Report from an Attendee
Dr. Russ Henke
IBSystems Contributing Editor
On March 29, 2007 came the announcement that IBM and Oracle were working with the Technology Professional Services Association (TPSA), the Service & Support Professionals Association (SSPA) and 15 leading technology companies and academic researchers to help create the Service Research and Innovation Initiative (SRII). The mission of the Northern CA-based SRII: to increase the amount of funding for service research, development and innovation in the technology industry.
The founding SRII members then formed an advisory board whose members now include Accenture, Cisco, CSC, EMC, HP, Microsoft and Xerox. Academic participants include top researchers from UCLA, Cranfield School of Management, Wharton School of Business, Arizona State University, University of Maryland and University of California Silicon Valley Center at Santa Cruz. Government and research institutions include the European Commission and the Fraunhoffer Institute in Germany.
SRII’s first symposium, “The Challenges and Opportunities of Services Research and Innovation,” took place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California on May 30, 2007. Among others, presenters included Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm; Sophie Vandebroek, president of Xerox Innovation, John Seely Brown, author of The Only Sustainable Edge and Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president, Technical Strategy and Innovation, IBM.
The May 30 SRII Symposium itself was well organized and very professional. The seminar was held in a large, well-equipped room at the Santa Clara Convention Center. A continental breakfast was served during registration. ID badges on a large keychain necklace were issued to all attendees. Nearly 200 people attended, sitting at approximately 7 rows of 30 people each.
The podium was some 40 feet wide, with a very snazzy backlighted, aluminum-framed SRII logo, and flanked by two large screens for the presenters’ slides. Eight large audio speakers provided excellent voice fidelity.
Presenters were provided with wireless slide changers and laser pointers. Also, a TV monitor was placed low in front of the podium, so that each speaker could verify which of his/her slides was showing without craning his/her neck. A countdown timer was also provided, visible only to each speaker, to maintain pace.
The attendees’ tables were 2 feet wide by ~20 feet long, with white tablecloths. Chairs were standard seminar fare, uncomfortable after just a few hours. Each place at the tables had a notepad, bottle of water, full agenda for the day, and speakers’ evaluation forms. Walk-in music and slides were used to gather the attendees into their seats.
A small press area outside the main seminar room was available, with Internet connections, but there was literally no time in the day to use the press area.
As one might expect, the themes of the day dealt with the rapidly emerging field of “Services Innovation,” mostly in the IT space. Keywords heard throughout the day were terms like Knowledge Management, Professional Services, Self Services via the Internet, Web Services, Service Systems, Automation of Services, Improving the Customer Experience, etc.
Several claims were asserted as the day progressed, such as:
- Between 2007 and 2014, “services” will be the fastest growing sector in the US economy.
- Services flexibility enables the growth of the global workforce. (This means it enables outsourcing of US services jobs to India, China, et al).
- Eighty percent of today’s college graduates will be employed in services jobs.
- EBay provides the primary or secondary source of income for over 1.3 million people worldwide.
- In Consumer Electronics today, post-sale product returns represents the suppliers’ biggest cost, yet on over half the returns, nothing is wrong with the products.
- Services, including Professional Services, are not just an outgrowth of IBM’s product business; it’s becoming IBM’s main business!
- Among 50 enterprise technology companies recently surveyed, “services” represent between 54% and 60% of their revenues.
At the conclusion of the day on May 30, the SRII announced that the organization has created an online community for members and non-members to share ideas, research and
opportunities around the topics of services research and innovation in the technology industry.
People who are interested in participating in the SRIINet may go to www.thesrii.org and click on “Join the Community”. For more information about the SRII or to become a member of SRII, visit www.thesrii.org or email Email Contact.
About the Author:
Since 1996, Dr. Russ Henke has been president of HENKE ASSOCIATES, a San Francisco Bay Area high-tech business & management consulting firm. The number of client companies for Henke Associates now numbers more than forty. During his corporate career, Henke operated sequentially on "both sides" of MCAD and EDA, as a user and as a vendor. He's a veteran corporate executive from Cincinnati Milacron, SDRC, Schlumberger Applicon, Gould Electronics, ATP, and Mentor Graphics. Henke is a Fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and served on the SME International Board of Directors. He is also a member of the IEEE and a Life Fellow of ASME International. In April 2006, Dr. Henke received the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from The CAD Society, presented at COFES2006 in Scottsdale, AZ. In February 2007, Henke also affiliated with Cyon Research's select group of experts on business and technology issues as a Senior Analyst. This Cyon Research connection aids and supplements Henke's ongoing, independent consulting practice (Henke Associates). Dr. Henke and his associate Dr. Jack Horgan have published 53 articles on MCADcafe and EDAcafe since 2003.