1. Preface The contemporary school of thought in service science is currently dominated by the notion of service-centric services (Lusch & Vargo, 2008), whereby it is believed that the end users are the determinant of value of a given service and co-producing a service with the end users would enhance the value of the service. A main assumption made by this school of thought is that all aspect of services, from creation to delivery process, is the domain of the service providers.
However, the emergence of disruptive technologies such as the internet, social media, etc has reduced the operational barriers, empowering the end users to become services provider themselves. This empowerment has led to the creation of what is known as user generated services. Such services potentially challenge the complementary notion of service-centric services. Hence, in my term paper, I shall examine how user generated services has affected the service dynamic between the service providers and the end users, using the mobile phone service industry as a backdrop.
Firstly, I would define what is exactly is user generated services. Then, I will discuss about user generated services in the mobile phone service industry. Last but not least, I would explore how mobile phone service providers can leverage user generated services, regardless of the service model that the service providers adopt. 2. User generated services 2. 1 Background Contemporary services are usually designed around integration within the scope of provider’s business process.
However, advancement in information technology has allowed for the development of solutions that facilitates information exchange and collaboration between individuals. With the increased ease in information exchange and collaboration from multiple sources, the end user now has the access and capability to generate user-generated content (UGC) that suits their needs. But consequently, the rise in user-generated content generation has introduced the demand for more specialized services and processes that uses user-generated contents. This present a limitation for service producers who might lack the ability or will to do so. . 2 Introduction Contrary to the suggestion of its name, user generated services are the result of re-composing existing service into newer form of services by the end users, who might play no part in the original services that comprised the new service. (Zhao ; Laga ; Crespi, 2009). Hence, instead of having a front stage and back stage controlled by the service providers (regardless the end user’s level of participation in the co-creation of the service), end users, not the service providers, serves as the main providers of the services 2. The unique taxonomies of user generated services a) Multi-tier service stage model As mentioned, user generated services generally follows the principles of service composition, where basic services are integrated together to form a unique service offering. Figure 1 show the translation service process of a written article into Russian language and the publication of the Russian language version of the article. However, the final product is the result of engaging two independent services from two different services provider, namely the article writer and translation engine.
Thus, user generated service follows a multi-tier services model that grant user the flexibility to choose their intermediaries. An advantage is that user can restructure the final service product without need to meddle the upstream parties’ service stage. Back Stage – Document article process Back Stage – Translation process Article writer Translation Engine Front Stage – Translation Interface Front Stage – Create Article Line of Visibility Translation of Article Back Stage – Translation of article into Russian Line of Interaction Front Stage – Published Translated Article
Fig 1. An example of the service configuration of a user generated service b) The presence of a Facilitating platform In user generated services, the user creation process is facilitated through a platform that allows them access to necessary service enablers required to generate customized services. An example would be Yahoo! Pipes, a platform that provides a GUI frontend for creating Web-based apps that aggregates web feeds, web pages. (Nikolaos ; Vassilios ; Konstantino, 2009). The necessity of such a platform boils down to two reasons.
Firstly, it enables and ensures interoperability between the various services. Therefore, the user needs not worry about the compatibility of the services components in the service creation process. Secondly, it reduces the complexity of creating new services for the user, who might have differing technical capabilities, as the implementation details are encapsulated by the platform. C) End user as the ultimate service value creator The main value proposition of user generated is that the end user has the final say in creating the service, instead of being service consumers or co-creator.
Correspondingly, the original service providers are reduced to a role of value co-creator or suppliers. This arrangement allows end users to customize the original service, thus enabling the service to serve this group of end users which otherwise the original service would not have served 3. User generated services in the mobile phone service industry For user generated services to exist, the three following conditions must be fulfilled. Firstly, the industry must encourage the generation of UGC.
Secondly, service providers should allow end user access to part of their service channel/process. Lastly, the creation process of UGS should be intuitive for the end users. With that, let us look at how user generated service fits into the mobile phone service industry and some future challenges that awaits user generated services in the mobile phone service industry. a) Background of the mobile phone service industry As recently as a decade ago, the service’s proposition of mobile phone service providers was simple: Providing reliable voice communication for its subscribers.
However, mobile penetration rate is reaching near 100% in Asia-Pacific region as of 2010. Also, a study done by OVUM Inc predicted that voice services revenues generated in the Asia-Pacific will drop to US$176 billion in 2015, from $US182 billion in 2009. The same study also projected that revenue from mobile data services would increasing to US$133 billion in 2015 from $US84 million in 2009, thereby increasingly become the main revenue driver for mobile phone service provider. John, 2007) Hence, mobile phone service providers around the Asia-Pacific region are scrambling to reposition their service proposition around access to the data content and electronic services (E. g SMS, web content, and internet banking services) to take advantage of the likely growth in mobile data services revenues while arresting the effects of the slowing growth in voice services revenues. In the drive to increase the percentage of revenue from data services, mobile service providers have tried facilitating and incorporating various service innovations, one of them being user generated service (UGS). ) The impact of UGS on the service dynamics of the mobile phone service industry The appearance of User generated services in mobile phone service, made possible by the increased convergence of mobile phone and Web 2. 0 technology, are a reflection of the immensely popular collaborative and social networking trends originating from the internet. Hence, USG has redefined the paradigm of some service innovation dimensions in mobile service industry i) Concept/Client Interface Traditional service-oriented service concepts embrace enhancing and extending the value proposition of a service through value co-creation.
