Services Science, Engineering and Management Conference, at IBM Palisades, October 6-7

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted on the Coevolving Innovations web site by David Ing.


  • Cathy Lasser, IBM, VP in Research, Industry Solutions

Have heard of changes from IBM, now something completely different

  • We're employers

For Cathy: talked about services sciences, came into engineering

  • Solution, said dive into telecom, health
  • Said, maybe we need solution science
  • In conversations with Jim and Irving, this became solution engineering
  • The discipline to be able to do it over and over again
  • Today, it takes a perfect storm:  need right people at the right time in the right geography to make it happen
  • SSME would make the perfect storms more frequent

Sid Dalal, VP of services research: Xerox

  • Started information services division
  • Four colleagues at the VP level came to this event
  • Xerox has $4B / year in services, document process outsourcing, which is very human intensive
  • In the business of big-I small-T
  • Services research, 200 people
  • See benefits in shorter time to hire, shorter time to train
  • As an employer, want to hire:  analysts, solutions architects, researcher
  • Trying to solve a problem: end to end, complete multidisciplinary approach
  • Services is a human-intensive business
  • Multidisciplinary, can't come from a single discipline
  • When we are with a customer, need to understand risks: haven't seen risk analysis discussed
  • Comparable to 1960s and 1970s Deming: not complicated, but just people in factories discussing with a toolkit
  • At Xerox, have many six-sigma black belts trained
  • We're not about cost-cutting, notion of a new business model: can we charge for services by click?

Peter Tompkins: Information Techologies Inc.

  • 30 years ago, started, leading suppliers of software in banking
  • 700 people in Lincoln, Nebraska
  • In professional services group, professional services manager
  • Banking software provided to 1/3 of banks, 700 people
  • Fiserv out of Madison, Wisconsin, bought the company, parent of 130 companies
  • Had a wire from a Unisys mainframe to green screen
  • Now everything on networks, talks to PDA and refrigerator doors
  • 5 years ago, partnered with IBM
  • 3 years ago, open up a refined version of software, runs on other platforms
  • Midwest work ethic
  • Former president of the company is the chairman of Fiserv that bought ITI
  • Initially, professional services was a silo
  • Translates geekdom to business terms
  • Can't know it all
  • Only came on to services science a few months ago
  • What do banks need?  We need data mining, etc., that are things that universities teach to students.
  • Model is to create wealth for customers.
  • Partnership is biggest thing of what we do.
  • Consulting: fake the experience, live the passion

Adrian McKinney: Boston Consulting Group

  • Variety of perspectives, intent
  • Some thousand consultants, $1 billion in revenue, we solve problems
  • We sell the service of problem solution
    • Role is mostly in client service: people want an edge, as an innovation value solution
    • Means creation of new business models, creation of new services
  • Spend 20% of time in the Strategy Institute, looking for the next horizon of ideas
    • Not going to find this B-schools and MBAs
    • Go to sociologists, physicists, etc. to see what sparks fly
    • Disciplines are arbitrary
    • Emanuel Wallenstein's work on systems theory
  • Training in physics, jumped to business in the 1990s
  • But have taught classes, created curriculum
  • At BCG, hiring MD MBAs, but then still need to give them experience
  • Beyond content, need to allow people experiences that generate their internal abilities to do:
    • Networking, someone who can talk to a poet and a physicist
    • Insights: pattern recognition, dynamic range in thinking, at undergrad and grad programs
    • Impact: what's the value?
  • For BCG, it's about going beyond the MBA
  • Also something about tools and learning devices:  at BCG have a Strategy Gallery, encourage people to dip into that to get a space to think


When do we have services and product for free?  People-based business to asset-based businesses.  Need services sciences who come to build tools and technologies.  You're not looking for us to develop courses to help you.  Not production line, person putting in screws on a production line.  Strategies born or trained?

  • Adrian:
    • Can be gently engineered, starting in high school, then through university.
    • Looking for renaissance men and women, not that can do everything, but can figure out everything.
    • Need a different way of interacting, and at the personal career level
    • Genocide: if someone has too many interests, too many degrees, too many experiences, we're too concerned about why they're jumping around
    • Strategy requires those properties
    • Can grow these people
  • Cathy:
    • Methods and disciplines of what to ask
    • How integrate and use them
    • Technology bits and bytes, but then how do we make money?  Can train for this
  • Sid:
    • Will it create methdology of tools?
    • Will it cause a disruption?
  • Peter:
    • Confidence factors:  can you teach outgoingness, then experience and failure need to kick in, that leads to performance
    • Can't teach personality

Challenge on people and metrics.  In IGS, easiest measure is utilization.  People need a space to think.  Can't acquire a skill unless it's practice.  Too often, people are practicing in front of the customer.  What's the answer to keep them sharp?

  • Peter:
    • Ride-along, apprenticeship
  • Adrian:
    • Don't handle it well, but it works
    • Every 6 months you get a review
    • Up or out system, or go or grow
    • We keep talent sharp by citing it quickly
  • Sid:
    • Tough question
    • Experimenting:  allow newer people some extra time
    • Rotational assignments work, allow them to replenish batteries
      • Finite limit to do this
    • Allowing some amount of time after an assignment to do it
    • Can't do it 20% of time, because people are so busy

Corporate funding for services research? Services research and development budget isn't a phrase that is used often.  Even with Val's presentation yesterday, it was using product-oriented methods to get long term services research. Could be a few bad quarters for long-term benefits. What have you learned at your companies on how to get support and funding of academic research?

  • Sid:
    • Things have been changing
    • All say services as a business or a cost centre or support for hardware is new.
    • Cash cows say why are we wasting money
    • Key challenge: highest levels of management committing to growing this business
  • Peter:
    • Parent company put out a press release a month ago on synergy between services
    • Leader knows that services are where things are
    • We're in the middle of that
  • Adrian:
    • Constrast between a pessimist and an optimist
    • If you have a successful business model, it's hard to get money to change it
    • The only way to have innovation has been to get senior people committed, historical perspectives, and fiscal accountability
  • Cathy:
  • Have to do this without impacting profits quarter to quarter
    • Have been good at developing things, need to figure out how to leverage them

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2006/10/07 11:45 Business Partner Panel