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EPAM Myth Busters: What Service Design Is, And Is Not (Part 2)

Matt Farrar

VP of Service Design, EPAM

Forrester says that this is the Age of the Customer, so everyone is focused on the customer and what they need for the perfect experience. With this in mind, many CEOs are now adopting an ‘Outside-In’ approach. Of course, the customer is a very important focus, as differentiation among competitors will come from an organizational ability to understand the customer intimately across each and every touch point. But I would challenge the 'Outside-In' methodology. Which brings me to the next myth in my three-part blog series:


Myth #2: Service Design is all about the customer

The idea that Service Design exists solely to benefit the end user is a simplification of what really needs to happen to affect change and transformation within organizations. If you’re serious about changing the way you do business, an ‘Outside-In’ approach will only get you halfway there.

The reality is that without a balance of ‘Outside-In’ and ‘Inside-Out’, strategy will only exist as an aspirational pipe dream. Rather than consider these concepts as mutually exclusive, think of them as the yin and yang to your business and operations—one cannot exist without the other, and too much of either threatens to undermine the metaphorical Zen that every organization strives for. Let me explain:

To me, we are not in the 'Age of the Customer', but rather, the 'Age of People'. 'Outside-In' strategies may fail if an organization does not understand its own internal customers.  Its people - those who use technology, systems and infrastructure on a daily basis as part of their job - are the ones responsible for delivering the experience to the outside world. They, too, require optimized platforms, processes, and structures to do their job. To overlook the importance of a solid internal user experience is to commit a great error. These “internal customers” often face one of two issues:

Legacy systems – They sit at their desks confronted by old database-driven UI.  These clunky systems, designed by engineers, have evolved over years and years of iteration and are now so difficult to navigate that a lot of time is wasted just maneuvering the system.

New Platforms – They have been told to use shiny new platforms that were never optimized for their roles in the organization or their specific needs as a user.

In both cases, the user is left frustrated and often slowed down considerably by the lack of understanding and requirements of their role.

Over the years, EPAM has uncovered many examples of these detached internal systems, some of which were costing an organization millions in lost revenue, or thousands of hours of wasted time on tasks that should only take seconds. Through this experience, we’ve developed an enhanced set of Service Design tools to observe, define and optimize internal user personas, and process which has a significant impact on the business.  

The Service Design approach, applied internally, can improve the user experience for those who deliver the customer-facing user experience. Empowering these people with efficient systems and tools will allow them to deliver more effective and powerful customer experiences, which in turn will be good for business.

Continue to EPAM Myth Busters: What Service Design Is, And Is Not (Part 3)

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