For example, services like uploading and sharing of mobile phone made video makes it easy for user to share self-generated content, thus positioning the mobile phone as a lifestyle product instead of a mere communication device. However, user generated service allows end users to define their own service proposition and ultimately, their own service. For example, tourists in Singapore could self initialize their own tour in Singapore by relying on a combination of mobile services such as Google maps, Iris, Singapore Guide, etc without relying on the service provided by a tour operator i) Delivery/Technology The traditional service configuration of service-oriented services is mainly shaped by the concept of service composition, whereby the service providers can combine various per-defined service and technology to deliver a single customized service to its user through its channel. An example would be Google mobile, a mobile portal which primarily offer the same range of services of its web counterpart. However, the service configuration and delivery is limited to company resources, strategy and legal issues.
Facilitating UGS overcomes the problem as the user now can select the technologies that comprised of the services and chose the mode of service delivery, without the limitation of legality, economy of scale, etc. For example, the iPhone Yahoo! Pipes allows property agents to integrate a classified listing service such as Craiglist mobile and a mapping service such Google map to provide a service where user of iPhone can located an area on the map provided by the service and select the area to see what kind of property is listed for sales in the area and the location of each of the property listed. ) Challenge of implementing and sustaining UGS in the mobile phone service industry Despite the potential UGS can offer to the mobile phone service industry, UGS is still an emerging value proposition that still faces teething issues that could slower its ascent into a viable service model for the mobile phone service industry i) Difficulty in implementing User Generated Services Regardless of any service philosophy, service value creation requires the value creator to have the necessary resources and competencies to create and deliver the values of the services.
In the context of the mobile phone service industry, although more service providers have open up access to essential resources like their application programming interface (API), the resources are more geared toward the traditional service providers (E. g Professional mobile application company) as integrating the resource into existing service still requires technical knowledge (E. g Knowledge of Google map Api for an location based web service). Not all end user possesses the knowledge and expertise to customize and integrate the service into their existing services. i) Difficulty in Ensuring Service Quality The end users service providers are at the mercy of the providers of the service components as they do not have actual ownership of the service components that comprised of their customized services. For example, when service components (E. g Google MAP API) are modified at the owner’s (Google) end, mobile location based application which functionalities that depends on Google Map might not be delivered optimally or even be delivered at all as the functionalities might have depend on certain features of the pre-modified Google API.
Thus, end user has less control over the service quality of their service unlike their conventional counterparts. 4. How to take advantage of user generated service: From the prospective of existing service provider It is pretty certain that user generated services to be relevant in the mobile phone industry for the foreseen future. Thus, mobile service provider should evaluate their suitability in adopting the user generated services and adapt the model according to their strategy.
Below are some suggestions that existing mobile service provider can adopt to take advantage of user generated service to drive their existing and future service offerings. i) Simplify the service generation process for the user As discussed earlier, not all end user possesses the necessary knowledge and expertise to customize and integrate a given service into their existing services. Moreover, it is very difficult to simplify the actual user service generating process as service generating tools (MashMaker) aiming at user is still at its infancy and is not exactly user-centric.
Instead leaving it to the user to generate their service, it would be better to simplify the process by facilitating the service creation process. For example, the mobile service provider could provide a list of mobile services and help the customer to mix and match the services together to generate a service that is unique for them ii) Bridging the communication gap between the actual service creator and the end user Currently, mobile service providers engage their end user through indirect communication channel (E. customer relationship management system, user profiling/tracking). Though such arrangements has given service providers valuable information on the end user, the information are often interpreted by the service provider from the service providers’ point of view, thus leading to potential situations where the eventually service value proposition of the service does not match what the end users wants.
This misalignment could drive end-users to drop the given service and replace the existing service component with another competing service. To mitigate the possibility of such misalignment, the service should considering sponsoring a common platform where the end user service providers can directly communicate and contribute to the development of the various services that are the composition of the user often customized service while giving the service provider a channel for them to influence the end users. . Conclusion User generated services is certainly an interesting service proposition in the mobile phone service industry as it allows the end users to develop their own customized mobile services and in the process, serving them with the services they have created themselves It solve the problem of certain customer segments not being served as they might have requirements that the service providers cannot fulfil due to real life business constraints.
However, the existing way of generating user generated service is too cumbersome and uncertain for it to be the golden standard of service delivery. Nevertheless, the service provider should look beyond just co-creating service values with the end users and instead, look at end user as strategic partner in a ecology that mutually sustain the whole hyper network of service-derived services. 6. References Abdallah Namoune, Usman Wajid, Nikolay Mahendjiev. “Composition of Interactive Service-based Applications by End Users”.
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