Managing the Innovative Deployment of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Global Service Organisations
23 Pages Posted: 30 May 2007
Date Written: September 2007
Global service organizations (GSOs), particularly those that utilize information and communication technology (ICT) at the customer interface, need to find ways of deploying these technologies that deliver both increased efficiency and manageability as well as appropriate support for the co-production of value with service customers. While ICT is already a core part of many traditional services like banking, insurance and travel, even more service organizations are becoming heavily reliant on ICT as the service sector is becoming host to the dominant users of ICT (Meyronin, 2004). Thus, attention to how ICT is deployed by and within service organizations is both timely and important. Evidence from service organizations indicates the persistent shortcomings in their abilities to deploy and exploit ICT successfully (e.g., Berkley & Gupta, 1994; Brady, Fellenz & Armstrong, 2007; Mick & Fournier, 1998). Moreover, in this paper we argue that the way in which ICT has mainly been deployed by GSOs creates fundamental challenges because typical ICT deployment in this sector fails to be successfully aligned with the demands of service customers. How can the ICT component of global services be delivered? What are the challenges for this from a management perspective? If global service organizations fully embrace a service logic (e.g., Vargo & Lusch, 2004a, b), what are the implications for the ICT currently in use in their service provision, and how can ICT most usefully be deployed with both business success and customer centric outcomes?
To address these questions and challenges we consider how ICT can be a core part of global services operations yet simultaneously be responsive to differential customer needs and the subsequently customized delivery and interface management approaches in different markets. ICT deployment often fails to adequately take customer perspectives into account, and in turn disregards both the particular nature of value-creation in services (Bitner, Brown & Meuter, 2000) and the relevant management needs (Austin & Nolan, 2007). To summarize our argument, ICT deployment approaches of GSOs that do not directly reflect and support customer-centric co-production processes do more harm than good, and are likely to result in substantial competitive disadvantage. Internally, organizations need to find ways to integrate distinct perspectives on ICT deployment in order to maximize the potential that such technology use can bring to them as well as their service customers. To explore these matters our paper reviews the growth in services and the nature of ICT deployment in this sector. We identify the efficiency logic that typically drives ICT deployment in GSOs and contrast this with a more service-oriented logic that recognizes the importance of co-production and customer-centric value propositions in service provision. We trace the lack of alignment between the demands of service encounters and the nature of ICT deployment by GSOs both to typical technology assimilation patterns as well as to parochial, often functional perspectives and identify managerial and organizational requirements necessary to realign these issues in practice. We then present a range of research directions that can provide valuable input into the most appropriate ways of deploying and managing ICT in global service organizations.
Keywords: ICT, Global Service Organisations, Customer Interface
JEL Classification: M31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation