engineering (SSME) is a term introduced by IBM to describe Services Sciences, an interdisciplinary approach to the study, design, and implementation of services systems – complex systems in which specific arrangements of people and technologies take actions that provide value for others. More precisely, SSME has been defined as the application of science, management, and engineering disciplines to tasks that one organization beneficially performs for and with another. (IBM Research SSME site)

Today, SSME is an urgent call to action for academia, industry, and governments to focus on becoming more systematic about innovation in the service sector, which is the largest sector of the economy in most industrialized nations, and is fast becoming the largest sector in developing nations as well. SSME is also a proposed academic discipline and research area that would complement – rather than replace – the many disciplines that contribute to knowledge about service

The world is becoming networked, dependent on information and information technology
Science will provide tools and methods to study services and develop solutions to problems that span multiple disciplines
Graduates may be solution designers, consultants, engineers, scientists, and managers who will grow into becoming entrepreneurs, executives, researchers, and practitioners

What SSME should do
Aims to improve the performance of services by applying scientific, engineering and management disciplines to the configurations of people, technology and business.
Improves the predictability, productivity and quality of services
Provides graduates new skills and tools to work effectively in a services world.

Service design, development, marketing and delivery all require methodologies and techniques to make service businesses more efficient and scalable. Both depth and breadth is needed in technology, business, and organizational studies, even at the undergraduate level.
The goal of the SSME discipline is to make productivity, quality, and sustainability, learning rates and innovation rates more predictable across the service sector.
Service system is a term that frequently appears in the service management, service operations, services marketing, service design, and service engineering literatures.
Service involves both a provider and a client working together to create value. A doctor interviews a patient, does some tests, and prescribes some medicine – the patient answers the questions, cooperates with the tests, and takes the medicine faithfully. Perhaps technologies and other people are involved in the tests or in the assignment and filling of prescriptions. Together, doctor, patient, others, and technologies co-create value – in this case, patient health. These relationships and dependencies can be viewed as a system of interacting parts. In many cases, a service system is a kind of complex system – a system in which the parts interact in a non-linear way. As such, a service system is not just the sum of its parts, but through complex interactions, the parts create a system whose behavior is difficult to predict and model. In many cases, a main source of complexity in a service system is its people, whether those at the client, those at the provider, or those at other organizations.

Key Questions in developing Curricula

What skills and knowledge to students need to learn to be a part of the services world?
How can we take what we already teach and apply it to Services? (context change)
How can we help students to gain practical experience as well as “book knowledge”?
How should we structure the curriculum to address such a broad area of the economy and such diverse areas of work?
How can we position the research program and curriculum to have the greatest impact?

Goals of the SSME Program should
Serve as a unified point of contact for the coordination for Services Science, Management, and Engineering (SSME)
Create mutually beneficial opportunities for faculty, student and industry collaboration in Services research
Help students to develop the skills to thrive in and contribute to the services economy through extracurricular and curricular activities
Benefit society by educating a new wave of labor with the skill set to innovate services Roles: executives, solution designers, entrepreneurs, scientists, consultants, engineers, policy-makers, venture capitalists, etc.
It is time for our think tanks to look in to the opportunities and ensure our large and vital Human resources will be equipped with new paradigms of Service science management. The only way this is can be taken forward is complementing current curriculum of schools and colleges with inputs of SSME.
The future is bright, we do not have to wait for long time to see our “boys and gals” taking the global leadership of service sector.
Some resourceful SSME websites
IBM Research SSME site
IBM Almedan Research Center
h ttp://
IBM Academic Initiative SSME site
Journal of Service Research
SSME India initiatives

NB:- The views expressed here is of author ,not of any organization or body