When I started writing this article, i was kind of an extremely frustrated person ...professionally. Ofcourse it was not very long lasting...but some part of it continues to reside at the back of my mind. I am trying to come to terms with a major thought revolving in my mind. Am I really a service scientist.. or am I kidding myself?? I mean for a moment, if we were to agree without argument that "service science" is real...(refer my main page on service science)... the immediate question I have is what calls for a basic qualification for being a service scientist. By any given measure, there are two roads to getting there...one by theoretical understanding and learning of the discipline, and other is by practical experience. Now my theoretical subjects have long been in the area of electronics and computer science since forever now..so the first approach is out of question. As for practice, I have finished 2.5 yrs at IBM research, of which lets say one year went in doing core computer science work...So in effect really 1.5 years spent so far understanding practically, how IT(only IT yes..) service delivery happens, and the nitty grittys. This surely doesn't qualify me for being called a service scientist...yet. Talk about all the technical service managers, the account managers, who have been delivering services for last 10-15 years, I feel completely humbled in front of them when it comes to understanding this art..which we are trying to translate to science. However an argument in favor of the assertion is that we've all been dealing with services since right we can remember. Be it the friendly neighbourhood shop, or the ice-cream vendor, or more recently our frequent flights, and dozens of facilities we enjoy ( I agree that I started appreciating and think about most services critically more when I start paying for those services myself) but the point being that from an overall perspective, it doesn't need a sherlock holmes to figure out how the good services work vis-a-vis bad services. Its just that with the other powerful tool of computer science and computers themselves at our disposal, how can we apply, and implement these good services in a repeatable, and efficient and customer friendly manner again and again and again, and accurately as we can. Without computers, I believe Service Science would have been the exclusive domain of B-Schools.. But, not in this context. It is a circle.. or a spiral. Services Needed Automation..Automation Led to electronic devices.....computers.. computers led to more and more information capturing..and allowing more and more complex things...resulting in more information, higher need of computers, and better computers..and now behind the vast eco-system of delivering services, is a huge stack of knowledge or information call it whatever, which needs collection, storage, dissemination, interpretation, transformation, translation, preservation, analysis, visualization etc. etc. which is unthinkable without applying the most advanced computer science approaches. In fact many a times, the problems and challenges faced, need computer scientists to push the envelop further and create new approaches. ( I all of a sudden seem to be making so much sense to myself.. realizing that "Information Technology" was really not just another major created in colleges in addition to computer science, but it was the natural evolution from the academics of how computers work..and designing computers, to the academics of how we can use them.) The same evolution continues...from the academics of how we can manage information better in general..we can say broadly we are thinking about how we can manage information related to delivering services better. And thus the loop completes to Service Science.. ( and this my friends.. right now.. just as I wrote this, has become my 'Aha' moment in this dilemma I had..)
As I conclude I would have to say that we indeed seem to be better placed to become service scientist's than any other professionals. However ofcourse there is still a lot of things to learn, lot of fundamental stuff to understand, which will not happen until we get into the thick of the things. Being an outsider to the ecosystem of delivery of services, and trying to solve the problems from a third party view can be dangerous and tardy, since there is a good chance, we dont even appreciate the true problems until we are in the actual delivery, and end up wasting time solving what our outsider notions/interpretations are of the main problems in delivery. Should I be thinking seriously about a stint.. may be a few months working in the thick of delivery..?? Not sure whether soon...but one needs to definitely focus on this in the medium term as a high priority if they want to really be true service scientist..
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