What's new at the IfM - February - Seven Critical Success Factors in the Shift to Services

Shift to services report

A new Executive Briefing from the Cambridge Service Alliance, 'Seven Critical Success Factors in the Shift to Services’, sets out a roadmap for making the shift to services journey.


It identifies the seven critical success factors (CSFs) in order to deliver services successfully and gives firms a set of key actions to do this. Critical success factors (CSFs) for any business are defined as the limited number of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure successful competitive performance for the organisation. In other words, a critical success factor is a key factor or activity needed to ensure the success of a firm.


Seven Critical Success Factors in the Shift to Services

  1. Assess your market and internal readiness: making the shift to services means that all parties involved must be ready to change and understand the value of doing so.
  2. Create the right strategic and cultural context: a service business is different to a product business and needs a completely new mindset to be instilled throughout the whole service ecosystem.
  3. Build the structures and governance for services: firms need to make a clear commitment to services by creating properly empowered teams and the appropriate organisational structures.
  4. Get the resources ready for service innovation and delivery: short- and long-term budgets need to acknowledge that services are very resource intensive and change over time.
  5. Proactively manage engagement and trust: services are cocreated with customers who are active participants in the service journey.
  6. Develop and embed service processes: firms delivering services must experiment and adapt and they need processes that enable them to do that.
  7. Optimise services and communicate best practices: services rely on continuous innovation and so require a ‘best-practice’ mindset.

The report works through these key factors and outlines how organisations need to use them in their implementation strategy. There is a logical progression to them and a relationship between them. The first thing you need to do is assess the readiness of both your external and internal environments. Only when you are confident that you, your delivery partners and your customers are all willing to embrace the changes that the shift to services demands can you create the strategic and cultural conditions in which successful services can be designed and delivered. Appropriate governance structures, resources, customer engagement activities and service processes are all critical to success and all need to be put in place so that they can run in parallel and in coordination with each other.


Each of the critical success factors has a defined set of rules, which will allow your company to embed these into your organisation. There is a strong relationship between the seven CSFs and you need to realise that to move from one to the other you need to complete the preceding one first particularly with the first few steps. You have to be diligent in setting up these steps and you need to be sure you are ready to progress to the next one before doing so.


Finally, you need to establish a mechanism that communicates and embeds the good practices you have learnt and so strengthens and sustains your service strategy – and creates a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. But making a successful shift to services is about more than what goes on within your organisation. You also need your delivery partners and other stakeholders in the ecosystem to commit to working together to fulfil your service strategy.


The Seven Critical Success Factors in the Shift to Services Report was written by Veronica Martinez and Andy Neely, Cambridge Service Alliance; Neil Alison and Monica Lund, Pearson North America; Dav Bisessar, IBM; Thomas Bucklar, Caterpillar; Stewart Leinster-Evans and Graham Pennington, BAE Systems; and Daniel Smith, Zoetis.


To download the 'Seven Critical Success Factors in the Shift to Services' Executive Briefing, please click here.