now accounts for 75 percent of the workforce in the United States and
the United Kingdom, and 50 percent in Brazil, German, Japan, and
Russia, according to IBM Research. Yet there are only a few academic
courses and very little research devoted to it. It's called services,
and many believe it's going to be the next big thing in education and
academic research. Some are even predicting that what IBM calls
Services Sciences Management and Engineering (SSME) could eventually
develop into an entirely new discipline.
the nature of the economy and business are requiring something
different about how we train engineers and consultants. The economy is
shifting from manufacturing products towards information services, yet
there's no intellectual focus around this problem, no coherent
foundation for what services are as a whole," explains Bob Glushko, an
adjunct professor at UC Berkeley's the School of Information and
Management Systems (SIMS) and co-author of the new book "Document
Engineering: Analyzing and Designing Documents for Business Informatics
and Web Services."
To address that lack, professors
and administrators at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz are developing
curriculum and research agendas focused on services. With its emphasis
on its multidisciplinary research and history of collaborating with
government and industry, CITRIS is taking a leading role to, in
Glushko's words, "bring some there there to this issue of services."
that end, CITRIS is launching a Service Science, Management and
Engineering certificate program for UC Berkeley graduate students at
the Haas School of Business, the College of Engineering, and SIMS. An
executive director for the program will be announced soon. On January
23, CITRIS hosted a luncheon at the Faculty Club to honor Corporate
Founding Member IBM's support of the new program. This spring, UC
Berkeley will graduate it's first student in Operations Research and
Management Science, a services-oriented major developed by Industrial
Engineering and Operations Research professor Rhonda Righter.
recent events exemplify what Thomas Kalil, UC Berkeley's Special
Assistant to the Chancellor for Science and Technology, describes as
the university's three-prong strategy to address services: 1) educating
students in the new discipline; 2) using Berkeley as a test bed for
innovative new approaches to services; and 3) conducting academic
research in the emerging field.
One of the first and
most challenging tasks at hand, however, is defining exactly what is
meant by "services." As an academic discipline, services is brand new;
questions outnumber answers.
"Looking at services is
akin to the blind man looking at the elephant. We know it's there. We
know it's big. But we're not exactly sure where it is or even which way
it's going," says Professor Patrick Mantey, Founding Dean of the Jack
Baskin School of Engineering and Affiliate Director of CITRIS.
services are produced and consumed simultaneously, they are difficult
in many cases to quantify. Also challenging is the fact that "services"
has, traditionally, served as a catch-all term for jobs that don't fall
into manufacturing or agriculture. But as Righter points out, "take
those out and it's still a huge world. So we have to figure what
A must-read presentation by Paul
Maglio, senior manager of service systems research, and Jim Spohrer,
director of services research, both at IBM Almaden Research Center,
attempts to narrow the focus. In it, they define service science in two
ways: "the application of scientific, management, and engineering
disciplines to tasks that one organization beneficially performs for
and with another" and "the study of service systems." Though Maglio
acknowledges, "a whole lot of people have different spins on this.
'Services is anything of value you can't drop on your foot' is the glib
With services now comprising half of IBM's
revenue, however, the company is anything but glib. It is spearheading
the effort to get top-tier research universities, government
decision-makers, and industry leaders from around the world excited
about services. This industry-side push combined with the newness and
multidisciplinary nature of the field are causing some to liken it to
the emergence of computer science more than half a century ago.
computers were getting going in the '40s and '50s, there was no such
thing as computer science. In some schools it was part of math, in
others it was part of engineering and in others, part of physics. It
was balkanized," says Henry Chesbrough, adjunct professor and executive
director of the Center for Open Innovation at Haas.
solution was to bring the disciplines together under one roof. Today
computer science departments are commonplace. Likewise, professors such
as Chesbrough and others cited in this article are scouring courses in
other disciplines for "services" modules they can incorporate into a
core graduate course, titled "The Future of Services: Business Models
for Services Innovation."
"It's really trying to
bring together the different strings of the different schools and find
some common ground intellectually," says Glushko, who is helping
develop Berkeley's services curriculum.
IBM, too, is working on a 12-module course, part of which is already available for free through its SSME Web site.
students is a priority because in many departments students only study
their own discipline, leaving them without the full range of knowledge
they'll actually need to possess in the services-driven labor market.
educated people in EECS for years with very little knowledge of how the
enterprise really operates. They learned it when they got there. But
what companies are now saying is if you're going to go into the
services business, you have to hit the ground running," says Mantey.
better prepare its engineers for the realities they'll face after
school, UC Santa Cruz will soon offer a new services-oriented
engineering graduate program called Technology and Information
If these courses and degree programs
are to be truly useful, industry input is essential. After all, it's
the companies who are doing services that have the most experience to
offer. It's no surprise that the professors who are championing
services often come from outside academia. Both Glushko and Chesbrough
are adjunct professors whose expertise stems from decades of experience
in the business world. In addition to experts, companies like IBM also
possess much-needed case studies for students to chew on, as well as
data for researchers to study.
"What we IBM bring
to the table is specific business problems, obviously, but also what
you might call the Fort Knox of services data. We've got a lot of it
around here. What academia brings to us is this broad capability of
asking the right questions of these systems, unlocking our data, and
helping us to work across disciplines in ways we can't necessarily
imagine doing at the outset. It's a process we have to go through
together," says Maglio.
The case studies and data
won't just come from industry. Glushko and a team of graduate students
are looking at ways to improve and innovate services on the campus
itself. Kalil believes such efforts will turn the UC Berkeley campus
into a "living laboratory" for services research.
about building on initiatives like eBerkeley"–which applied Web
technology to improve campus operations–"and getting students involved
in developing new Web services for Berkeley as a way of making the
campus more efficient and user friendly, not only adding technology but
looking at core business processes on campus and whether some need to
be improved," says Kalil.
Important services research
will also come out of CITRIS's newly formed Reliable, Adaptive and
Distributed systems Laboratory (RAD Lab). The lab will apply technology
and multidisciplinary research to enable individuals, rather than
entire teams of people, to create new Web-based services.
Behind all of these efforts is a strong sense of urgency.
much of our economy today is built on services, yet if you look at what
we actually understand to innovate in services, it's meager. It's a
dangerous situation for our economy and way of life," warns Chesbrough.
in many ways universities have been behind the curve when it comes to
services, with industry's help, they can be brought up to speed. As
Chesbrough points out, it's a state of affairs that's not without
precedent: "Computer science could have been a very unconnected field.
What brought it together was not the government or particular actions
of a university, but industry. Services also are too important to allow
this balkanization to continue. Industry will bring us together so we
can work in a more coordinated way to deal with it."
For more information:
"Emergence of Service Science: Services Science, Management, and Engineering (SSME) as the Next Frontier in Innovation"
by Jim Spohrer and Paul Maglio (PowerPoint presentation, October 25, 2005)
"New Lab for DIY Web Services"
by David Pescovitz (Lab notes, January 2006)
"Coming to a college near you: Services science?"
by Robert McMillan (IDG News Service, October 08, 2004)
"Top Universities Offer Tech-Management Courses Developed By IBM"
by Paul McDougall (InformationWeek, May 24, 2005)