Business services are a broad set of activities that support the functions of businesses but do not produce tangible goods. Examples include information technology (IT) services, customer service, human resources, procurement, and finance services. Successful business-service management requires an ability to align the capabilities of the company with the needs and demands of its customers. It also involves balancing the autonomy of revenue-generating line managers against the need for shared services to be able to deliver value at scale. Without strong leadership, line managers will tend to overrule shared services leaders, which can undermine performance.
Unlike products, services can be difficult to define and understand. They are intangible, and a lot of the time, the quality of a service depends on the judgment of consumers. Consumers are often influenced by the values of their peers, and in tough economic times, they may cut back on services they perceive as unnecessary. For example, people who had been paying for oil changes might decide to perform their own oil changes to save money. Similarly, people who had been hiring dog walkers might decide to take on the task themselves.
Whether a business service is being provided by an employee or external partner, it must be delivered at a level of excellence that will satisfy its customers. It is also important that the business service is affordable and provides a good return on investment for the organization. In addition, the business service should be scalable and should be easy to integrate with other systems within the company.