Paths towards pioneering in service business

Arto Wallin (Editor), Jaana Tähtinen (Editor), Maaria Nuutinen (Editor)

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    Development paths towards pioneering in service business are very complex in nature. These paths are always unique, based on the path that company has previously travelled and options available at a certain point in time. These paths are also continuously evolving because of the organizational learning process and rapidly changing competitive environment. This report clarifies the complex phenomena of development towards pioneer in service business, giving examples from real life on how the paths emerge and suggesting a new framework for guiding the journey towards pioneering. The study provides four kinds of contribution to the development of successful service business. Firstly, a key enabler for successful service business rests in the transition from a goods-oriented view to a service-oriented view. Transition to service-oriented view means holistic change in companies' everyday thinking, processes, relationships, capabilities, structures, management ideologies and strategies, etc. The adoption of new logic can provide a long-term advantage, thereby opening the path towards pioneering within that particular context. Furthermore, it can open up new ways to value creation by fostering innovations. Secondly, four case studies, which intermediate between theory and practice, are presented. These case studies offer glimpses of companies' past or on-going paths and demonstrate different ways to enhance development: service research as a shared frame of reference, co-developing services with customers and end-users, involving experts in the development of future service business and building service capability and culture through gradually tackling the main obstacles of change. Thirdly, five general success factors were recognised. These are: 1) service-orientation in practice, 2) close customer and network relationships, 3) collaborative development of service business and services, 4) processes and methods for management, and 5) all-embracing renewal throughout the organizations. Success in terms of these factors is presumed to enhance development towards pioneering in service business. Some of the enhancing factors can become differentiators if the company can use those to outperform its competitors. Moreover, if proper attention is not paid to these factors, they can begin to hinder the development of service business or even become barriers for development. Therefore, it is extremely important to recognize these general success factors and understand their importance to the success in service business. Finally, the effort towards pioneering can be further supported by approaching development from four complementary perspectives, which are the: 1) organizational culture, 2) business model, 3) value network and 4) strategy. Even though development should be as holistic as possible, it is easier to understand the challenge if the phenomenon can be viewed from different perspectives. Together with the success factors, these perspectives formulate the new framework for supporting service business development and finding one's own path towards pioneering in service business. To sum up, every pioneer goes through its own development path. Sometimes the successful journey through the development path is something that emerges as the result of a normal urge to keep going and surpass the competitors. Sometimes the path is a clear but fading target that motivates change and efforts but is never reached. Even though these paths may look very different up close, the broader view reveals the general success factors on these paths. Understanding and learning from these general success factors provide companies with an excellent starting point for building successful service business. It should be noted that if these success factors are not understood, they can become bottlenecks in the development of service-oriented business. Moreover, excelling in these success factors provides an excellent opportunity for establishing differentiation, thereby enabling the creation of the competitive advantage required to become a pioneer of service business.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages140
    ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-7831-3
    ISBN (Print)978-951-38-7830-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Technology


    • service business
    • pioneer
    • service-orientation
    • development
    • path


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