Service Science: Exploring Complex Agile Service Networks through Organisational Network Analysis

Service Science: Exploring Complex Agile Service Networks through Organisational Network Analysis

Noel Carroll (University of Limerick, Ireland), Ita Richardson (University of Limerick, Ireland) and Eoin Whelan (National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2503-7.ch008
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The discipline of service science encourages the need to develop alternative and more scientific approaches to conceptualise modern service network environments. This chapter identifies the opportunity to apply organisational network analysis (ONA) as a novel approach to model agile service interaction. ONA also supports the visualisation of a service infrastructure which sustains agile practice. The objective of this chapter is to demonstrate how the concept of agile service network (ASN) may be examined through an unconventional method to model service operations. ONA demonstrates the exchange of resources and competencies through an ASN infrastructure. Ultimately, this chapter provides a platform to develop an audit framework with associated metrics borrowed from ONA. ONA concepts offer a new analytical approach towards ASN (for example, structural, composition, behavioural, and functional). This has a significant theoretical contribution for software engineering performance.
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2. Service Science

Agility has become an important service strategy to respond to the dynamic business environment. Defined by van Oosterhout et al. (2007), agility is “an innovative response to an unpredictable change”. It is concerned with taking greater “control” of unpredictable changes. Therefore, the design, management and delivery of complex service systems suggest that we need to develop a scientific understanding regarding the configuration of resources to deliver service excellence. In order to extend our understanding on service delivery, particularly within an agile environment, there is a need to establish alternative methods to examine service formation and the value propositions which connects them. Within the service-dominant environment (Normann, 2001; Vargo and Lusch, 2008), organisations are faced with increasing challenges to develop their capabilities in complex service models (Vargo et al. 2008). The emergence of “service science” as a discipline in recent years confirms the fundamental change which continues to alter the nature and application of technology within business environments. Service science is an attempt to understand the complex nature of service systems and acts as an interdisciplinary umbrella which incorporates widely diverse disciplines to construct, manage, analyse and evolve service systems (Spohrer et al, 2007). This suggests that we need a more systematic, analytical, and overarching approach to examine service co-production operations to generate knowledge regarding the overlap between the social, business, and technology factors within a service environment (i.e. bridging service management and service computing). As services become more “open”, collaborative, flexible, agile, and adaptive, there are greater pressures on business to reconfigure and meet change through strategic realignments (Carroll et al., 2010). In doing so, managers should develop an understanding as to how this impacts the “value” of the service system. A service system comprises of a provider(s) and a client(s) who collaborate to deliver (i.e. co-create) and benefit from a service (Vargo et al. 2008). A service system may be defined as (IfM and IBM, 2007; p. 5):

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